Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:03 UK

A-Level student's 24 hours

Ffion Lindsay
Ffion Lindsay is hoping to study English literature at Cardiff University

Ffion Lindsay from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire is one of thousands of Welsh students who picked up A level exam results on Thursday.

The 18-year-old student who attended Coleg Sir Gar in Llanelli took English literature, art and design, French and media studies.

1600 BST Wednesday. First, Ffion gave us her feelings on the eve of the results.

I decided two years ago to leave secondary school and continue onto A levels at my nearest college. This was partly because I was unable to take the subjects I wanted to in school, but mainly because I craved the stimulation of a larger environment.

Despite the problems I encountered as a result, I have never regretted this decision. At first I struggled with the less structured environment and with finding my feet in a place where I effectively knew no-one.

As someone who has fortunately always done well in school, I also have a slight competitive streak and found it simultaneously inspiring and frustrating to meet so many creative individuals, especially those who seemed to have a far better understanding of where they were headed in life.

Thankfully by my second year I felt far more settled and as a consequence my mock exam results quickly improved.

I'm hoping to get into Cardiff University in September to do English Literature, which has always been my greatest passion.

I can't imagine enjoying a job where books or creative writing didn't feature in some measure. Equally, to be unable to study in my favourite city would be heartbreaking.

Whereas in previous years I might have gotten away with missing a single required entry grade, if I don't get two As and a B I can wave goodbye to my first choice of university
Ffion Lindsay

Ideally I would like to become a novelist, but as few young writers succeed from the outset I'd be equally as happy finding an apprenticeship to become a researcher or scriptwriter for television drama.

Unfortunately it sounds as though options are closing down for students and postgraduates in the current climate, instead of opening up as they should be.

I know many people who have applied for university or other college courses simply because they know they will not be able to find a job in September and do not have another choice.

With this surge in extra applicants, I'm aware that, whereas in previous years I might have gotten away with missing a single required entry grade, if I don't get two As and a B I can wave goodbye to my first choice of university.

I find it quite hard to gauge how well an exam has gone. Sometimes it seems as though the more effort I put into the preparation, the worse the wait is afterwards. It's awful when someone asks you how you feel the exams went because all your fears are brought to the surface time and time again.

It's strange to think that by Thursday morning all of the anticipation of the past two months will be over, and more than anything I'm just looking forward to being able to properly plan towards my future
Ffion Lindsay

I think that waking up on the actual exam results day will be the hardest part, as I have an hour-long drive to my college and I know that I'll be worrying all the way.

So many people have given me good advice about the run-up to results, mostly following in the theme of "what's done is done, and there's no point making yourself stressed now", but personally I think that being realistic and having some awareness is what keeps you from making mistakes in the first place.

It's strange to think that by Thursday morning all of the anticipation of the past two months will be over, and more than anything I'm just looking forward to being able to properly plan towards my future.

One surprising source of support has come from the UCAS YouGo website, which acts as a social networking site for young people applying to the same universities.

I've already met several other people planning on doing the same course as me, and apart from taking the edge off the stress of not knowing anyone when I start, it has also been some comfort knowing that there are people out there who are just as anxious, impatient and excited as I am.


11.20 BST Thursday: Ffion updates us with news of how she got on.

Barely two hours ago I discovered that I've had four As at A level, and to be honest the only way I can describe how I'm feeling is amazed.

Thanks to the UCAS website which was active from 6.20 this morning, I'd already discovered that my application to Cardiff university had been successful; what I didn't know however was the breakdown of my results. As I'd anticipated, the drive to college was fairly nerve-wracking, as the closer we got the more I began to remember the last time I'd been there, sitting my very last English literature exam.

However, once I'd got to college the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive, and the fact that the BBC was filming from the atrium seemed to add to the excitement.

Having received my results I was overcome with happiness; I can't quite believe the outcome, and have been pulling my envelope out all morning just to make sure it's not some mistake!

I'm just so glad to have made my parents proud as they have supported me completely from the very beginning, and so this is their success as much as mine.

My lecturers have been here all morning supervising this process, and the fact that they were on hand to congratulate us all is testimony to the outstanding levels of help and encouragement they have shown me over the past couple of years.

Finally, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone else, including my friends, sisters and boyfriend who have been there for me and without whom I couldn't have managed this on my own. It seems like I have been waiting years for these result to come, and now I feel as though I have a bright future to look forward to.




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