‘I’m honestly thriving now’: We asked people who got 2:2s how they dealt with it

It’s really not the end of the world

Getting a 2:2 is every university students’ worst nightmare. Once, in a fit of pre-exam anxiety I drifted into my housemate’s room to bother her (the kind of bothering you do when neither of you want to revise so you just walk into each others’ rooms every 30 minutes and talk about how much you hate revising instead) and we both came to the conclusion that we might get 2:2s. We googled “where can you get a job if you get a 2:2” and for some reason the Google algorithm picked out one company in its instant answer format: Boots. Obviously we cackled for a bit about how Boots was our only option, but then the dread kicked in that we might actually have to up and leave our economics degrees and head to work at Boots for the rest of our lives.

In actual fact, Boots is not the only place that will take you with a 2:2, and even if it was – Boots is a lovely place to work (this isn’t sponsored I swear). Turns out that getting a 2:2 isn’t the end of the world, so if you’re freaking out about your grades right now – or you just got yours back and it is the dreaded 2:2, fear not. We spoke to a bunch of 2:2ers who are actually doing pretty damn well for themselves now, and they want to impart some wisdom on you. Plus, you can always rest easy in the knowledge that at least it’s not a third.

Alyx, Portsmouth Grad

Alyx graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a 2:2 three years ago. He now works in tech, earning big bucks (it is universally accepted that post uni you don’t talk about salary, so let’s just say Big Bucks for now and rest assured it’s a very cosy salary) and is happier and more hard working than he ever was at uni. When he first got his 2:2, he was gutted: “I was only 1.25% off of a 2:1 and my uni hadn’t approved my European transfer credits from my summer school in time for the grades. It felt so dumb that I’d put in so much work and literally being out by a couple of marks that would have easily been bumped up. It just felt so arbitrary. I didn’t really avoid telling people – but my dad thought it was the end of the world.

“At an internship after uni I suddenly realised that literally all the stats I’d done in my degree (which was actually a fairly minor part), and the summer schools I’d done were super useful. So I talked to the head of Data Science at this internship and developed a relationship with him (steady on, just sharing a cheeky cig every now and again and chatting) and eventually said ‘hey look I’ve actually got this great analytical skill set and I’ve been delivering useful analysis for the customer success teams for ages I’d absolutely love to join your team, why don’t you just ask if you can have me?’. And it worked.

“Then I left that job and while interviewing for another I realised ‘holy shit I’ve learned so much since uni, I’m absolutely killing this’ – uni may have been great for giving me a baseline in these skills but it wasn’t until my first job that I actually started learning how to use them in a useful way.”

“I think I came to terms with my 2:2 when I noticed that literally no one in the working world cares what your degree is. The closest you’ll come is to people who turn your nose up at your uni (shout out to Pompey, obligatory strong island), and those people aren’t worth interacting with. Now I’m glad I got a 2:2. A lot of the places I was looking at that required a 2:1 were super corporate internship programs where only half of the candidates are going to make it through to a permanent contract.

“My advice to anyone else with a 2:2 is that, it doesn’t matter, but take up as much extra stuff as you can. If you’ve got nothing to do just start making something you think is cool, if its software, or a zine or a band just go for it particularly if it involves working with other people, you’ll pick up loads of soft skills (which are deffo the hardest to learn).”

Grace, Cardiff grad

Grace, who did Philosophy and Economics at Cardiff University, graduated with a 2:2 after her extenuating circumstances application didn’t go through for her final year. “Initially I felt so upset because I was so close and I’d had extenuating circumstances anyway.” Grace was originally supposed to return to Cardiff for a Masters, but reconsidered after receiving her final year grades.

Grace told The Tab: “I reconsidered my options and went for an even better masters at Nottingham, which I got into. I loved Notts and it was a great challenge going to a whole new city by myself. Since then I’ve landed myself a great job in the middle of a pandemic and they never even asked me about my grade, so I felt so much more valued for my personality and skills rather than just uni grade classification.”

“I’ll be honest with you, getting a 2.2 feels shit at first – but a year on, I’m thriving and have a masters and a job behind me. It is possible.”

Anna, Lancaster grad

Anna left Lancaster University last year with a 2:2 in her Linguistics and French Studies degree. Anna apparently knew she would get a 2:2 for the whole of third year, because her second year performance was so low – she was effectively doomed. She fought for a 2:1 anyway and missed, which made her quite depressed post graduation. She thought her grades would never be good enough. She told The Tab: “At first I did avoid telling people about my 2:2. Once I had discussed my grades with my flatmates and friends, however, I felt so much better. They reminded me of all the extra-curricular things I did while at Lancaster, we’re talking nearly 10 different things. I also had a Year Abroad for French so living out there, for what ended up to be a whole 12 months, meant I had actually developed life skills and cultural awareness that not everybody gets to gain while at university.”

After graduating Anna worked in a high street shop and went to a careers counsellor to help her find a job in her field. She felt out of sorts for a while, returning home and not going straight into a job. But, she told The Tab: “The truth is, you don’t graduate with a graduate job or any job lined up. You can do every session the Careers Service offer, or plan out your whole life, but it does usually take six months to a year to get a job after university.”

Eventually Anna landed a French speaking customer service role and has been enjoying this job for six months. She also set up her own boutique in lockdown and is starting a Masters at Manchester Met in September. “I feel ridiculous for hating on myself for my 2:2. I have gotten onto a Masters course with my 2:2 and will be studying and MA in TESOL & Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University in September. My French tutor wrote me a very kind reference which made me realise that while my grades on paper weren’t outstanding, I had actually made an impact during my time at Lancaster, both academically and socially to the wider university community. If you just got a 2:2, take your time. You don’t have to get a job right away, and you don’t have to have it figured out as soon as possible.”

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