//Last week; ft. Year 13, bullet journals and Dutch//

Hallo mein Freunds! Today I come to you with a little catch-up of what I’ve been doing over the past week or so since my last post. Last week wasn’t particularly busy for me, despite starting back at sixth form on Monday but I thought I’d do a little list of things I’ve done anyway.

  • Read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I had mixed feelings about this book. I mean, it wasn’t written really well but some of themes were a bit heavy and perhaps it wasn’t the right time for me to read it, but I didn’t find it a particularly uplifting book…I don’t know.
  • Completed an introduction to Dutch course with the University of Groningen. I’m quite proud I actually finished this course, considering I started it at the beginning of august and only finished yesterday, so it took over a month, but it was really fun to get an intro to the wonderful Dutch language and I particularly enjoyed sinking my teeth into all the grammar rules.
  • Started Year 13. Of course I couldn’t do a weekly roundup without acknowledging the fact that sixth form existed. It was a bit of bumpy ride last week, some classes were good, others not and I can’t say I’m particularly happy to have returned to college despite initially not wanting to break up for summer. But I’m sure once I get back into the swing of things it won’t be so bad.
  • Got my new timetable. Obviously this links in with the last point, and maybe it should have come before it but oh well. Anyway my timetable is quite different this year from last year. Last year I was in Monday 9am-5pm, Tuesday 10am-3pm and Thursday 9am-4:30pm, so I had Wednesday and Friday off. This year however I’m in Monday 9am-12:15pm, Tuesday 1:15pm-4:30pm, Wednesday 9am-12:15pm and Thursday 9am-4:30pm. I get Friday off still this year but it’s hard to adjust to going in four days in a row instead of having a midweek gap. Having three 9am’s I’d not great but I think having shorter days will be better for me as I used to be exhausted on Monday’s and Thursday’s last year. However this year on Thursday afternoons I have a three hour break between lessons (a.k.a. an excuse to nap on the common room sofas) which is a bit of a nuisance as by the time my last lesson comes around, I’m not in study mode any more.
  • Took my sister back to uni. Well that was last weekend, but yeah we helped her move into her new house and met her house mates, who all seemed lovely, and hopefully we’ll be going down to visit next month.
  • Started bullet journalling. I decided to start a bullet journey today, because I love being creative and organised, so it’s the perfect combination right? I found an old notebook and ripped some pages out that I’d written in, and although the cover’s a little scruffy, it’s the perfect size for me and saves me having to buy a new one. Here are the spreads I’ve done so far:   You might be able to see that I accidentally gave February 29 days in the “year at a glance” section as I was talking to my mum and got a bit distracted 😂. I decided to make mine follow the acedemic year, as I’m starting September, so I’m planning on doing it from now until August. I’m trying to keep it quite minimalistic because I know later on in the year I won’t have so much time to spare making it look artsy, so a few photos from magazines here and there will probably be the extent of my embellishments 😂. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, even if it took me a few hours to measure everything and make sure it’s all lined-up and evenly-spaced!
  • Excerised. Would you believe it…I went walking for about an hour and a half yesterday, then did a 45 mins cycle ride today. I have plans of running on Tuesday morning but I don’t know if my exercise streak will extend that far 😂.

That’s pretty much it for last week, and all I can say is hopefully I’ll have a stroke of inspiration next week and find something more interesting to blog about. But for now I hope you all have a lovely week!

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//Sixth Form Stationary Haul//

Hello! As I’ve probably mentioned too many times already, I’m starting year 13 in September – my second year of Sixth form – so I’ve been stocking up on my stationary throughout August to make sure I’m prepared for the year ahead (also there are so many good back to school deals at this time of year, so I’ve bought *hopefully* enough stuff to last me the whole year).

Some of the stationary I bought last year I am going to re-use this year, so I’ll divide the haul into new stuff and reused stuff just so you can get the whole picture of what stationary I use at Sixth form.

NEW STUFF

I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good stationary shopping spree?

Papermate Inkjoy set of 8 black pens – Sainsbury’s <£3

I bought these in a sale so I can’t remember the exact price, but it was under £3 I think! Inkjoy just write so smoothly, and their triangular shape is so comfy to hold. As a leftie I love them because they don’t smudge loads, which prevents me messing up all my work and being covered in ink!

Pukka 400-page Refill Pad – WHSmith £3.49

Okay so at the moment these are on sale for £3.49 (down from £4.99), but I bought my a few months ago when they had a good two for one offer, so I have two of these pads and one 200 page pad. Obviously you can get much cheaper own-brand paper, but I love Pukka Pads becayse the quality is good and they read out well (which I find most own-brand don’t). I also buy some really cheap paper from a local diy sort of store to rewrite my notes onto (although maybe I should rewrite my notes onto the expensive paper and use the cheap stuff for rough notes?? Who knows).,

Extra strong file dividers 20 pack – Sainsbury’s £1.50 (down from £2)

These! Are! Honestly! An! Essential! They’re plastic so they don’t rip like some of the card/papers ones do, plus you can label the tabs with little stickers which you can peel of and replace so you can reuse your file dividers!!! Honestly they helped to keep my folders so organised last year and they’re nice colours as well! They come in packs of 20 and I use 10 per folder as they fit nicely, plus it’s an even number to divide units into. One thing I would advise is to stock up on them now (because last year I only​ ly bought one pack, so had enough for two folders and had to buy cardboard ones for the other five) as last year Sainsbury’s didn’t stock them anymore after the back to school period in August/September, so that’s something to bear in mind! (I still need to buy another pack as well so I have enough for French).

Staedtler Rainbow Ball 432 ten pack of pens – Ryman £3.99

I haven’t tested these pens yet, but I’ve heard many good things about them! When it comes to note taking, rainbow ballpoints are my go to (for some reason I just can’t get into fine liners??). I used to always use the Papermate Inkjoy set of 10 rainbow oensy, but now it seems they’ve decommissioned that set and you can only get an 8 pack or a 16 pack (or pay ridiculous amounts for the 10 pack on Amazon) so this year I had to switch loyalties and try out Staedtler. The good thing is, the colours are exactly the same as the Papermate ones! (Also the pens are upside down because I took them out the packet to look at them and couldn’t get them back in the right way).

REUSED STUFF

Sometimes you can save money on stationary by reusing stuff from previous years!

Blue floral pencil case – Sainsbury’s

I cannot remember how much this cost as I got it way back in year 10 for Christmas, but no matter as it’s not available anymore anyway. However I still love it and although it’s went on the corners, it’s still perfectly useable! It’s also just the right size to fit everything I need in but not be too bulky in my rucksack. I actually washed it recently because I didn’t want my new stationary to get dirty 😂 A pencil lcase is definitely an essential though to carry around all your pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers etc.


Stabilo Boss Pastel Highlighters 6 Pack – Sainsbury’s £5

I bought these last year for my revision as a treat and also because my other highlighters were running out. They are such lovely colours, are long-standing and really smooth to use! Would definitely recommend. I’ll be keeping them at home this year to use when I’m rewriting notes and revising as I always found that whenever I was doing homework, I would need my highlighters that were in my school bag in the cupboard under the stairs, and me being me couldn’t be bothered to go and get them all the time!

Ring binders (middle) – Wilko £1-£2

Slim ring binders (right) – Staples £1-£2

Lever arch files (left) – free!

All of these folders (+ more) were used in my filing system from last year. I experimented with different ways of organising my notes, and found that all three folder types worked best for me. I have one slim ring binder for every subject, which I use to transport my notes from the last few lessons to college on a daily basis (lessons dependant) then when we’d finished a unit/topic, I would transfer that unit (with it’s own dedicated folder dividers) into the normal width ring binders. I had two normal ring binders for geography (one for human and one for physical) and history (one for Britain and one for America) and one for French (because you take less notes). At the end of the academic year, my dad got hold of some lever arch files for me which his work was (and still is) giving away to employees for free. I transferred all my notes from my normal ring binders into these lever arch files, so I now have one lever arch file each for geography, history and French, meaning all my normal ring binders and slim ring binders are free to use for this year! I’ve but my lever arch files into storage under my bed, and my dad has kindly.got me three more lever arch files that I shall transfer my second year notes into next year. Now I’ve got a good set of varying folders, I’ll keep reusing them throughout my education.

Everyone’s filing system is different – some people keep current notes in notebooks before transferring them to ring binders, others just have one ring binder that they take all their current subject notes in on a day to day basis – there’s so many different ways of doing it! It definitely took me a month or so of trying different things to figure out which I preferred!

Well, that’s the end of my mini stationary haul. There are other things that I use such as post-it notes and index cards, but I thought I’d just cover the essentials (mainly because I need to stock up on the other things)! I hope you enjoyed reading 🙂

//Tips for starting Sixth Form//

Hello! As you probably know by now, I’m studying A Levels here in the UK at a sixth form college. This September I’ll be going into year 13 (eek!) so as I’ve been learning in a sixth form environment for a year now I thought I’d share some advice and tips with you for any of you who will be going into year 12 this September, or in years to come!

Before I start, I have written some posts giving advice about sixth for before, so if you would like some tips on how to manage your work load and revise for exams or want to read about my experience of year 12, then you may want to check out the linked posts as well!

As I do tend to rant quite a lot about A Levels on here, I’m going to be talking more about Sixth Form itself today, because the prospect of starting year 12 at a college or sixth form that isn’t joined to your secondary school can be quite daunting!

Try to relax – everyone is friendly!

know this is much easier said than done, but honestly I was so nervous about starting sixth form that it took me a while to settle in and I didn’t take advantage of the first few weeks as much as I should have done in terms of making new friends. Of course you’re bound to be a little nervous, but it’s important to remember that everyone else is in the same boat. If you’re lucky enough to have friends from secondary school at your sixth form/college, then that’s great – they’ll already make you feel a bit more comfortable, but if not, you definitely won’t be the only person who doesn’t know anyone. It may be hard to believe but people at college are a lot more friendly. For my first week – induction week – I literally didn’t know anyone in my group, and it was scary at first as I was the first to arrive in my allocated classroom for that week, but as soon as more people started to arrive I wasn’t the only one who was on my own and a group of friendly girls sat with me and we hung around with each other for the first week, which really helped! So I would say don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people and try not to let your nerves get the better of you!

Teachers aren’t always intimidating!

When I first started year 12, I did find most of my teachers quite intimidating, purely because I didn’t know them as my college isn’t joined to my old secondary school and the way that A Levels are taught was new to me, so at first it was a little overwhelming when they kept using complicated language that I didn’t understand and it felt like they had high expectations of us already. But really your teachers are there to help you, so if you’re stuck ask! Now I’ve got to know them better, my A Levels teachers are some of the best teachers I’ve ever had and you can have a lot more relaxed relationship with them than at school. Whatever you’re stuck with, they’re always there to help, not to mention they have an incredible knowledge of their subjects!

Enjoy the freedoms of being a Sixth Former

Something important to remember is that as a Sixth Former, you typically will have more freedoms than you had at secondary school. For example wearing your own clothes instead of a uniform and having free periods. I think sometimes this is what makes the whole sixth form experience more enjoyable as you have more freedom to express yourself and more responsibilities. It really helps you to mature and learn to manage your time better as well once you have to decide what the best use of your free periods are.

Try to buy your text books early on up

It’s best to try and get all of your required text books early on in September as otherwise there may be a sudden rush as every A Level student in the country tries to get their hands on the same books, so you have to wait for more copies to be printed (*cough cough* AQA French). Bear in mind that they are expensive though so maybe have some money saved if you can. If you can’t get your hands on the text books however, you could take them out from your sixth form library in the meantime as you don’ want to get behind in your learning.

Sixth form can be expensive

This kind of links in to the previous point, but as well as the cost of text books, there can be other significant costs that you’ll have to pay out when starting and during sixth form. To give you an idea, when I started last year I had to pay out around £120 on my textbooks (for three subjects) alongside £70 for a bus pass for the autumn term (as my nearest college is about an hour away). On top of that, I had to buy lots of stationary that I hadn’t previously needed at school such as ring binder folders, plastic wallets, tonnes of paper and refill pads, folder dividers, French dictionaries ect. and although I can’t remember exactly how much I spent on it all as I didn’t buy it all at once, it was probably around £50-worth of stationary. The good thing is that most of your stationary you can reuse for the next year of sixth form. As well as buyg the basics you need to do your course, there’s also the added cost of clothes to think about as if you go to a sixth form that doesn’t have a uniform like me, then you may find that you don’t have enough clothes to wear everyday or that your clothes (and shoes for that matter) wear out quickly. 

Now I’m not trying to put you off by outlining the costs, but it’s important to be aware of them so you can put some money aside and make sure you have everything you need for sixth form. However, it is worth investigating if your college offers bursaries for low-income families and to see if you are eligible. This has been very helpful for me as it means I get some money each term from the college to cover the cost of books and stationary, as well as them paying for my spring and summer term bus passes. They also paid for half of my trip to Marseille with college which I am so grateful for as although it wasn’t extremely expensive, it definitely helped my parents out to not have to pay for the whole trip. So bursaries are definitely something you should look into if you think you may struggle with the costs of college but as I mentioned before, teachers are friendly so if you are having any financial problems throughout the year, you should definitely seek advice from them and they may be able to help you by loaning you a text book until you can pay for it for example.

Look after yourself

My last tip would be to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too, as well as all your academic needs. Starting college or sixth form can be quite an upheaval and although you may think you’ll be able to cope as you’re older than when you started secondary school, sometimes the stress can affect you in different ways. So of course make sure you’re working hard and meeting deadlines, but don’t forget to schedule in times to meet up with friends or relax at home with a book, because everyone needs a break sometimes and you’ll be able to focus much better because of it!

Well, that’s all my tips for today, all that’s left to say is good luck to anyone starting sixth form and everyone else who’s heading back to school in the next few weeks! If you have any questions about sixth form, then I’m happy to answer them as always. 🙂

//Reviewing My Summer Study Goals//

In hindsight, I probably should have written about my goals at the beginning of summer AND THEN written the review…but hey this is me we’re talking about and I’m not that organised, especially when it comes to blogging.

Anyway, a couple of weeks before the summer holidays, I started to make a list of things I needed to do over the summer for my A Levels, and now it’s nearing the end of the summer (two weeks left for me!!), I thought I’d write up the review and see how many of my goals I actually completed, and which ones I’m going to have to cram into the last few weeks.

This post is scheduled as I’m currently away in Yorkshire for the week, so hopefully whilst I’m away I’ll be cracking on with some of these goals still!

History

Despite not having a teacher for 1/3 of the year, I was surprisingly not too behind on history, as I’d managed to catch up in time for exams, so I didn’t have too much of the first year of A Levels to do over the summer.

Make a keyword glossary – I actually did this fairly early on in the summer. it didn’t take long but I wanted to make sure I had it ready for next year as during GCSEs I found glossaries really helpful for revising history.

Organise history folder with sticky flags – again this didn’t take long – I also transferred my notes into lever arch files.

Write up Holocaust notes – the Holocaust isn’t an examined module in the history spec I’m doing, but this year we’ll have to write a 4,000 word piece of coursework on it, so we spent the last few weeks of term brushing up on our Holocaust knowledge, during which I took notes which consequently needed to be rewritten.

Holocaust reading list – well, let’s face it I was never going to read all 12 of the 400-1200 page books on the reading list for the coursework, but I have started to read Hitler, The Germans and The Final Solution by Ian Kershaw, which will give me views from one historian to cite in my coursework, so that’s something. I chose this book mainly because it’s the shortest on the list at 400 pages and it’s divided into three sections, only one of which is relevant so I don’t actually have tonnes to read!

Gegoraphy

Geography is one of those subjects where there is always work you need to do and copious amounts of course content that’s impossible to teach in the the timescale given, so it’s fair to say I had a lot to catch up on (along with needing to re-discover my love for the subject because I’m fighting the urge to drop it – even though I can’t realistically as I wouldn’t be able to get into uni with two A levels). As with history, I’d managed to make my way through the two text books (well, skim-reading the second one) before exams, so I’d got those out of the way, but there was other stuff I needed to catch up on, as well as making a start on my fieldwork.

Catch up on first year online resources – hahaha yeah I’ve kind of decided to abandon this one. My theory is if I could get my target grade in the end of year exams without trawling through the pages of “extra knowledge” that my teacher has put together for us, I don’t really need it. I mean, it would probably would be helpful, but it’s just so time consuming and I can’t find the motivation for geography at the moment. besides, I would only be giving myself even more content to revise for next years exams, when I’ve already got 4 textbooks to revise from as well as an A Level maths workbook.

Go through geography maths – as mentioned above, the new A Level geography has a maths element requiring you to be able to use some of the skills taught in A Levels maths, and because we had to TEACH OURSELVES the maths last year, I had intentions of going through it this summer to make sure I understand it. But, I just can’t bring myself to do it. My GCSE maths skills a fading away quicker than you can say pythagoras and every time I try to tackle the maths I get frustrated because I just don’t understand it, or why we’re being examined on it. I mean, I may try to do it before the end of sumer – I hope I do – but for now it’s just one of those things I’m hoping will magically disappear if I ignore it for long enough.

Background reading and introduction chapter for fieldwork – I think this is my only “homework” I’ve been set for the summer from geography, and I have started it but it’s just so time consuming! I’ve probably spent around 6-8 hours working on it already, after trying to make sense of the 50 billion  different ways the resources our teacher gave us think is “the best way” to structure the coursework. I mean, honestly geography, where is your consistency?? I haven’t done much in the way of reading, because there isn’t much to read up on my location of study because it’s so small and insignificant, and also the reading is only used to back up knowledge in the introduction, but because I don’t know how to write the introduction, I don’t know what to read up on. In fact, I did write a draft introduction that was reasonably presentable, but then I decided to completely change my fieldwork hypothesis because I wasn’t happy with the one I chose at first. So I’ve had to start writing it again, and honestly there is only so long you can go on writing about how pebbles are deposited on beaches and how the depth of the seabed affects the energy of waves breaking on the shore. I’m going to have to finish this by September though so I’ll definitely be working more on this in the coming weeks.

Collect more fieldwork data – finally a geography thing that I have actually (somewhat) done!! I spent two days at the beaches I’m researching collecting data – and enough of it to be able to calculate statistically accurate averages (which included measuring the length, width and depth of over 100 pebbles). The only thing I need to do, is to finish shading a field sketch, so I’m going to class this as complete because that won’t take me long.

French

As I talked about before, French is something I wanted to keep up over the summer so I didn’t forget it. Although I haven’t been speaking it as much as I’d have liked to, I did set myself goals for reading, writing and listening.

Think about French research project – you would have thought just thinking about something would be an easy goal to meet, and I have definitely thought about what I would like to do my research project on next year, but I would like to narrow it down to one idea by the end of summer. Basically, for next years speaking exam, one part consists of me giving a presentation (in French) on a topic I have researched and then having a discussion with the teacher for 10 minutes, so it needs to be a topic that is sort of controversial or something you can have opinions on. We will be starting the research in March, but my teacher advised to think about what topic we would like to do now so it’s easier when we get to researching it. So far I’ve come up with the ideas of researching the French occupation during WW2 (because that’s the topic of the French set text I’m currently reading and it’s quite interesting) or the role of minority languages in France (because I wrote in my personal statement that that’s what I’m interested in  – in all seriousness, we study le verlan and l’argot last year, which are forms of French slang, and it was really cool!).

Read Un Sac de Billes in French – I AM SO HAPPY I FINISHED THIS. It was such a long read, and although I enjoyed the book, I sort of lost motivation towards the end because reading in French can be exhausting and I just wanted to read YA fiction.

Read A Bag of Marbles in English – I have to read the set text (above) in English too to make sure I understand it, so I’m making steady progress through that.

Finish La Haine scrapbook – this took me almost a month but I got there in the end! Basically, we are studying this film in French and I decided to consolidate my notes into a scrapbook with drawings and everything so when it comes to revising next year, it’s a bit more fun.

Go through Year 1 grammar book – the first year of French A Level was very grammar-heavy, but we didn’t go through it in the same order as the book, so i basically read back through it and made sure I had notes on everything we were supposed to cover and ordered my little grammar flashcards in the right order.

Update French vocab book – something I did all year during French was write down new words I’d learnt in class in the margins of paper with the intention of writing them up into a little notebook that I bought specifically for this purpose, but I sort of gave up writing them in the notebook halfway through the year so I took some time to go back through my notes and do this.

Write up “y” and “en” rules – this is basically grammar rules we did in the last week of term, and as I went away to Marseille with college as soon as term was over, I didn’t stick to my usual habit of rewriting my notes a few days after the lesson.

Watch two French films – this was a task my teacher set us as homework, and I’m halfway there! I watched Sage Femme at the cinema with my friend, which was so exciting to see a French film surrounded my fellow French-learners, and I almost bought La Belle et La Bete (the original 1940-something version of Beauty and the Beast) from HMV last week but was talked out of it because I could get it cheaper online. So to complete this I’m either going to have to buy some French films online or hope that I can find one on freeview.

Read 2 French books – well, I read Un Sac de Billes which counts as one, and technically I haven’t read a second (I bought Le Soleil Est Pour Toi – the French version of I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson whilst I was in Marseille, but I haven’t got round to reading it yet) but I have read a copy of Ca M’intéresse (please excuse my inconsistent use of accents) magazine which I also bought in France, so I’m going to count that. AHHH HANG ON I’VE JUST REMEMBERED – I also read Le Petit Prince which is a really cute French children’s book too (it was so short I forgot about it lol).

Make a travel scrapbook of the Marseille trip – because I don’t go abroad often, I like to make scrapbooks of the trips to consolidate all my memories, photos and other little bits and bobs I picked up during my travels. It’s also relaxing as I like doing arty stuff to de-stress. I’ve started the scrapbook and done a bout three or four pages, I just need to motivate myself to do some more haha.

General goals

Personal statement first draft – ahhh personal statements, my (and every other 6th formers) arch enemy. Basically, it’s an essay-like piece of writing you have to write to accompany your university application, explaining why you are interested in your chosen course, what skills you have gained from A Levels ad what you will gain from the course, as well as relevant extra curricular things you’ve done and your aims for the future. The tough bit is trying to fit that all into the 4000 character limit. But!! After literally hours of writing, redrafting, and editing, I think I finally have a copy I am ready to hand in to my teachers in September, so they can give me feedback. Not going to like I am a bit nervous to let them read into my thoughts and hopes for the future (mainly because I want to go into teaching but don’t want to admit it to my teachers because I don’t think they’d believe I could do it) but it has to be done I guess. I just have to change one smallllllll thing – he course title I refer to within my personal statement. It’s a bit difficult though because you have to make it clear which course you want to study, but I’m applying for two different courses – French and Politics and European and International Studies. Whilst they are essentially the same course, I don’t want to keep using the terms “French and politics” and put off the admissions staff of the other course (which happens to be my preferred university), but it shouldn’t take too long hopefully! Otherwise I’ll just ask my tutor what I should do when college starts again, but overall my statement is basically finished (for the purpose of the post).

Make a revision time capsule for next year – I did this fairly early on in the summer and I’m hopefully going to do a separate post on this soon! Basically, because A Levels are now linear, next summer I’ll have to take exams on last years content as well as this year to come, so I decided to make some really good quality revision notes for all my subjects and put them in a sort of “time capsule” which I will then “open up” next year and use to revise from.

Okay! So, overall I’ve completed a grand total of 12 goals, am halfway through 6 and haven’t started 2. I think we could all tell by the end of that that me and geography aren’t really “friends” at the moment haha. Anyway, thank you for reading, I’m sorry this turned into basically a massive rant about A Levels, but it does make me feel better knowing that I’ve completed over half of my goals this summer and will hopefully have done more by the time I go back to college.

Did you set yourself any goals for this summer? How are you getting on with them? 

 

//DIYs to help you stay organised//

Hello! Recently I’ve been loving doing crafty stuff, and have turned my hand to making some bits and bobs that help to keep my room organised and to keep ME organised when school arrives in the next few weeks.

I always like to try to keep my room tidy, but over the past few months the amount of clutter has been growing and growing, so I decided it was time to have a bit of a tidy up because having an organised room will (hopefully) encourage me to be more organised and relaxed instead of despairing everything I walk into my messy room.

So as well as making some school-related DIYs to add to my room, I’ve also made some things that help to tidy up the clutter.

Monthly calendars

A while ago Janet wrote about how she stays organised at university and advised the use of calendars, and as I usually just rely on a small pocket-sized diary to scribble down deadlines and other notes, I thought I’d give it a go. As I didn’t want to go out and but a calendar (and i would only be able to use it until the end of December before buying a new one) I decided to make my own monthly calendar printouts. There are loads available for free on line, but I just simply opened up Microsoft word and made my own.

As don’t have a notice board, I often use my wardrobe as a place to display things, so it was the perfect place to put them. Monthly calendars are so useful as you can write all your deadlines on there and it’s very easy to see when you have important dates coming up, even if they are a few months away, so you don’t end up procrastinating and leaving them until the last minute (in theory). I’ve decided to display four months at a time, as the acedemic year can be divided into three “chunks”: September-December, January-April and May-July (and also it just looks nice with four), but you can display however many you want at one time. The good thing about having calendars in your room is that when you wake up and go to bed, you’ll be able to check all your deadlines and stay up to date, so there’s less chance you’ll forget something important.

(If you would like a copy of the monthly printouts I made, comment your email down below and I’ll send them over!)

Memos

As I mentioned before, memos are a great way to stay organised. They don’t take up much space and are always handy for more taking and to-do lists. Last year I didn’t have lessons on Wednesday and Friday, so I used to stay at home and study and the one thing I could have done with is some memos to write up my to-do lists for the day. Although you can buy some really cute memos and sticky notes, I decided to reuse an old notebook by ripping out all the unused pages and cutting them down into quarters. I then fastened them with a bulldug clip to hold them together. It’s so easy to do and it’s great to reuse old stationary, plus you don’t feel guilty about getting rid of them after you’ve used them!

Earring box

This is less directly related to school, but it’s still a great way to stay organised! I don’t know about you but one thing that used to stress me out was having loads of packets of earrings and no way to store them – I literally just had a draw full of them and it was such a mess. However, yesterday I cleared out a load of of earrings and made this little box for the ones I am keeping. It was very easy to make – I just used one of the many jewellery boxes I had that had one set of earrings in (such a massive box, can you believe it) and rolled up some face wipes I’d had for ages that had dried up to create the ridges, then poked the earrings in between. It’s so much neater having them all in one box, and I think it looks really cute too.

Storage pots

This is probably the simplest DIY ever. Whilst clearing out my room, I came across two small round pots that had gems in (first picture) that you’re supposed to stick on your nails. Although I didn’t want the gems any more, the pots were too cute to throw away so I’ve repurposed them and they’re the perfect size to store spare earring backs in (because they always come in handy!).
The second picture shows a bigger plastic pot which used to be a box for cake cases. Before I found this my bobby pins and hair bands were all jumbled up in a draw and it was such a pain to find what I wanted, so I found this little pot and am using it to store them in, which is so much neater!
So, that concludes the DIYs I’ve made recently! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and if you have any DIYs to recommend, please do so in the comments – I love making new things!

(Also it’s almost autumn and I’m sooo excited, it’s by far my favourite season! I was thinking about doing some sort of back to school posts about advice for starting sixth form and maybe a what I wear to sixth form fashion post, so if you’d be interested then please let me know! (I’ll probably end up doing them anyway haha). Also I’m always open for collabs/guest posts – I feel like I don’t say that enough, so if you would be interested get in touch).

//It’s November!!!//

Hey guys! I know I haven’t been blogging regularly for the past few months so I thought I’d just take some time to fill you in on what I’ve been up to (sounds so exciting…it’s really not lol) and what my plans for November are. 🙂

Okay, so, September and October have been very busy months for me, what with starting college and a-levels so I’ll just run you through what’s I’ve done over the past few months.

  • Started college – as I mentioned, I’ve just finished my first term and college and it has gone SO quickly. It took a while for me to get used to getting the bus everyday, going to a new place, meeting new people and being in a different environment but now I have got used to it, it’s great! I still dread going to college every Monday but that’s just because I know I’ll have a long day ahead of me and will have to work really hard to keep up (having to wake up at 6:30 am probably doesn’t help). Once I’m actually at college though, it’s not so bad. I enjoy my lessons and although I don’t get on with everyone in my classes, I have made a couple of new friends so that’s better than I expected. I could never go back to school though. Everything at college is just so…relaxed?? Idk I mean the workload is way more stressful than at school and you are expected to do everything yourself, but it is kind of nice to have more responsibility and not have to wear a school uniform.
  • School awards evening – at the beginning of October I went to a fancy awards evening for my secondary school where I received an award for academic excellence. The actual evening was okay, although I didn’t manage to speak to many of my old teachers but that doesn’t bother me too much.
  • Started drinking hot drinks (more regularly) – I’ve never really liked hot drinks, not even hot chocolate, mainly because I don’t like milk. Recently though I’ve been trying to get into drinking hot drinks more and just trying a wider variety to try to find something that I like. I went to a coffee shop with my grandma over the summer and tried a latte for the first time but I think it’s safe to say I’m just not a coffee person (it’s way too bitter). In September (I think??) before my sister went off to uni, she decided to have a hot chocolate after we came home from an evening walk so I tried one too and somewhat liked it?? Then I tried tea recently but wasn’t too keen on that, it wasn’t sweet enough, so I bought some lemon and ginger tea and I *think* I like that (I’ve only tried it twice though). Then a few weekends ago I went to a cafe with my family and had a lovely hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows which was nice. SO yeah, dunno why you’d want to hear about my adventures in trying hot drinks but there we go!
  • Tests – I’ve had end of term tests in all of my subjects now and they didn’t go too badly (I hope). I haven’t got all the results back yet but I should do by the end of this week EEEEKkk.
  • Half term! – then last week was half term meaning I had a week off of college to catch up on all the work I’d been too lazy to do during term time  relax. I managed to be a lot more social (??) than usual; I had a board games + pizza + mini-rave thing (?????) evening at a friends house on the Monday, then on the Tuesday I went to Laser Quest with a different group of friends (let’s not mention how awful me and my friend were in the pairs game) and then on the Wednesday I went to another friends house with the same group of friends as on the Monday for an Indian takeaway + movie + board games night (we just like board game k…and food lol).
  • Read The Girl On The Train – I don’t often tell you guys what I’m reading but yeah over the past few weeks I read The Girl On The Train which was v v good but also v tense and creepy at times. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to read it because, not going to lie, the ~mystery~ aspect of the book was scaring me a little and making me anxious as to what would happen but I’m glad I managed to plough through it!
  • Got Fantastic Beasts tickets!!!!!!!!!! – I AM SO EXCITED I CAN’T WAIT, 16 DAYSSSS AHHHHHHHHHH. SO yeah me and my friend decided we want to go and see the midnight screening of Fantastic Beast and Where To Find them IN 3D (can you imagine Eddie Redmayne’s face in 3d ahhhhh).

So basically what I’ve been up to over the past few months!!

November is already looking like it’s going to be a busy month too but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless! Here’s what I’m hoping to get up to (in case I end up hibernating and don’t write another post for ages):

  • NaNoWriMo – I like, last minute decided I wanted to do NaNo again this year. I haven’t even got a proper plan, I’m just sort of making my novel up as I go along. I don’t think I’m going to be able to reach 50k, although I will try my best! Last year I managed to write 43,000 words so I didn’t ‘win’ NaNo. If I can’t get to 50k this, year I’m going to keep trying until I can finish it. I was so close last year, which was annoying, but towards the end of November I went to a concert which meant getting in the car straight after school to get to said concert then coming back after midnight, sleeping mot of the next day (which happened to be my birthday) and that left me about 2 days to try to write 7000 words (which was never going to happen let’s be honest). If you’re also doing NaNo, let me know and we can add eachother as writing buddies 🙂
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS – as mentioned above, I am going to see Fantastic Beasts on 18/11.
  • My birthday – I turn 17 in a few weeks eeeeeeeek.
  • Carry on drowning in a-level work (nothing more needs to be said).
  • Do some exploring??? – I’m not sure WHERE exactly, but since I only go to college 3 days a week, I have two ‘days off’ (I end up working from 10am-5pm anyway – THERE IS NO BREAK FROM A-LEVEL WORK) where my bus pass is still valid. I can actually travel quite far with my bus pass – all around my county and into the bordering counties – so at some point I want to make the most of that and just go somewhere new for the day. The only problem is, none of my friends have their ‘days off’ on the same day as me so I’d have to go exploring by myself *cries*. I was thinking of going out today actually, but I had lots of work to do and I want to make sure I can keep on track for NaNo as much as possible.
  • Remembrance Day Parade – for the past 8 years, I’ve been part of my town’s Remembrance Day Parade on Remembrance Sunday. However, since I’ve now left Scouts, I can no longer take part. I’m actually quite excited to not take part though, because that means I get to watch the parade go by and see the service in the park from a different perspective.

I think that’s about it for this month, but I may end up doing more (or less) exciting things.

What are you looking forward to this month? What have you been up to over the past few months? I’d love to know! I miss talking to you guys and reading your blogs. Hope you’re all okay! 🙂

Update: After writing this I went for a walk and took some pictures of the sunset!

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//Teenagers CAN be trusted to make decisions//

Something that I’ve noticed during my teenage years is that a lot of adults tend to doubt our abilities of making sensible decisions for our future. I have been in many situations where I’ve been told that I ‘don’t know what I’m doing’ in certain situations so therefore am not capable of making the right decision or where it is assumed that because I am young I ‘don’t know what I want’ in life yet. I’ve mainly encountered stuff like this at school such as, for example, we had to choose which subjects to take for GCSE and teachers kept getting involved and trying to persuade you take certain subjects and to not take others, depending on what they think is best for you. I had my mind set on taking Triple Science, History, Geography and French but on multiple occasions my friends and teachers were trying to get me take Art. In the end I stuck with my original choices but I soon came to realise that I didn’t like science at all and wished I’d taken art instead. My point is, back then I was only 12 so was very confused about EVERYTHING and my teachers were trying to push me in the direction of science because I was good at it. If they’d just let me, and the rest of my year group, make up our own minds about which subjects we wanted to do for GCSE instead of ‘targeting’ people who were good at certain subjects then I might of ended up not taking Triple Science and doing something like German or Sociology which would have interested me more.

When I reached Year 10 and the time came to start thinking about what we’d do after we’d finished school, we were bombarded with information about all of the local colleges and sixth forms and had various assemblies where representatives from each visited and basically advertised their facilities to us and seemed so determined to get us to go to there college that we left with the impression that unless we went to college xyz we would all do badly and end up with bad jobs. That probably doesn’t make much sense but that’s what it felt like. They were so focused on reminding us to ‘make the right decision’ and stating that their college is ‘best for you’ that a lot of people, my friends included, were torn between various colleges which all promised to be the best place for them. My friend had her heart set on a newly-built STEM college but when she visited for the taster day, it was nothing like it had been advertised to us and she decided to go to a different college. I was kind of the opposite – before going to the taster day for the college I’ve just enrolled in, I really didn’t like the sound of it at all but because it was the only college that did the A Levels I wanted to do, I went to the taster day anyway and ended up really liking it. It’s just frustrating how the various educational establishments were desperate to ensure we made the right decisions that we weren’t allowed to form our own opinions of the places because they didn’t trust us to make such decisions by ourselves.

Another example of when I’ve been considered ‘incapable’ of making important decisions about my future occurred today, as a matter of fact, when I went to enroll in college. For ages my school had told us that we ‘must take 4 A Level course at college’ so I’d decided I wanted to study Geography, History, French and Law. Then when I went to the taster day for college back in July, we were told that we ‘can’t take 4 A Levels’ because it would be ‘too demanding’ with the new linear system, which is fair enough and I wasn’t overly bothered about that because I’d gone off the idea of studying law anyway so decided to just do Geography, French and History. Fast forward a month to yesterday when I got my GCSE results and got way better grades than I’d expected and I still had my mind made up on these three A Levels, despite my teacher trying to persuade me to take A2 Government and Politics as I’d taken the first year of the course this year and got an A. She seemed a bit disappointed when I told her what A Levels I’d be studying at college because she thought I’d do really well if I’d carried on with Government and Politics and it would be good for me (I do kind of want to carry on with this subject because I really enjoyed it but unfortunately the qualification I did was a different exam board to the one the college does and it would be quite complicated to sort out).

Anyway, when I went to college to enroll this morning, first I had to show my GCSE results that I collected yesterday to a member of staff, who happened to be the maths teacher. Firstly, he congratulated me on my results then he asked me which A Levels I wanted to take, to which I answered French, Geography and History. Then after that he looked really annoyed and started going on about how there was a ‘problem’ because I’m apparently wasting my academic ability by not doing four A Levels and that I’d do ‘much better if I did four’ because it would ‘motivate me to work hard’. He asked me why I decided to only take three A Levels and I said it was because I wanted to focus on these three subjects to do as best as I can and that there wasn’t really a fourth I was interested in. He thought that was ‘ridiculous’ and started suggesting a fourth A Level I could take such as English Literature or Maths. I was determined to stand my ground because after all he had literally only just met me and he can’t claim to know what’s ‘best’ for me just by looking at my exam results because no one can be defined by their grades. Yet still he couldn’t accept that I’d thought through all the possibilities and had made up my own mind about what subjects I wanted to take according to what I thought was the right decision to help me get to where I want to be in the future. Eventually he let me go and carry on with my enrollment after bringing a few other members of staff into the conversation and saying ‘you’ll find that you’ll regret not taking four A Levels in a few weeks time when you start college’. I had a massive rant to my friend over texts after this as I had to wait for 45 minutes to submit my bursary application and she reassured me that I’d done the right thing in standing my ground.

That whole experience was enough to put me off enrolling in college all together but luckily the rest of the staff were much more welcoming and understanding. After I’d escaped the wrath of the maths teacher, one member of staff even said to me that she ‘doesn’t blame me for not wanting to do four A Levels’ – THANK YOU.

That just proves that some adults don’t trust teenagers to make the right decisions for our futures because they are ‘older and wiser’ so apparently know what’s best for everyone at first sight. I’m confident that I made the right decision by sticking with just Geography, History and French though as I don’t see the point of taking an extra subject just for the sake of not ‘wasting’ my academic abilities. there wasn’t another subject I really wanted to take anyway and A Levels are hard enough as it is , whether you’re doing a subject you’re interested in or not. I didn’t want to have to spend time working on a subject I don’t really care about, especially not if that meant compromising the amount of time I’d be able to spend on the subjects that are important to me. I suspect this won’t be the end of this ‘problem’ though and that when I actually start college in a few weeks the maths teacher will hunt me down and continue his efforts but at least, for now, I’m doing what I want to be doing.

I just think that the older generation just need to have more faith in teenagers that we know what we are doing with our futures and accept that we’re fully responsible for the outcome. The same goes for giving teenagers responsibilities too. I think we just need to cut teenagers some slack, you know? We have enough to deal what with having to cope with transitioning from a child into an adult and working out where we fit in society without being constantly doubted on our own decisions.

Have you experienced anything similar? Do you think teenagers should be able to be trusted to make their own decisions more freely? Let me know!