Survival Guide For Year 12 Students!

It’s the end of summer and back to school!

Whoop whoop! 🎉

 

And I’m in my last year of secondary school/sixth form, which a lot of people would be happy about, but I am sad about because I really do love my school and friends and my subjects. I enjoyed year 12, which is equivalent to 11th grade/junior year in America (and not sure about other countries). Therefore, having gone through the experience of year 12, I want to share little tips on what you should do to minimise stress and regret later in the academic year!

 

Consolidate Your Notes

After every single topic you’ve finished in your subject, go over your notes and textbook for that topic and write up revision notes/flashcards/whatever method you prefer to revise from. Do that after every topic!

I know it sounds like a lot and a faff but honestly, if you write up your notes after the topics, you will understand it more, which will be helpful because those topics will also be applicable to other topics, most likely. It also means that you would have finished writing your revision notes so come the summer term, you won’t have to make those revision notes. You can just start learning off them. Writing up and understanding notes in your own way and method will also make it easier for you to remember.

Trust me! You won’t regret doing this.

 

Organise Yourself, Child

This is something I really wish I did. It’s filing away your notes after each topic.

For example, after your subject teacher has officially finished going over a topic and has moved onto the next, write up your consolidation notes and then file away the notes you made in class into your subject folder. The mistake I made was leaving all my notes in my refill pad and slipping in loose sheets in the front until the whole notebook was full and hard to look at and I couldn’t use it. It’s horrible. It actually stresses me out, right now, thinking about it. It takes hours to sort through and organising it and filing it away.

Just start from day one and organise your damn self! Also, it might be a good idea to get a different notebook for each subject so you don’t get confused or things don’t get messy. And it will get messy. I’ve learnt the hard way.

 

Make A Revision Schedule

At GCSEs, I didn’t have a revision schedule. I just went with the flow and did whatever I wanted or thought I needed to revise that day. And truth is, it worked out because I got decent grades, which I’m happy with. That isn’t going to work for year 12. Nope. I tried to make it work but it didn’t.

You need to make sure you focus on each topic and make sure you learn every detail you need. I know this may not be helpful for all people but I made a calendar of each month and wrote in each day a chapter or topic I would read over and do questions on, taking into account days I couldn’t revise due to other commitments. You can even throw in a chill day but so long as you stick to the schedule and it has every chapter and topic you need to learn fit in, you’ll be absolutely fine.

I was getting really bad grades in the big psychology tests we did, like Es and Ds. I ended up getting the highest grades, like As and Bs, by the end because I stuck to a schedule and learnt and revised all the topics and evaluations. And that was only in about a month, which I can’t guarantee will happen for you but it shows that your grade can really go up!

 

Past Papers Are A Student’s Best Friend

Everyone had their own revision style and method and you should experiment at the beginning of the year to find which one works best for you. If you want me to make a post on all the quirky and classic methods I found, comment so!

However, every student should do past papers, no matter what revision method you do. Always do past papers on top of your chosen personalised method! Do as many as you can and look at the mark schemes and just keep doing them over and over again. Do the same ones a month later and see if you do better. Past paper will help you! I wish I did more!

 

Don’t Be Cocky

I found a lot of people thought that just because they got As at GCSEs, they were going to be fine at A Levels. That’s very wrong! A Levels are way harder and some people say that it’s the hardest stage of your education, even more than University. So sorry to scare you but it’s going to get hard. You can’t just sit back and relax and hope that your A*s and As at GCSEs will help you.

And don’t boast or be arrogant. No one will like you and it’s annoying. 😂

 

Talk To And Make Friends

Year 12 is one of your last years in secondary school/sixth form/college/high school. I’m not sure how it is in other countries but for all I know, in year 13, it’s mainly work and spending your free periods revising. That means year 12 is the year to have a bit of fun, while still maintaining or reaching for good grades. Make a balance of fun and work. I made a lot of friends in year 12 and it was also one of my best years at school and I made a lot of good memories, which you should do too! It’s one of your last years so try and pluck up the courage and confidence to do things your wouldn’t normally do, that are legal and not stupid, of course!

And try to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way! Don’t be scared.

 

Reward Yourself

If you do work hard, you need to reward yourself every week or so. Go out with your friends, go see a film, go to a party on the weekend, do something fun! We’re like dogs. We need to be rewarded for a behaviour to be done frequently so if you want to feel motivated more, you need to reward yourself every now and again.

 

Mental Health Is More Important

Despite what I said, at the end of the day, your mental health is the most important thing. I understand that year 12 is pressurising, especially with students who are aiming really high e.g. applying for medicine, etc. If you find that your mental health and even physical health is suffering, stop for a sec and try to get help or find ways to calm yourself down, etc.

I got really stressed at one point because I was overthinking and the school was putting a lot of pressure on us. I ended up feeling really depressed and experiencing symptoms, which I hadn’t experienced in ages. My eye kept twitching at certain points and I even started struggling to breath – it was really weird, don’t ask. I ended up spending a day writing a list of all the things I was worried about and making me stressed and wrote solutions next to them. I also talked to people about it to get it off my chest.

I know you might not agree with this but your mental health should come first, for several reasons like stress can actually affect your memory badly, and doing badly in year 12 really isn’t the end of the world. Don’t try and put yourself in the position to end up doing badly but if you do, there are always ways to fix that in year 13.

Basically, make sure you’re a happy bean! 🙂


 

Hopefully you actually take my tips into account. They will be really helpful if you take action on them. A lot of students told me the same advice at the beginning of year 12, which I ignored, because I’m stupid and stubborn. You’ll probably end up telling the next year 12’s the same advice.

Apart from that, enjoy year 12 and good luck for all your exams!

 

I’d love to know what subjects you’re doing or any advice that has helped you before, no matter what year you’re in.

 

-Shay

 

P.S One last tip that you should really use even if you decide to ignore the rest, above. Don’t give your pens or pencils to anyone. They may say “I’ll give it back” but that just mean “I’m gonna keep this and hope you forget about it or are too nice to ask for it back.” TRUST NO ONE! (Apart from me and my advice, of course. 😀 )

Great Scale of the Universe!

It’s the end of exam season and I wanted to remind those of you, who are doing or did exams, about something important. (Even if you’re not doing exams, this is still applicable to you.)

 

In the grand scheme of things, we are dots. We are atoms, in terms of size, to the planets and the galaxy. We’re just tiny creatures that inhabit one small blue planet amongst billions.

There are literally giant rocks crashing and burning up in space. There are potential life forms, other than the ones on our planet, that could be figuring out, right at this very moment, how to survive. There are supernovas and planetary nebulas and black holes sucking in anything close by. There are little bots roaming around Mars and space stations hovering up in space.

There are probably crazy undiscovered animals deep in the massive part of the ocean, we haven’t even ventured to yet. There are forests being chopped down and species of animals dying more frequently than you think.

There are people popping out more people and people that don’t get to be people anymore. There are nuclear weapons that could destroy countries and lives. There are things being kept a secret from society.

There are mysteries and classified information we might never know about our world.

Your cells are diving every second and there cells within your blood, which are basically a union of heroes to your body. You have air passing in and out your lungs. You have hair growing out of your living, breathing body.

We’re just a small generation in the great history of Earth. There have been the beginning of this planet (however you believe the world was created), dinosaurs, king and queens, an era they thought smoking was good for you, ancient Egyptians, Greek mythology, wars, etc. In comparison to all that’s happened, we’re just a second that’s gone by.

 

That bad grade you got means nothing.

That being said, your education, or whatever it is you’re doing, is important for your life but a bad A level grade or a bad grade assignment you turned in, or even if it’s a bad day you’ve had (or bad week/month/year), it’s a very small inconvenience in the great scale of the universe. I know it doesn’t seem small because you are the centre of your universe; it’s your life, you’re the core of it all. But it really isn’t as big of a deal as you think it is.

There’s always a second route you can take, which isn’t all that bad. I can say from my own experiences and others’ experiences that when you get into a bad situation, that seems like your entire future is over, there is always a safe and good solution out, which turns out being for the best. And I’m not just saying that for the sake of being relatable and positive and inspiring, I’m saying it because I’ve been through rough difficult days and I’ve gotten out of it. Turn your bad situation into a success story! 😄

Don’t dwell on what’s happened, it’s not worth jeopardising your mental health for. Think rationally, and seek other options or ways to solve your problem. Sometimes that solution is time and just waiting and being patient.

 

Although, don’t brush off your situation as unimportant and something you shouldn’t address because it’s ‘silly’ or ‘stupid’ to you but revaluate your situation and understand it’s not the end of the world or of you. There’s ALWAYS a safe way out. There’s ALWAYS a solution.

It’s okay to have a melt down, just don’t stay in that meltdown forever. Cry and then refocus on what you need to do.

 

I’m stating this now since exam season is kind of over (I sympathise with those, who still or are now starting exams) as I didn’t want any of you to read this and think that means you don’t need to work hard or strive for good grades. However, I know some of you might be thinking and regretting decisions you made in the exams, which you can’t fix now. You might be upset or frustrated over an exam you did but it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world – a saying, which I hated to hear from people, but it really isn’t.

 

If anyone needs advice or someone to vent to, you can talk to me! Leave a comment or contact me here! Or stare at calming cat for a while. He’s calming.

 

-Shay

What Are You Doing Tomorrow?

I’m not here to engage in small talk about your plans for tomorrow. Not the plans you’re probably thinking about anyways – the kind where you describe where you’re going or what you’re going to eat for lunch.

I’m talking about the plans on what you choose to do with the time you have that’ll affect you and your life.

 

I was listening to this short clip (my friend posted it on his Snapchat story) and it was about dwelling on the past. I forgot who was in the video and I can’t find the video but he said something along the lines of: how many Instagram quotes, posts, people, content, etc, will it take to make you stop dwelling on the past. And it’s true.

Everyone can relate to this because there’s always some aspect of our pasts that we constantly think about or regret or replay in our minds. But the hard, brutal truth is: it’s never going to change. Whatever happened cannot change. It’s in the past – that’s the point.

Everyone trips and falls, and some harder than other. But that’s okay.

It may seem like the end of the world because you are the centre of your world. Any minor inconvenience that happens to you can seem major because you are the core of your life, as obvious as it sounds. We’re self centred because we only know the perspectives of ourselves; we can only see through our own eyes and move with our own legs.

 

But you can focus on the future and you can change tomorrow. Every single human on earth has the same amount of time in the day. Even if that time you have is mainly spent in the bright light of the sun or whether it’s spent in the dark blanket of sky and moon, we all have approximately twenty four hours. And it’s your choice on how you use that time and what you decide to do and be, the moment you wake up.

 

Make a change day by day. Little by little. And don’t dwell on the past.

 

So, what are you doing tomorrow?

-Shay

Baby Steps to Being Happier!

I used to be quite depressed.

It was really bad when I was about fourteen to fifteen years old. Now, I’m seventeen, and although I still haven’t fully recovered, I don’t think I’m depressed anymore.

There are many days where I feel mentally, emotionally and physically tired as well as lonely despite the countless friends and family I have surrounding me. Of course, everyone has a different case and I can’t understand completely what anybody, who is depressed or experiencing low moods feels like but I do know some things that work, at least for me.

I hate when people say ‘Just be happy’ or ‘Stop being sad’ like it’s a switch.

But you can take small steps to getting on the track of a happier life. Even if these things do not work for you, it’s worth a try.

 

Start a project:
Projects can be distracting but rewarding. It focuses your mind on something different instead of your problems and emotions. Although it’s not a permanent fix to how you may be feeling or any situational factors, it can motivate you to do something about your life and push you to be productive. You may also find, as I did, that you go to sleep feeling happier and less guilty or sad. You could pick anything, from something related to what you’re already good at or something entirely different and new. I chose writing – a story to be precise – and it’s something I feel proud of, even though I haven’t gotten very far with the writing process. Other examples include painting, training to run a marathon, learning to play the guitar, etc. Make your goal specific, realistic but challenging. Easy projects are quick and can be boring.

Find a new hobby:
I’ve spoken about this before but when I was in the midst of my misery, I decided at one point I wanted to change things. I had heard about people, who lucid dreamed and kept dream journals and devoted a bit of their time into controlling and thinking and learning more about dreams. I found it really interesting as I had already been a bit of a lucid dreamer but I never explored it, if that makes any sense. I did a lot of research and I, too, kept a dream journal, and it made me feel comforted and something to look forward to doing. It’s a little like the project idea but finding and partaking in a new hobby can be good and also rewarding. Google some crazy or weird hobbies that you never thought you’d do and try it out.

MHapp:
I recently downloaded the MHapp. It’s a free NHS mental health and wellbeing app, which helps with stress, anxiety and depression. It tells you how stress, anxiety and depression affect the body physically, it provides advice but, the part I use the most is this little icon called ‘My Wellbeing’. This is just a record of your emotion, on that day. However, as well as this, there are three boxes you can fill:
a) I am looking forward to…
b)Today I have achieved…
c) Today I am grateful for…
I know it doesn’t seem like much but those three boxes in a way forces me to think about the good that happened on the day even if I’m feeling down. Instead of making you recount the bad that happened on that particular day, you’re made to write about positivity of the future, present and the past.
You don’t even have to get the app to do this, you could use a notebook to write in every day and it can just be a few lines. Doing this pushes you to think positively.

Talk to someone regularly:
As humans, we’re social creatures. Loneliness is actually very harmful and I get that even in a room full of people, you can feel isolated. However, engaging in conversation with someone can reduce your feelings of loneliness and make you feel more refreshed. Social interactions have shown to increase happiness levels by 6.38%. You don’t even have to talk about your current feeling or issues. You could talk about anything but try and have a deeper, insightful conversation instead of just “what did you do today?” kind of conversations.

Have a ‘YOU’ day:
This is also something I’ve started to do recently. Dedicate a day to do things for yourself! Personally, I dedicated every other Sundays so that on Mondays, I feel refreshed and start the week with a positive attitude. What I usually do is be productive and do work in the morning and then later on in the afternoon or the evening, do face masks and wash my hair and have a bubble bath and drink herbal tea and watch a show or film I wanna watch. Basically, get comfy and do what makes you feel good.
Along with this idea of doing things for yourself, stay hygienic and healthy. Change into clean clothes, change your bed sheets, clean your room, go to bed at a good time, regular exercise (even just a five minute walk), tidy things up (both metaphorically and literally.)

Fake it ’til you make it:
If you are having continuous bad days, I hate to say this because even I would’ve rolled my eyes reading this but…pretend/act happy and cheerful. Feeling depressed and stressed usually goes hand in hand with overthinking and constantly thinking about something you did or an issue in your life. Try not to think about it too much and instead go about the day, smiling. I know it sounds like it won’t work and it may not but I try really hard to do this on days I wake up feeling negative and low and by the end of the day, I tend to feel better. For example, if you’re feeling angry about something someone did, don’t stress about it too much, smile (seriously, bare those teeth) and walk with a spring in your step. Say hi to people you know as you walk by and smile at them. That can brighten their day too.

That being said, do not push down your issues deeper. Tackle that issue if it continues to grow but try not to let that issue get in the way of how you’re feeling.

 

There are tons more different things you can do to help you feel a bit happier but these are just some that have helped me. I can’t guarantee it’ll work for you as we’re all different people, working in different ways, but there’s no harm in trying.

And if anyone reading this needs to talk, you can post it in the comment or email me at shayna2000@hotmail.co.uk

 

-Shay

How To Achieve Your Resolutions:

A lot of people make new year resolutions.

And a lot of people fall into the trap of not completing them.

 

When creating new year resolutions, you need to think specific and wisely.

If you want to lose weight, don’t just say “I’m going to try and lose weight”. It’ll be unlikely for you to achieve this because you’re not being specific, firstly. How much weight do you want to lose? How will you do it? Are you dreaming too big or is this achievable? Why do you want to lose weight? If you don’t think about it, you’re setting yourself for failure and even though, you can learn from you mistakes, you still need to try and achieve otherwise there wouldn’t be a point in creating resolutions.

 

I’m writing this to advice people reading this but also myself. I fall into this trap almost every year so writing this down (for you too) will remind me about all these things.

 

You also need to be willing to achieve your resolutions. If you’re not willing to work hard to get to your goals, how do you expect to achieve them? If you’re lazy, like me, you need to really plan and think about how you’re going to be able to achieve whatever it is you want. For example, I want to write a lot more and I want to finish my story, Alice. Since I can procrastinate a lot, I’m setting myself to write a chapter at least every month. That’s literally four weeks to write a chapter for 12 months. That’s not a big ambition. It’s achievable. But you also have to make sure you’re not making your goals too easy. If you don’t need to work hard to get to achieving your resolution, then it’s pointless. Unless you have a good reason. 😉

smart

Also, be careful with your actual resolution. Make sure that it is beneficial to you and/or others. Don’t be greedy with what you want and don’t always think about yourself. 🙂 It can be as small as smiling at someone every day.

 

Also be SMART! I learnt about this in PE but you can just look at the image I put in this post and it should tell you what that’s about! 🙂

 

There’s not a lot of points of advice to help you achieve your resolutions and making them realistic and good but I hope you take what I said on board and I really hope you all get to your goals! 🙂

 

-Shay