Imagine this: I’m the general of an army. (Stop laughing; I know it’s funny). My army is comprised of all of the strategies, tips, revision notes and motivation that I have. My enemy? A-Levels, that I’ll be fighting – I mean taking – in a year and a half.
Right now, I’m trying to deal with the baby version, the battle before the real one; it’s the one that’s so difficult but afterwards, an even worse foe comes along and goes “HA, you thought that was bad? Good luck!” And no, I’m not having a nervous breakdown just thinking about it. Where would you get that impression from?
Today, I had a panicky moment in terms of my work ethic and everything else. We had a double feature lecture, in which we were talked to about how to deal with revision, and how to get on top of things before our exams. Because of that, and because I realised that I haven’t been doing enough, I’ve compiled a little list of what I’m going to do. This time, I’ll stick to it.
1. Make better notes
I consider my notes to be rather bad, in that I write in full sentences and put so much detail in them that whenever I look back at it, I feel overwhelmed. This rigorous screaming of everything onto a page got me through GCSE, but because of the amount of work and the level of it, I need concise things to work from. Upon realising that all the notes I’ve made were in my usual style – writing everything and then feeling sick whenever I thought about it – I blinked, froze, and shouted: “NO, why did I do that?” Maybe my notes are alright, but they’re not alright for me.
2. Read over said notes and actually understand them
When I get home from school, I’m usually either too tired or too dispondent to read over what I wrote in lessons. That’s partly because I get exhausted when thinking of my notes, but also because I lack the drive to bother. That is bad, because if I want the information to be absorbed into my brain, I have to properly make the effort to learn it. Reading over them isn’t enough: I also have to fully understand the concepts, such as political policies of Bismarck, or why Anne Sexton used a specific technique in her poem.
3. Do productive work outside of lessons
We were asked in an assembly a few weeks ago: “Do you do proactive work or retroactive work?” The former being work that the teacher hasn’t set, and the latter just doing what’s asked of you by the teacher. I do the former, but not enough, and it irritates me. I need to really start doing extra work for french especially, and further reading for history and english, as well as everything else. It feels too much now, but if I take it a little at a time, I can manage; we’re told to do so much already, but doing more will enhance my understanding of the subjects I’m doing.
4. Actually talk to teachers
Since I started secondary school, I’ve had a few issues with asking for help: I think that I’m wasting their time, that if I tried harder I’d understand it, or that they’d think I was stupid. It’s resulted in a lot of tears on my end, and frustration on my teachers’ end, and it’s only recently that I’ve felt comfortable enough to voluntarily approach my teacher. All of them are lovely people and understand how hard A-Levels are, so if I talk to them more, I’ll feel more at ease and better about the work, rather than drowning in a sea of crappy worries. They’re not terrifying, though some I prefer to others, but still: they can help and I should remember that.
5. Don’t over-work
As soon as I wrote this down, I burst out laughing because I’m the queen of over-stressing and never giving myself time to relax. I’m still working on that, rather unsuccessfully, but here are some things that may make me more calm:
1. Seeing friends at weekends
2. Going out for walks
3. Increasing my independence – going on trains, cooking, walking around by myself – all of which are more difficult because I’m blind and never did those things in the past
4. Take BREAKS from revision and working
That will help me, because life isn’t all about constant schoolwork.
Hopefully, these will get me through AS Levels, and A-Levels too. If I can keep to these, I won’t be crying constantly from stress like at GCSE, and I’ll be more motivated. By doing all of this, I can feel more organised, get more motivated and do more work.
It’s simple, or it should be. From now onwards, I’ll be better about taking the initiative in studying.
I can do this. I hope that getting a handle on school will help me to cope with my terrible feelings right now, and the inadequacy I almost always feel. If I can prove to myself I’m good enough in this, I can prove to myself that I’m good enough in anything.
From Elm 🙂