Exam Season Thoughts!!

Hello! As a lot of you will know (and as I keep going on about), it’s currently exam season here in the UK. I thought I’d take some time to check-in and share some thoughts with you I guess!

Exam season so far has been a bit of a mess for me. Firstly, I was ill for almost three weeks with a flu type thing. I’ve only just been feeling better this past week, which was lucky as I had my first exam on Wednesday (French speaking) and it would have been an absolute disaster if I still couldn’t speak properly. Being ill in exam time is really inconvenient. I had to take time off from college and revision and I felt really overwhelmed because I’d got so behind on work. Then once I started getting better, the stress hit me like a tonne of bricks and I found myself having almost daily breakdowns because everything was overwhelming and I just couldn’t cope.

However, I’ve managed to pick myself back up again and I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of finding a balance between studying and looking after my health. So I guess I feel like sharing it in case it helps anyone else – or my future self – out.

Personally, I have always been very organised when it comes to exam season, as in, I like to have my revision completely planned out so I know what I should be doing when and I’d make revision timetables months in advance. However this year, I’ve probably made about six different revision timetables and just haven’t been able to stick to a schedule. I’d end up missing revision one day because I was too tired or had other commitments then found myself constantly trying to catch up with all the stuff I’d missed as well as get all the stuff I’d scheduled for that day finished and quite frankly it just didn’t work and made me way more stressed out than I needed to be.

My teacher said to me a while ago that the secret to good revision is to stop planning and start doing, and I’m only know realising how right he was because I’d spend hours trying to figure out a revision timetable that worked, in the mean time getting frustrated and stressed about the amount of work I had to do and lack of time, then I’d be too worked up to actually do any work and before I knew it the day would be over and I hadn’t achieved anything. Now I’ve decided that revision timetables just don’t work for me anymore or with the demands of my A Level subjects, so I’ve developed a new, much better system.

Basically, I just write out a list of everything I need to do in the near future to feel confident for each of my exam papers, then each week/weekend I’ll choose the paper that I feel most concerned about at that moment and will focus on getting as far through the list as possible that week/weekend. That way, I’m not stressing myself out by saying I need to write so many essays on this day, instead I just get on with it and actually do some work. I can be a lot more productive if I’m not telling myself I will fail if I don’t get through a certain amount of work each day, and I feel like I’m learning and remembering a lot more because I’m less stressed. Revision is actually becoming a bit more enjoyable.

I know different revision techniques work better for different people, but I thought I’d found my ‘revision style’ after going through two GCSE exam seasons, but I guess they in which we study best changes when we grow and learn more. So the lesson I’ve learnt from this is that I should be more open-minded to shaking-up my revision and studying a bit and to not stress myself out by setting unrealistic goals!

Good luck to everyone doing exams at the moment, make sure you take time to take care of yourself too. 🙂

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Things I’m Looking Forward To This Summer

Hello! Long time no see, as usual! As it’s exam season, I haven’t had nearly as much time or energy as I would have liked to devote to blogging, but nevertheless I am here now, taking a break from revision to enjoy the sunshine and plan for summer. There are many things that I’d like to do in the summer whilst I’ve got plenty of free time, so I thought I’d write a list to give me something to look forward amidst the stress of exams.

Amsterdam – probably the most exciting yet daunting thing that will be happening this summer as two friends and I will be travelling to Amsterdam in July – our first trip away as responsible adults without our parents.  We haven’t yet planned out exactly what we’re going to do, but I am really looking forward to it, considering I wasn’t expecting to be able to go abroad for the next few years! We definitely want to take a canal cruise, and there are a few places that we have in mind to visit, but if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!

Snowdon – another exciting thing that’s happening is our family camping trip to Snowdon. I’ve never been to Snowdonia – or North Wales for that matter – and as a keen adventurer, climbing a mountain is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I absolutely love camping and being in the outdoors, so I’m really pleased that we’ll be going just after exams finish for a well-earned break. I’m sure you’ll hear all about my travels on here over the next few months.

Reading – honestly I have read about 1 and a half books since Christmas, and one of them was for my upcoming French exam. I can’t wait to be able to read for fun again – I still have the French version of I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson that I bought dans la librarie in Marseille last summer to read, as well as a book on the political history of France that I picked up for 10p at a library book sale ages ago. Not to mention my Goodreads TBR list, which continues to grow.

Blogging – of course how could I not mention blogging?? It’ll be nice to get back into the flow of writing non-academically and who knows, maybe I’ll start writing on my French blog again.

Preparing for uni – I am actually really looking forward to shopping for all my university supplies. I’ve got a few things but still much more to get before Fresher’s Week.

Beach days – I mean, I live in a seaside town with close proximity to at least three beaches, so I’ve got to have at least one beach day right?

Spending time with friends/family – it’ll be nice to have the whole family back together again when my sister comes home from uni for the summer. Also, I’m looking forward to spending time with friends, although I’m worried I will lose contact with a lot of friends from college and not be able to see my friends as often as I’d like as most of them have jobs. However, it’ll be good to spend at least some time with them before we all go our separate ways.

Well I think that’s all I can think of for now, other than the obvious ‘sleep’ which is becoming more and more elusive as exam season draws nearer. If you’re in the UK, I hope you’ve been enjoying this little heat wave and best of luck to anyone taking exams this term. 🙂

Identity?? Crisis?? AHHH

I’m currently sat typing away on my laptop after finishing revision for the evening, watching the sun set through the lounge window and listening to the Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda audiobook (yes, I’m late the party OKAY). What more could you want?? Actually, it would be better if I was sat outside enjoying the last few rays of sunlight, but unfortunately our garden faces north so doesn’t get much sun past 3 pm. I’ve been trying to write this post over the past few weeks, but never quite getting it right. Sometimes thoughts are so confusing you have to just wait them out until they make enough sense to write down, or at least that’s what I find anyway.

Let me rewind a week and a bit to when I went to see Walk The Moon live for the first time. It was such a surreal experience – seeing them perform after years of listening to their music sparked a roller coaster of emotions, because their songs speak to me on a level that I can’t quite put into words. They’ve been like a friend, I guess, through my teenage years as I try to figure out more about myself and my sexuality. When I’ve felt lonely, confused and frustrated about my feelings, their music has helped me to feel accepted and less alone. So as you can imagine, seeing them sing the lyrics I’d held onto in tough times really hit me, in a good, but confusing and emotional way and since then I’ve been having this massive identity crisis. It’s like feelings and questions I’ve been repressing – unintentionally – for a long time have suddenly resurfaced.

It’s a funny thing, identity. A collection of carefully selected influences pieced together. Like a puzzle. A never ending, ever growing puzzle. As we go through life, we discover more pieces, make new connections, changing the image of ourselves that we portray to society. This concept has been troubling me lately – I keep experiencing this recurring feeling of uncertainty when I think about my identity, sometimes it feels like I really don’t know who I am, or what makes me me.

It’s taken me a good few days, but I’ve come to the conclusion that not knowing who I am yet isn’t a bad thing. At the moment, I’m quite enjoying life – it feels like everyday I’m learning new things about the world around me and it’s thrilling. Perhaps, throughout life, we never reach a point where we stop learning and discovering new things, so it correlates that we never stop learning new things about ourselves. Perhaps we’ll never find all the pieces to our own puzzles, but maybe that’s okay.

Throughout my life, my perception of myself and my identity has changed. When I was a child, I used to have very short hair and wear boys ‘designed’ for boys, I went to Scouts and loved spending time exploring the outdoors. I was just being me. My naive child-self wasn’t aware of the gender-shaped boxes that society would eventually force me into when I started secondary school. As a result of bullying, I reluctantly began to fit into societies norms by portraying myself as a stereotypical girl.

During my teenage years, I really lost sense of my identity and who I was. I became too focused on trying to fit myself into metaphorical boxes of what a girl should be instead of ‘thinking outside the box’, as it were, and just being me. Then I started – and still am – questioning my sexuality, which has been going on for a good 4 years now. Attraction is confusing and I’m still trying to understand that sexuality can be fluid and change as we do.

Everyday I feel different, in some respects, towards my identity. Not just my sexuality, but my overall perception of myself. It’s strange. Some days I feel comfortable and happy with who I am. Other times I don’t feel like I fit in – in society, in this town, in my own skin. I keep thinking back to when I was a child, and was happy being different and not meeting society’s expectations of what a girl “should” be. Now, I feel like I’ve spent too much time subconsciously shaping myself into an “acceptable” female that I’ve lost sense of who I really am. It’s hard to work out whether who I am now is just a mask I wear to avoid society’s questions or if this is just who I was always going to become. One thing I do know, is that I don’t fit in with the people I surround myself with, because they don’t know who I really am and frankly neither do I. I’m constantly pretending to be someone I’m not – for their sake and mine.

My understanding of gender and sexual identity is titled by my experiences, of course. The casual homophobia that is all too prevalent within the education system and the media. Even now, hardly a day goes by where I don’t overhear someone using labels of sexuality interchangeably with insults or make “jokes” at the expense of the LGBTQA+ community during lessons. It makes me want to hide more, put up another disguise. Showing a fraction of my real identity to the world because I’m scared to show what I feel inside.

I need a change, and space, to explore who I am – a blank canvas to repaint myself using the colours of the overshadowed, repressed version of myself that I used to let show to be able to move on to the next part of my “identity journey”, to collect more puzzle pieces. Maybe I won’t be truly happy until I know who I am. Or maybe I won’t know who I am until I am truly happy. Either way, I’ve got to keep swimming through this confusing stage in my life.

Who knew a concert could trigger an identity crisis, eh?

Waiting for Adventure

Some of my happiest memories stem from summers spent exploring the British coast and countryside. Waking up to birdsong, under canvas, and morning dew settled precariously on blades of grass. Driving through country lanes, sun blaring through the windows, music blaring through the speakers, smiling from ear to ear as we drove to the coast. Abandoning flip-flops and dashing towards the sea and jumping the waves, full of love and life. Playing cricket on the beach under the hazy sun. Sure, sun burn and sleeping bags never ended well, but that’s how life is, in the summer time.

Wandering through little fishing villages, marvelling at how simple and happy a life here could be – a breeze in the relative storm of modern life. Sun reflecting, fragmenting over the oscillating ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see. That sense of peacefulness as the wind tickles your skin and wraps round your hair. For a moment, the Earth stood still.

Climbing up headlands and hills – to admire the view or just for the thrill? I never knew. Watching the sun turn the sky into a frenzy of redorangeyellowredpink as the evenings dragged out and campfire embers died. One day, I hope, summer will last forever, and every day will mark a new adventure. But for now, I’ll just count down the days until the sun blazes hot in the sky and I can live this life again.

Study With Me: Easter Edition!!!

Hello! Although I – uncharacteristically – have lots of inspiration for blog  posts at the moment (namely philosophical musings about life inspired by public transport and weather and all sorts of other not-very-exciting-things-which-keep-leading-me-to-consider-deeper-meanings), I’ve decided to do another study with me, because I don’t have enough time to do any of these thoughts justice, but I still wanted to write a little update. Hope you enjoy 🙂

8:30 – Wake up (to the annoying sound of my alarm because otherwise I’d sleep until 10am lol). I had some breakfast, got ready and made my to-do list for the day.
Sticky note reading: USA flashcards and quizlet, geography coursework, la famille vocab and la famille speaking mock
I’m actually a day ahead with revision, because I did all of today’s scheduled revision yesterday, so I decided to do tomorrow’s today.

10:00-11:00 – History flashcards

I managed to get through half of the unit I’d planned to make flashcards on because it took a lot longer than expected, but that’s okay because I’ll finish them off tomorrow.

Flashcards
11:00-11:20 – History Quizlet

I typed up the key polices, dates and statistics from my history flashcards into Quizlet – which is quickly become one of my favourite revision resources. It basically allows you to create a virtual set of flashcards which you can complete various activities and games with to help you learn them, it’s particularly useful for language vocab but works for history too!

11:20-1:00 – Geography coursework

My coursework dealdine is in 8 days, so I’m trying to use any non-revision time to work on editing it. Somehow my word count keeps increasing even though I’m trying to make it shorter?? I’m already over the 4000 word limit so it’s going to take a lot of time to get it below that.

4:45-6:00 – French speaking practice

I had a bit of a break in revision for lunch then I had to go to town to do some shopping and visit the bank. When I got home I was so tired I had a nap (#studentstruggles). But! Once I started French revision I got a lot done. I went through all the vocab for “La Famille” unit on Quizlet, then read through all the key facts/statistics and responses to “unpredictable” questions for that unit. After that I did a mock exam using a speaking card like the one’s we are given in the first part of our exam. We get five minutes to prepare (hence my scruffy handwriting pictured below) then have to give our responses and answer a few unpredictable questions for a total of 6 minutes. I recorded myself speaking as well (although in hindsight this wasn’t a great idea – listening back to yourself trying to speak a foreign language is the worst thing ever).

French revision guide with annotations
6:45-8:15 – Geography coursework

After dinner I went back to my coursework and tried to make some progress. I did a bit of editing but mainly sorted out my bibliography and positioning of photos (because aesthetics are important clearly). In the end I was too tired and kept going round in circles so I gave up for revision for the day and did a bit of yoga to wind down.
Thank for reading and, as always, hope you are well! 🙂

Blissfully Happy

This morning I woke up and opened my curtains to the delight of blue sky and sun. I love this time of year when the weather’s getting warmer and the days are getting longer. After doing some work, I joined my parents in our garden and sat in the glorious sun, reminiscing about all the memories this garden holds. 

When I was younger, I remember running around making up elaborate fantasy games with my sister, or playing football and cricket with my dad. Those rare heat waves where it would be warm enough to get the paddling pool out are some of my favourite memories. As I’ve grown older, the garden has become more of a place of rest and studying. For the past few summers, I’ve spent my days revising in the garden surrounded by flowers and birdsong and the sound of mowing lawns and children playing outside as I once did. I love it. I love how seeing blue skies and sun reminds me of all of this.

Summertime in secondary was great, we used to sit out on the picnic tables and laugh lunchtime away, not to mention the after school water fights. Summer breaks we’d go away camping as a family together and explore the Great British Coast. 

I guess I’m feeling about nostalgic because this spring/summer will be my last summer at home, surrounded by my friends and family. The last time I can revise for exams in our garden, the last time I can make trips to the beach with my friends and revel in our lack of responsibility and being able to get away with acting a (little) bit childishly. 

I’m determined to make the most of my last few months at college though, surrounded by great friends who I hope I can stay in touch with and spend our last summer together with. Thinking about it, college has been the best few years of my life so far and I know I’ll cherish these memories forever. If I could go back and do it all again, I would definitely make sure I spent more time socialising and having fun with my friends instead of declining invitations in order to study like I did last year. If there’s one thing you should all take from reading this, it’s to cherish your teenage years and have fun whilst you can.

Music Habits Tag!

Hello! The awesome Ana Regina @ Diversion 3000 tagged me to do the Music Habits Tag, which was created by Sumedha @ The Wordy Habit. I haven’t done a tag in a very long time (sorry to anyone who’s tagged me in anything!) but since I love music, I thought I’d give it a try!

The rules:

  • Tag the creator.
  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Answer all the questions.
  • Tag at least three friends.

Do you download songs or stream on apps like Spotify, Wink?

So mostly I stream music on Spotify or occasionally YouTube. I don’t really download songs as such but if I really like an album I’ll buy the CD then transfer the songs from that into my phone.

What’s your current favourite song?

Oooh I think it would have to be between Cheetah Tongue by The Wombats and Everybody Wants To Be Famous by Superorganism. They’re songs I just keep hearing on the radio lately and consequently end up singing or humming along to subconsciously 😂 Ahh but there’s also Wild Love by James Bay that I’m in love with 😍

Last song you listened to?

According to Spotify, Hard Times by Paramore. I actually really love this song so this is also kind of a current favourite (it’s so hard to just pick one favourite eek!)

Who are your all-time favourite artists?

I have quite a few to be honest, the artists that I’ve been “in to” for quite a long time are Catfish and the Bottlemen, James Bay, Bastille and Walk the Moon but more recently I’ve fallen in love with HAIM. Also anyone who knows me will know how stupidly obsessed with the Bee Gees I am. Then there’s bands like Take That who were the soundtrack to my childhood so y’know, should probably include them too.

Have you been to any concerts?

Yes! My first concert was The 1975 a few years ago. Since then I’ve seen Catfish and the Bottlemen (who were amazing) and I went to Leeds Festival for a day last summer, where I finally got to see Bastille (my baes) amongst other artists including Ratboy, Bear’s Den and Kasabian to name a few (you can read all about it here!). This month I’m going to see Eliza and the Bear and Walk the Moon, both of which I’m very excited about!

Do you play any instruments?

I actually learnt to play the guitar and ukulele in year 8 – my mum and sister taught me. Then I tried to self-taught myself piano for a good few years but it was very hard so I don’t really play piano much anymore. However I still play guitar quite often – I can still remember the chords no matter how long I don’t practice for, ukulele on the other hand, I’ve forgotten the chords. Oops. I would like to learn piano properly one day as it’s such a beautiful instrument.

Do you play your songs on shuffle or choose a playlist?

I usually play a playlist. At the moment I have one called “2018 motivation” that I made at the start of the year with a few songs that help to put me in a positive mindset for the year ahead and I’ve just been adding new songs I like ever since. I never really put all my songs on shuffle as I listen to so many genres it’ll jump from musicals to 80s to indie and I’m never in the mood for all those types of music at the same time!

Name one song that you always skip when it comes up on shuffle.

I don’t think there’s any particular song, because it depends what playlist I have on, but sometimes if an older song comes on by an artist I’ve listened to for years and know all the words to, like James Bay for example, I may skip it because I prefer to listen to their newer stuff. However that doesn’t mean I don’t like to reminisce and listen to older music, I’ve just got to be in the right mood. 

Do you prefer playing songs on a speaker or listening in ear/headphones?

When I’m studying I’ll use a speaker (well…my laptop or radio) because wearing headphones gets in the way but when I travel to and from college in the bus I always listen to music through earphones (don’t think people would appreciate me having a race on the bus 😂).

Are there any popularly liked songs that you don’t like?

Controversial opinion but: I just don’t like Ed Sheeran’s music?? I know everyone is obsessed with his songs but I’m just not a fan of them. Sorry guys.

Where do you usually find new music? Example through shuffle online, recommendations.

Usually through the radio! I spend a lot of time listening to BBC Radio 1 and Capital FM when I’m studying or on the bus, so usually I’ll hear new songs on their and if I like them I’ll add them to my 2018 Spotify playlist. Occasionally Spotify will play a suggested song that I like, but that’s very rare.

Do you like songs based on tunes/beats or lyrics?

Both! Most pop music I like because of the beat – it’s good to (attempt to) dance along to, but I feel like the quality of most current pop song lyrics is declining. Then there are songs I like because the lyrics stand out to me, even just a line but if I feel a connection to the lyrics, I like the song a lot more. For example at the moment I love the line “let’s leave the atmosphere, disappear” in Wild Love by James Bay.

Name one song that you think everyone should listen to.

I would have to say Falling by HAIM. I mean, all of HAIM’s songs are amazing, but this one in particular always motivates me with it’s repetition of “never look back, never give up” (and their voices are so beautiful, you should just listen to them like seriously).

That’s all the questions – I actually really enjoyed answering them and finding out more about my own music habits. 

I’m going to nominate Victoria @ Doodles and Scraps, Jas @ It’s Simply Me Jasmine and Ellie @ The Diary of Ellie

Please don’t feel obligated to do it, and likewise if you’d like to do the tag and haven’t been tagged, please feel free!