Results Day

I wasn’t going to write anything about Results Day because I’m in a very conflicted state of mind about my grades.  In one sense, I’m ecstatic – I got into my first choice uni on a course that I’m incredibly excited to start – but Results Day just felt so underwhelming after 2 years of hard work.

Throughout Sixth Form I’ve had a lot of problems with teachers; a lot of the staff at my school were very unambitious and really didn’t push us at all.  One of my teachers was absent a lot (I mean, a lot) and in Year 12, I had 4 different teachers for English Language due to maternity leaves/new jobs etc.  So it’s safe to say the actual teaching of my A Levels was unbalanced, at the very least.  Me, and several other students raised concerns – our parents did too, since we were going home so stressed about effectively having to teach ourselves large portions of the syllabus – to the extent of going to see the headteacher and yet…nothing changed.

The reason I’m so disappointed with my grades (one in particular) is purely because of the sheer amount of effort I put into teaching myself effectively half of 3 A Levels (I will admit, some of my teachers were fantastic and so helpful, but others were the binary opposite).  I’m not writing this post as a sob story or as an excuse for why I maybe didn’t do as well as I could have done.  I know full well that there was nothing more I personally could have done to get better grades.  My grades aren’t even bad, they’re just not what I was expecting or hoping for, and they’re really not reflective of the amount of time and effort I put into them.

Anyway.  C’est la vie.  I was one mark off an A in English Literature so I’m trying to get that remarked (although my school is being very unhelpful and so the earliest my papers will actually be sent off to be remarked is 21st August, a full 6 days after Results Day).  I’d really been hoping for an A* in English Literature (and honestly, I kind of expected one – English has always been my strong subject, I’d received full marks in my coursework and I came out of the exams feeling relatively confident – which maybe shows I need to not expect things and not take things for granted!!) and I worked so hard for one, since I’m going to be doing a degree in it, but I just don’t feel like my work paid off.  A B is still a good grade and I’m happy that I got it as it’s still allowed me to get to where I want to go next year; it’s just the perfectionist in me wanted higher.

I got into my favourite uni though, so I’m not really sure how much that annoying little B matters.  Next month I’m going to be studying English Literature at the University of York, and I’m so excited.  I’m so grateful too, because I really thought I wouldn’t get on to the course – they ask for an A minimum in English Literature, so I think I’ve scraped through by the skin of my teeth.  I’m worried I’m going to feel like an impostor because of this, even though I know I’m perfectly capable (I was only a mark off an A, after all) but I think when I meet new people who’ve all got As and A*s, I think I’ll be left feeling a little inferior.

** I want to add a little disclaimer before I end this post.  I’m well aware that the grades I received are good grades and by saying I’m unhappy with what I got, in no way am I trying to diminish their value.  I am a perfectionist, always have been and I’m fairly sure I always will be, and I’ve always set my hopes on being the best and getting the best grades etc.  Additionally, with the struggle of having to self-teach a big chunk of my A Levels, I feel annoyed at myself for not having been able to do a better job at teaching (which is ridiculous because it shouldn’t have been almost completely down to me in the first place) but there we are.  I think essentially, I’m greedy with perfectionism – I knew all along that if I didn’t get 3 a*s I’d be disappointed, but I also can’t really blame myself, because the teaching standards at my school honestly were shambolic.**

I hope this makes sense – I feel like I’ve rambled on a bit.  Whilst I feel like I could have (and maybe should have) done better, there was no way physically or mentally I could have done more revision, so at the very least I’m satisfied that I gave A Levels my best shot despite the numerous hurdles and proud that the grades I got are very good regardless.  I’m going to uni next month and I genuinely can’t wait, so I’m going to just try to forget about the monumental pain in the arse A Levels were and move on to bigger and better things (first class degree, here I come ;)…)

I hope if you got your results they were what you wanted! And even if they weren’t, like me you’ll end up where you’re meant to go anyway.  Maybe the most important thing A Levels have taught me is that education is crucial, but grades aren’t the be-all and end-all – the people around you and your own goals and ambitions are 🙂

 

in limbo

I was talking to one of my best friends about the strangeness of the period of time between the end of Sixth Form and the beginning of uni, and that conversation made me realise how displaced I feel at the moment. Partly it’s due to waiting sooo long for summer, and now it’s here it feels kind of underwhelming – although I’ll explain that later. I feel as though I’m just waiting now for the next stage; Results Day and uni.

Towards the end of A Levels, the thought of 4 months off education seemed like such a fab reward for all of the stress and effort over the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying summer and trying to make the most of it, but it just feels so temporary, and regardless of what I’m doing or who I’m with, there’s always the slight worry about the future. I can’t stop thinking about how transient this period is and how quickly it’ll be over, which often then initiates an existential crisis as I’m not focusing on the things I want to do – instead, I’m thinking about the future.

As well, I genuinely don’t know what grades I’ll have got in my exams. Sometimes after an exam, you know for certain that it went really well – none of mine did. They were all good but I don’t feel like any of them were outstanding. In my head, at the end of September I’ll be starting at the University of York, but even that is possibly not going to happen. It feels like I’m just waiting for something, but I’m not even sure what that something is because, until Results Day, I have no firm idea of where I’m going to be spending the next 3 years of my life.

As I mentioned before, summer has been underwhelming in some aspects so far. After the initial novelty, I realised I needed a job quite desperately to be able to afford any of the things I have planned with my friends. But even when I’m with my friends, it’s like there’s an egg-timer constantly running in the background. I’m also in a transitional stage avec boys and relationships and all that fun stuff. I really like someone but I’m not sure what his intentions are – I don’t know whether he wants a full-on relationship or just a bit of fun over summer, y’know (that sounds so gross and crude and cringey, but hopefully you get my point!)

I think I’ve outgrown my house and definitely I’ve outgrown my town. I’ve lived here for 18 years now and I’m ready for a change, but equally that change is going to signify the beginning of The Rest Of My Life and that’s a scary (but somewhat welcome and relieving) thought.

I don’t really know what I’m getting at by writing this post. I feel really lost. I don’t even really enjoy writing at the moment, hence the lack of blog posts. I just feel like I’m kind of -existing- and that’s it. I’m just waiting for the next chapter to start. I am having fun, but also it feels artificial in a way, kind of forced – it’s just a way of killing time before uni. Writing that last sentence is such a depressing thought but that’s honestly how it feels – I’m just in limbo, waiting for Results Day, really.

fulfilling your dreams (or…not)

A few points I just want to say too:

  • Firstly I hope this post is actually legible – thank you Eleanor for giving me the idea to handwrite posts, genius!!
  • In no way am I saying Cambridge isn’t the right choice of uni for anyone – for me at this particular moment in time, I don’t feel it’s right. You don’t have to follow what you once dreamed of doing.
  • Dreams can change. I am ridiculously excited to go to York, something that, one year ago today, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be saying. Everything seems perfect. Your dreams and desires change as you do, and that’s good. So, in a way, I did get into my dream uni: it’s just not the uni that I used to think was my dream.
  • Thank you so so much to everyone who congratulated me/wished me luck – even though I kind of knew I wasn’t going to interview, your support honestly made me cry ❤️
  • I’m going to put York as my firm choice uni, and the offer is AAB which hopefully is achievable. My second choice is Nottingham but my offer there is AAA, so I’m not sure if I’ll actually put it down as my insurance, because if I don’t get the grades for York, I certainly won’t have for Nottingham!

state of mind

– photos from pinterest –

I’ve been musing a lot lately. Partly as a form of procrastination, but partly because I feel like I’m on the brink of a new start and I’m just waiting for it to happen.

These last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on trying to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Not just for my own benefit but for everyone who surrounds me, because we all need a little more happiness in our lives. Instead of sending typical snapchat streaks (yesss, I still have them, I don’t know if they’re still cool or not?!) of a black screen and ‘streaks’ written across, I’ve been sending my pals fun messages in the mornings. Motivational even, as some of them have said 😉 I’m feeling really motivated for life in general at the moment, and I really want to share that with other people. I find, when I’m feeling down, even a simple reminder that I’m loved, or that I can do something, helps me a lot so I’m trying to reciprocate that with others.

In time for the new year I’m trying to instil some habits on my life which I think the moodboard at the top of this post quite accurately summarises. I’m trying to set up a sense of calm before the chaos of next year by being present at all times, and really focusing on the here and now. I want to make sure I have a lot of fun in between revising for the dreaded e*ams, so next year I’m trying bullet journalling. As well as being a hobby, I’m hoping having a journal will motivate me and organise me (a win-win situation for everyone hehe).

I just feel like I’m in limbo at the moment – I’m working towards a goal that at the moment I’m 8 months away from knowing if I’ve achieved or not. Whilst I am trying to focus on the present enjoy every single moment of sixth form since it’s my last year of formal education, it’s hard, despite me being the most content at school I think I’ve ever been. In summer I have so many things to look forward to – seemingly endless time, travels with pals (hopefully!), days out to various cities. I want to learn about natural history and visit lots of museums and art galleries and stare into space looking at constellations but at the moment I just don’t have time. And I desperately want time. 17 isn’t going to last for ever and I want to feel like I truly made the most of it. Because then it’s 18, and that’s when the tough adult shiz starts. Everything seems to be in preparation for university – I keep saying things to myself like ‘oh, when I’m at uni I’ll join the gym’ (you guys need to hold me to that!!). It just feels odd to be working towards something so far in the distance but which is in reality not that long away.

This definitely has not been one of my most eloquent posts but I just wanted to put down my thoughts. I seem to be stuck in-between two phases of my life, not that that’s necessarily a bad place to be stuck: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

12 things I’ve learned in Year 12

I think some apologies are in order.

I haven’t posted in what feels like about a month – it may be more to be honest – because I’ve had one of the busiest months in the history of humankind. Ever. But it’s nearly summer, my hectic few weeks have died down and so I have some time to write at long last!

Since the school year is winding down (finally!! I need a break) bringing my first year of sixth form to a close, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from it: academia aside, I’ve learned a heck of a lot.

1. Your friendship group will change so much.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that around the end of year 11 I had a few friendship issues so naturally I was apprehensive about starting sixth form with really, only good acquaintances instead of a group of best friends. I was also worried about who would be in all my new classes, and whether I’d be able to fit into a group – I can only speak from my experiences at my school, but there were definitely some very defined cliques in my year, and if you weren’t originally part of them it was kind of hard to be accepted. However, a lot of the silly childish pettiness of year 11 diminishes and actually people are a lot more willing to make friends with each other – I’ve become part of a completely new group of friends and I hardly see or speak to the people I thought I was friends with in Year 11 (wow how snakey does that sound!?)

2. It will go SO quickly.

My teachers kept telling us this at the start of the year and I didn’t believe them to be honest – I thought with the increased workload it would drag! But they were so right; it feels like it should still be about February time!! I’d say to just enjoy every day as it comes because even though some do drag, the first year will fly by.

3. A lot of the pettiness and judginess will have gone.

From my year 11 class of around 250 students, only around 120 have stayed for our sixth form (some went to colleges, some went to other sixth forms etc). You’ll find that it’s mainly the mature and sensible people who’ll stay which makes it a nice environment to be in, and it’s a lot less judgemental than year 11 – people now are more like “hey, whatever, you know, she wants to wear that, let her wear it” if you get me?! Everybody seems to accept each other a little bit more, which is SUCH a relief, let me tell you!

4. Start your uni application early!!!!

Trust me, your teachers will start talking about university on the very first day, but if you actually take some notice of that (I didn’t haha, big mistake) you’ll find the whole UCAS process much easier. Yes, there’s a limit to how much you can do in preparation – it depends on when your school gets the UCAS buzzword sorted, for starters – but start researching early and begin your personal statement ASAP. As well, for some unis (especially for competitive courses or Russell Group unis) you need to have work experience before a uni will even consider your application, so get going! I’m currently in the slightly sticky situation of knowing exactly where and what I’m applying to, but I haven’t even started my personal statement…😅 I’d say try to get a first draft done in May or June time and then you know you’re on the way to getting sorted.

5. Another thing every teacher will tell you – organisation is key!

I have a few quite simple (I think) tricks that’ll hopefully help you to stay organised:

• colour code your folders – I have 2 folders for each subject, one for my notes in school and one for revision and past papers, and each subject has a specific colour. This makes it so easy to grab a folder when I’m late (often) and saves me getting confused.

• Have a completely separate notebook to record all of your homework and other deadlines in – then you know exactly where everything is written down.

• When revising, start early; there’s more to get through than you first realise! Also make plans of exactly what you’re going to revise and when, because then you see the full extent of what you need to do, and you’re able to plan it around your days.

6. Classes are small, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fun!

During the summer after my GCSEs I had this terrifying thought that all of the fun people would have left and so lessons would be really boring. This isn’t the case at all! Class sizes are a lot smaller (or they are at my school, at least), but we still laugh and joke around, it’s not just work, work, work.

7. Revise what you’re learning as you’re learning it

That sounds a little bit paradoxical, even to me as the writer…but as you learn things in class, make your notes, ensure you understand the concepts, make flash cards etc as you go. It will make revising for mocks or the actual exams a lot easier, because you’ll just have to remind yourself of the content instead of learn it for the first time.

8. The academic jump isn’t as terrifying as everyone makes out.

Honestly, it’s not! I’d heard horror stories of people who’d got all A*s at GCSE failing each and every one of their A Levels…it’s not true! There is, admittedly, a jump – but that’s expected! From my own personal experience, I haven’t found that the content itself is much more difficult, the issue is there’s just so much more of it, although I think that’s quite a subject-dependent view: a lot of my friends take maths a level (they’re the complete opposite to me, haha) and it just looks like a foreign language, IMHO. Some subjects (I’m thinking STEM subjects particularly) will have more of a step-up in the academic level, whereas some, like English, will just have pages worth of content (pun intended!). Nevertheless, don’t let that put you off – you have free periods, remember, and teachers know that you have other commitments too.

9. Punch hole reinforces will change your life

I’ve got to give my mum some credit for introducing me to these, because otherwise my folders would have been in a right state! They’re basically small vinyl circles (a little bit like sellotape) that you stick around the holes in refill pads to make them stronger and they’ve saved me and my notes so many times!

10. You become a lot more aware of what you can do.

In Year 11 I definitely thought I’d be the stereotypical head girl next year, volunteering 3 days a week, running the school newspaper, working 8 hours each weekend and doing charity work whilst simultaneously getting all a*s – you know, that girl haha – but sixth form really teaches you how to prioritise and not to bite off more than you can chew (and actually, I don’t do a single one of the things I thought I would!) yes, the social life/fun stuff of sixth form is great, like the opportunity of running clubs for lower years etc, but at the end of the day you go to school to learn and eventually pass exams, and they should be the priority. By no means am I saying ‘do nothing but work’, but you learn pretty quickly that actually, A Levels are time consuming and you need time off too, so you’re not going to be able to fit everything in – don’t aim to be doing every single extra-curricular activity going!!

11. Read around.

This is one of the phrases that teachers will say repeatedly, throughout your entire time at sixth form, so you might as well concede to what they’re saying early as it is quite helpful! For each subject you’ll probably have a textbook that your teacher/school recommends, but maybe also buy another or borrow a different book from the library so that you have multiple resources to reference in your notes. It also really helps if you don’t quite grasp something – often, if you read it written in a different way it’ll just click instantly (lol this has happened loads to me with geography)

12. You will honestly have such a good time.

Enjoy it; I know sometimes it’ll be a bit of a drag, but you’ll look back and think that it’s been amazing. I only have one year left and I’m already dreading leaving.

The book club: March

It’s finally the Easter holidays and my aim is to have read at least 2 books by the end, so hopefully next month’s post will be full with mini book reviews!! This month I’ve really enjoyed The Power, by Naomi Alderman – it was such a gripping storyline, I’d read it within days!

If you’re an astute reader of mine (actually, you don’t even have to be that astute because I say it practically every other sentence), my dream uni is Cambridge to do a degree in Linguistics, so I’ve been fuelling my interest in that this month by finally getting round to finishing Linguistics – A Very Short Introduction, by PH Matthews. I’m entering an essay competition and I’m hoping that reading around the subject a lot will help me with that, and in turn with my UCAS personal statement.

Next week we’re going to Stratford upon Avon so I felt it only right to delve into Hamlet, and I’m also going to start The Picture of Dorian Gray within the next few days which I’m really excited to read!

A little study with me

Hey! I only had one lesson today, and that was period one, so I was able to come home early and do some more of my own studying, and I thought it’d be cool to write it up as a Study with Me – I see a lot of these sorts of videos on YouTube but since writing (at the moment) is more my thing, I decided to just put it on my blog.

So, I had English Language today and that was my first and only lesson. After it had finished, I went to my school’s study centre to do a bit of englang revision (englang = English language) just because we have a test coming up next week, so I thought I’d do some now in case I don’t have time this weekend. I actually had to finish this at home because I underestimated how much content there is in the language and gender topic, I seem to have endless theories to learn!!

When I got home, I put the final touches to the englang revision, ate some lunch and watched a few videos on YouTube, then got straight back into studying. I first finished off an essay I needed to do – a comparison on Frankenstein and The Handmaid’s Tale – for englit, and then I completed a speech I had to write as a mock englang coursework piece.

My next job was to relax for a little while, because that essay had taken it out of me! I felt it was quite an awkward question and my answer was a bit woolly because the only valid points I had all kind of stemmed from each other, so I feel as though I’ve practically written the same point in 3 different paragraphs 😂 hopefully it’ll be ok though!

(Mini shoutout to myself – my instagram is @carascam!)

Next week I have 3 assessments in various subjects, but I’m most apprehensive for geography since it’s so precise and technical, and there’s so much to learn. I decided my time would be spent most wisely revising the Coasts topic of my geography A Level so I did that for a while, and then I just re-read through the englang notes for a second time to make sure I’d fully absorbed them.

I called it a day at that point – my way of gauging when to have breaks is how much my back hurts, because my posture is so bad when I’m concentrating! I just forget to sit up straight so I end up slumping; I decided to go downstairs and watch TV whilst doing some gentle stretches to loosen up. I was going to also put some revision notes onto Quizlet, but as it’s nearly 8 o’clock now and I haven’t done that, I think I’ll give it a miss for today 😉

Let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more similar to it – I’m struggling for ideas again at the moment, and even worse I’m struggling for time to think of ideas!!