September Series: Back to School

Friday, 5 September 2014


Socks from American Apparel.

Photos by Petra Collins for
So this September is slightly different for me, as I'm not going into another year of full time education. Instead I'm taking a gap year, before heading off to university next September to study English Literature. One of my main reasons for taking a gap year is that... A-levels nearly killed me. Not literally of course, but the last two years of school were pretty tough. I'm not the only one who felt this way, pretty much all of my free periods were taken up by frantically writing an essay on a Shakespearean scene from a play we hadn't even read and hearing everyone complain about...well, everything.
It didn't matter who was studying for what or who had the most exams, everyone was having a hard time either dealing with the coursework load or those bits of information that just won't stay in your head. It's a challenging time, but I thought I'd include a few bits of advice in this post for those starting college, GCSE's or just another year beginning. 

Yeah fictional characters have a tough time too, channel Ducky from Pretty in Pink or Violet from American Horror story.

Something I wish had been more advised: get yourself organised. Towards the end of the summer begin getting all the supplies you will need, as for A-level, organisation is key. Here are a few things I would advise picking up:
-Folders-different colours for each subject
-Plastic wallets- to separate work so it’s easier to search through
-USB stick- especially if you are taking a coursework based subject.
-Big bag- yes we are aware you can wear what you like, but having a bag that will break in the first week and only carry two books will do you no favours.
-A4 pad- they don’t give you exercise books.
-Homework diary-You may get given one of these, but be prepared to get one (trust us, you may be in Post 16 but homework is still hard to keep track of!)
-Revision cards- these really come in handy in every subject.
-Highlighters, post-it notes etc- anything with colour to make note-taking clearer to understand when revising

The first term of anything is just about getting started. You won’t immediately be thrown in the deep end with coursework and impossible deadlines, but this term is important as you’ll soon realise what the next year will involve, and whether you are capable and defiantly want to do it. Here are a few tips I suggest.
-Do all homework set- don’t get behind all ready.
-Attendance- Make sure you go to all lessons as it’s more difficult to catch up than in previous school years.
-Ask questions- Yes it’s an obvious one, but it’s better than writing down something you don’t understand and then having a panic attack when you see it in an exam!
-Take notes on everything- For nearly all subjects, many students regretted not taking down more notes for when it came to revision, so note down anything you know you’ll want to remember!

Now, you will have gaps during the day without any lessons. Although every now and then you will deserve a break, it is vital that you make the most of these free hours. If you don’t, you’ll soon regret it on Friday evening when you realise your weekend will be full of completing homework tasks. Here’s what the students have to say:
-Make the most of a library- Textbooks, internet and printing to use in a quiet environment. And don’t worry about looking like a geek or whatever; it’s usually full of students!
-Study room- If your college/school has one, perfect if you’ve got a lesson in the building next…or if it’s raining and you don’t fancy running to the library.
-Avoid the common room when you actually need to do work- It’s usually to noisy to do any actual work, and you’re bound to get distracted, so maybe avoid the common room when the work needs concentration!

But remember! You’re supposed to have breaks as well !
Thank you so much for reading, please comment or share the post if any of it was helpful, and good luck for the first day!
Stay tuned for more in the September Series!


Amberose said...

Thanks this really helped me.
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Beth Martin said...

Love your blog! I'll definitely take these steps on board, I'e just gone into Year 11. Have an amazing gap year! x

AnnCates said...

This was so helpful I just started my sophomore year of high school, so I definitely have a while to go. I just hope it's filled with fun! Anyways all of these are very smart tricks when organizing for class, because I am usually such an unorganized person. Hopefully this year will b different!
Much Love, AnnCates xxxx

Louise Smith said...

Lovely tips!

Helen* said...

Awesome post, thanks for sharing! :) x

sophiesmakeupblog said...

Great tips! x


Bethan Likes said...

I found A-levels such a stressful experience, was working almost constantly and little help from teachers. So glad to be past it now, I think it is so important to take breaks as it can easily get too much.

Bethan Likes

Amber Akanu said...

I love this post, its really helpful x