You still remember the feeling; leaving that final exam room and handing in your last piece of coursework was euphoric. But that feeling of freedom was slightly restrained by the unfamiliar road ahead. What happens next? So you’ve either spent most of the summer trying not to think about it or readily counting down the days. And now here it is – results day. But what if your grades aren’t what you expected? Chances are you probably don’t have to worry too much…

On diversion

I recently had a conversation with Blue Bear Coffee Co. founder, Bryn Frere-Smith. He’s actually an old friend I met while at uni. He shared how he ended up going from finishing uni to owning his own ethical coffee business. On the surface it was a pretty random turn of events. While at the time the many diversions in his journey may have seemed like dead ends, it’s amazing to look back and see how God used each moment to bring him to where he is now. And I can say the same is pretty similar for my life too.

I can still remember waiting anxiously for my results. I had come to terms with the fact that I was probably going to my second choice uni – one that I had chosen by absolute chance and initially had no plans to go to. But as time went on, I felt God’s peace guiding me there (and the grade requirements!) To put a long story short: I ended up going there, changed course after my first year from accounting to philosophy & film, met some great people and tried to figure out God’s ultimate plan for my life. And life since uni has been pretty similar, with twists and turns as some doors shut in my face and others open. All while wondering what will happen next.

The end result

I didn’t know it then, but each step on that journey was important. Even though I didn’t go to my first choice uni (their loss!) I met incredible people at my second choice who inspired me to start my justice journey. Changing course taught me to step out in faith, and philosophy later became useful when I studied a masters. Even the extra year came in handy, as finishing uni perfectly lined up with an overseas volunteering trip with Tearfund, which was pretty foundational to my understanding of justice. There’s so many details, big and small, that have led me to where I am today and I can only see that now when I look back. 

So if you’re worried that some unexpected grades have knocked you off-course from God’s plan, rest assured that God is much bigger than a few letters. He might not give us the whole blueprint, but God guides us step by step. That’s not to say everything will be easy or you don’t have to try; there will be testing times and you may even have to resit some exams. But through it all, trust that God has you. The moments we fail are as important as the successes. And trust me, any life worth living will include some failures along the way. The journey can sometimes be frustrating when you’re in it, but each moment is important. Like Bryn, our job is to cultivate the passions God has placed inside our hearts and pursue them however we can.

If you’re passionate about changing the world, don’t let your results tell you that you can’t. Get creative and ask God how you can do your part, whatever stage of the journey you’re at.