Where I Went In February

February was a hard month for me, looking back. I was up to eyes in coursework, revision and homework, and I kind of just let myself go a bit. I struggled with motivation and exhaustion all month, and learning that I had to go into school during half term, definitely didn’t help.

The first weekend of the month, I was in Manchester, at a concert, and visiting my brother who’s at university. So I couldn’t write a post or upload, as I had nothing to write. From this point forward, I was so disorganised for the entire month. I almost missed homework deadlines and I had no idea where I was in terms of my graphics coursework.

As it grew closer to the half term holiday, I grew more and more tired. I’d get home from school at between quarter past 4 and quater to 5 and collapse on the sofa all night, doing no work, because I was so mentally and physically drained. I’d never needed a break so much, and then I learnt I had to spend half of the week at school was almost heart-breaking. All I wanted was a week in my bed with Netflix and snacks, but I had to work.

I can’t remember exactly when, but I saw a video by Mariana’s Study Corner that was about how all of the Google apps can help you stay organised and productive, and I all of a sudden felt this rush of motivation come over me. I switched on my laptop and started watching the video from the beginning, listening intently to every detail. Within 30 minutes I’d created a weekly schedule, and organised everything that needed doing for my trip away and my coursework, and all of a sudden everything felt possible. That video, I don’t know how, got me out of the rut I’d been in for almost the entire month, ans it was so liberating.

Finally, to finish off the month, I was back in Manchester, going to another concert, and visiting my brother. I’d gone full circle. I felt like I had my life back in check, and had the final four days of the month to correct my mistakes. And I’m happy to report that I feel like I did just that. I finished and printed off 4 pages of my coursework, finished making all of my products, and got a reasonable amount of revision done. Also, since December, I’d been bunking off my football training almost every week. I went about 3 times in 3 months, which I was, and still am, very ashamed by. But this week, I went back, and I enjoyed it so much.

This month finished better than I could’ve imagined, and I can’t wait to get back to weekly posts, because I really do love this. It gives me a platform to write about whatever I want to, and what interests me, and the fact that people appreciate that, and come back every week or every month, makes me so happy and grateful. Thank you for everything, and for sticking with me this month.

A Round-Up of my Winter Break

With school starting tomorrow (January 7th), I just wanted to recap my holiday, how things went, revision, homework, etc…

I was so happy to break up on the last day. I was absolutely exhausted from my mock exams, I was sleep deprived, over-worked, and just feeling dead inside. So, obviously, a two week holiday was the answer to all of my problems. And, let me tell you, I did NOT waste a minute of it. If i wasn’t asleep, which I was for at least 12 hours every day, I was spending time with my family, completely stress free. One night I realised that time off to relax is exactly what we need to strive. We work our absolute socks off for months on end, and want to use our free time to do more work, which there’s nothing wrong with, but we all need to rest and reprogram ourselves. I thought about, after only a couple days of no school or school work, how much better I felt. My eyes weren’t stinging like they usually are because I’ve not slept enough, I wasn’t tired all the time, with absolutely no motivation, because I’d slept for as long as my body wanted me to. I was refreshed, and it felt so good!

I didn’t do any revision, I had some maths and history homework, so I obviously did that, but that was it. I deserved a break, and I sure as hell took one.

I would recommend to anyone to take some time off from the thrills of school or work. Even if it’s just one night a week, where you watch a movie with your family or partner or by yourself, anything. Just take some time for yourself, because you utterly deserve it. Life is hard, but with the right mindset and health, anything is possible, and you can achieve your goals and dreams.

Wow, this is super philosophical from me, I’m shook.

We got PlayStation VR for Christmas, and watching people play it is so funny! That’s what I’ve been doing basically this entire holiday.

This post is super weird and pointless, but I just wanted to make a post that wasn’t really formal and was pretty chill. Hope you have a brilliant week.

Apps and Resources I Use for Revision

With the ever increasing use of mobile phones, tablets, etc, I feel it’s vital to know about the resources available to you in the palm of your hand, no matter where you are. I think that there are so many apps at our fingertips, you just need to access them.

Duolingo

No matter what language you’re learning, no matter what your native tongue is. Duolingo is, in my opinion, the best language learning app there is. It’s so cleanly structured, and can be a lot of fun.

When I complete a section, there’s a real rewarding feeling. Also, I’ve noticed, using other language learning apps, that Duolingo don’t restrict you much with the free version. You can pay a subscription to DuolingoPlus, but you don’t have to. You can still access all of the lessons and resources, unlike apps like Memrise which only gives you the very basics of the content.

Quizlet

This one’s pretty obvious. Quizlet is another free website and app that you can make and use flashcards to learn key words, content and vocab. I use it mostly for equations in maths and physics, and important chemical formulas in Chemistry (e.g. HCl is hydrochloric acid). My favourite feature is the Classes feature. Because you can share your sets with anyone in that class. For example, I’m in a class with my friends and we share all of our sets together, as we take almost all the same subjects. I also love the range of learning activities you can use to learn your flashcards, including little games. I mostly use the Learn activity, but Match and Gravity are fun too.

I would recommend Quizlet to anyone who’s in school. It’s so versatile and you can learn almost anything. Even if you’re too lazy to make your own sets, you can search what you’re looking for and it shows hundreds of existing sets related to your search. It’s another free app with the option to buy QuizletPlus, which gives you offline learning as well as many other features, but it’s DEFINITELY not necessary.

Hegarty Maths

This resource is new into my school, and it’s been a bit controversial. The concept is brilliant, but some of the videos are wrong.

Basically, for every topic in maths, there are videos and related questions you use to test yourself and revise. First, you watch the video, making any notes you think necessary, then attempt the questions. If you get a question wrong, the system makes a record of it, and you ca attempt a “Fix-Up Five” which is five questions based on what you’ve got wrong in the past. I, personally, love the program, I think that it’s well thought out and you can easily achieve top grades if you use it constantly. However, most of my friends don’t agree, I’m not too sure why, but each to their own.

Your school has to purchase this system for you to use it, but I would definitely recommend asking your maths teacher if your school can look into buying it, as it’s suitable for everyone, primary age to high school, and is a valuable resource, in my opinion.

GCSEPod

This one is a strange one. I don’t think it’s available to just anyone, I think your school has to buy it then roll it out to you. I’m not sure.

Anyway, if your school has access to this program, I highly recommend using it. It gives you less than 5 minute videos, full to the brim of all the key bits of information for that topic. I know that I definitely struggle with what the key points to remember are, so having them presented to me so easily and straight-forward is a big help. You can also download any of the videos to listen to when you’re offline, so it’s always accessible.

Photoshop

Photoshop definitely isn’t needed for most people, but if you’re doing a graphic design course, it may be useful, especially if you’re behind on your coursework. I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop a couple of days ago, because I only have 5 lessons a fortnight when I can work on my coursework, and I wanted to be able to access it from home. Even though it’s only a seven-day trial, it’s still better than not being able to work on it at all.

With the free trial, you get all the same benefits you would if you paid, just only for a limited amount of time, obviously. It’s definitely been a big help to me these past couple days, and could be for you as well.

What I Did in the October Half Term Holiday

Monday 29th:

Today was a stay-at-home, get all our work done day for me and my dad. I did get a lot of work done, but not all of it, and I hadn’t even started on revision for PPEs in December. I don’t think my dad understands that I need to start preparing for these exams now, and I’m struggling to get all my homework done, let alone revise and have fun. Honestly, this week will be rubbish, and ultimately so will year 11. I just want to cry everyday, which SHOULD NOT be happening. School shouldn’t make you feel like this, they should help you thrive, but no, here I am being failed by the education system. I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last.

Tuesday 30th:

My parents and I went to see Venom today and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been a Marvel fan for as long as I can remember, the comics, the films, the characters, everything hooks me about the Marvel Universe. And Venom was no exception. It had a gripping story line, out of this world graphics, and just the right amount of humour that the symbiote seemed frightening, but nice, if that makes sense. I’m so excited for Carnage, like I cannot contain it. Carnage is by far the most superior symbiote, and to me, the best character that Marvel has ever created. The Superior Carnage comic is so good! Honestly, I could rave about Carnage all day long, but I won’t because it’ll get extremely boring very fast.

Wednesday 31st:

Damn, Halloween is my favourite time of the year. I’m not sure what it is, but the last week of October just has a different buzz than the rest of the year, in my opinion. I didn’t even do anything today, I just love the day. I was having really bad period cramps and I was meant to visit my boyfriend, but him being the gem he is let me stay in my bed and came over to my house instead. It’s the little things, honestly, they mean so much to me. He bought me 4 bottles of Body Shop hand cream, which is my absolute favourite hand cream. The smells are so strong and beautiful, and just amazing in general. Apart from the cramps, today was really good.

Thursday 1st:

My dad and I went bowling today. We played five games, and I won three of them. We got the 11 o’clock train into the city, started playing about 12. It was actually really sad how fast it was, like we’d played all five games in less than an hour and a half. Luckily the bowling place had an arcade so we played in there for like an hour, it was so fun. They had a Jurassic Park game where you have to like kill the dinosaurs that’ve escaped and are attacking you and stuff like that. We literally spent like £5 on that game alone, because if one of us died, the other person carried on, so you’d put another pound in so you could play.

After all that, we did a bit of shopping, we went to the Forbidden Planet shop and I had to refrane from buying most of the things in that shop, I love it so much. We bought a keyring each and one for my mum, a Griffindor coaster and talking Groot notebook for my mum as well. The train home was so packed because it was a 17:20 train, so everyone was on their way home from work. I was stood with my face pressed against the train door. It was so uncomfortable and there was nothing to hold onto so I was falling all over the place. It was overall a good day, even though I started crying about school and college again at like 11 that night.

Friday 2nd:

Today was a pretty chill day, we got the train into town at around 2 because my dad booked to get his hair cut at 3, and a pub in the town was showing the WWE pay-per-view Crown Jewel live from 4. We left after about 45 minutes because the pub didn’t have the sound on and we had to ask if they could put it on, so we decided we might as well watch it at home. So we got home and had a change of plan, because I’m away this weekend, I need to get all of my work done before school, so that was the rest of my night sorted. I finished my graphics homework, but I couldn’t face my English homework. Language paper 2 doesn’t fill me with joy, let’s put it that way. Oh, and I had another cry, but not about school for once.

Saturday 3rd:

I played football this morning and we won 6-1 so stoked about that. I’m battered and bruised and exhausted but I’ll live with it, obviously. This afternoon, I went to my boyfriend’s house because his family were hosting a bonfire party that night. Before it started I did some of my English homework because we had some free time. I’m really bad at it so my boyfriend helped me with it. The party itself was loads of fun, and I’m staying over tonight.

Sunday 4th:

Not looking forward to school tomorrow, but is anyone? We went to a local abbey decorated with hand-knitted poppies. It was so beautiful. Because it’s the day of posting, there’s nothing else to say really, as it’s only been half a day. When I get home later I’ll most likely be trying, and failing, to do my English homework… Still. I need extra help or tutoring or something from my teacher but he won’t listen to me, so I’m just stuck here struggling, which is always fun.

The week as a whole has had a lot of ups and downs, but it was infinitely better than being at school. I may do another one of these, during the December half term, but if all I do is revision for the two weeks it’ll get insanely boring, extremely fast.

Year 11 vs Years 7-10

It’s no secret that as you get older, you get more homework, and the expectation for the quality of the homework increases as well.

But with year 11, it’s completely different. The amount of homework increases and so does the pressure of revision. It seems so contradictory to me, that schools expect you to revise when they give you so much homework there’s no time left in the day to get out your textbooks for extra revision. I understand that this year is the most important and all, but your life shouldn’t have to stop because of it. My friends and I are no longer scheduling meet ups and days together, because we simply do not have the time because of the workload.

I don’t know whether this happened at all schools or just mine, but through years 7-10 we had three lessons of core PE a fortnight, but now we only have two, because they’ve taken lessons and replaced them with extra English lessons. It used to be eight English lessons and eight maths lessons throughout the two week timetable, but now it’s 10 and 8, which I despise, really, because I absolutely adore maths, whereas English I just don’t. Most people I’ve spoken to have preferred maths over English, because you have to think a certain way to succeed at English, and maths is just “this is how you do it”, very straight-forward.

Year 11 sucks all of the fun out of school. I know that not everyone enjoys it, or enjoyed school like I do, but even so you still had at least some fun in lessons. But not anymore. All of your attention needs to be on the work, or you’ll fall behind, which is never good, because you get so much work without missing deadlines or finishing worksheets in lessons.

Of course, it’s stressful. It’s only October and I’m already dreading the exams in May. I don’t feel like I have enough time, because of all of the homework I get, and how little energy I have when I get home. Every day feels like a marathon to me, I’m glad when they’re over, and dreading the next day.

Anyways, here’s some tips for anyone at high school:

  • Enjoy years 7-9, have fun, but still try hard in all your lessons.
  • When you pick your GCSE options, make sure you pick for yourself rather than others. You should pick subjects you enjoy, not what your friends are picking.
  • Make sure your choices make sure you have a wide range of GCSEs so you have the ability to change career paths if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing in that moment.
  • Use Year 10 to make revision resources for everything you cover in that year. You don’t want to be in the position I’m in, where you have hardly any revision material for all of the content you covered in the first year.
  • When you have an end of unit test coming up, revise for those tests, you’ll more accurately see the gaps in your knowledge than if you don’t revise for them at all.