IT'S a tense time for school leavers who are just days away from finding out their OP scores.
So much effort and ambition are invested in one number that will probably determine the next step on life's path.
Some teenagers will be disappointed with their results, and Brisbane author Rebecca Sparrow has a message for them - an OP score isn't a guarantee of success or failure.
"Having a fabulous OP score is not a guarantee for anything. The same way that not getting the score you want will not give you your dreams," she counsels.
"The most successful people in life are the most resilient. We are all going to be knocked down, fired and screw up, but the ability to get up and keep going will be the difference to being successful."
Ms Sparrow, in her fifth book Find your Feet (the 8 other things I wish I had known before I left high school), offers her views on how to succeed.
"What's invisible to young women is that they admire successful people but they don't realise the tough steps it took to get there," she says.
"But the screw-ups in life are as important as the successes because it moves us towards the end goal.
"I think the single most important lesson for teenagers to know is that nothing ruins your life forever.
"You will get through it and people will forget and, if you have family and your friends, you will be okay."
When you look at some high achievers, being "knocked down" almost seemed like a prerequisite to getting on in life.
Beatle John Lennon left school with a blemished report card; he certainly stood out for all the wrong reasons.
His detention sheets from the mid-1950s, when he was 15, show he was a troublemaker.
Teachers describe Lennon as a "class-clown" and a "nuisance".
Lennon, at 16, failed all of his "0" level exams and was more interested in art and music than doing well in school.
How much would the world have missed out on if Lennon had concentrated more on his geography than on his music?
One of his recollections about his school days gives a hint of the unique, philosophical adult he would become.
"When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life," he recalled.
"When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'.
"They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."
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