Apparently there was some hoohah lately about people's degrees not matching up with their A-level results?? and people doing better than their A-level grades might have suggested so it was grade inflation? (whether there was evidence of the converse, and people with smashing A-level results and mediocre degrees, deponent knoweth not).
And I feel this fits in a bit with my post earlier this week in that it is weighted to one moment of shining early promise...
Years ago, I read somewhere about somebody who had, after a perhaps not very starry start, become an internationally renowned expert in, I think, educational theory, had published widely in the relevant peer-reviewed journals and with top publishers, won awards etc: and applying for some post, somebody on the panel looked at the c.v. and said, 'huh, they only got a 2.2 from [might have been a polytechnic? anyway, non-elite institution]'.
Okay, with the numbers of sly hoaxers there are in the world, perhaps it is a necessary check on people being who they say they are to have them put down educational information from decades ago, though I very much doubt this sort of thing gets checked ('Did XY attend your school and did they take and pass Geography O-level in year in question?') But there comes a point when the exact grades at least should no longer matter?
I also think of those young persons of promise who perhaps did something - a first book or whatever - that was considered a major achievement and the precursor to very great things indeed and basically either never got the second album together at all, or it was not quite all that.
Or, they got some cushy post and sat back. Or didn't even get the first book out in spite of being considered sure to do great things.
While others do not really hit their stride until much later - this is not, I think, the same as those women artists who have to wait until they are 90 and all their male competitors and critics have died off to be recognised, I'm thinking more of people who get it together, not entirely unlike oneself, in the middle way of life. And possibly not having given any particular signs of remarkable shiny promise.
I think there are lots of different trajectories possible, and I'm not sure that whooshing upwards like a rocket from the get-go is a terribly encouraging model to have in front of one.