Weird Things We’ve Always Wanted to Do | Collab with Ana Regina!

HELLOOO!!!

I hope everyone’s doing well. I’m doing fantastically because this post is a collaboration with Ana Regina from Diversion3000! (I AM SO HAPPY ASDGHFJKL) If you know anything about her legendary self, you’ll understand why I haven’t been able to stop screaming since we made plans to collab.

We chose to write about some weird things we’ve always wanted to do. Whilst sharing our ideas, we found out we had a fair few in common. Half of them will be on this post and half will be appearing on her blog so make sure you check that out!

It’s been an absolute dream to work with Ana because she’s one of my favourite people. However, before I bore you with more rambling, here are our weird things!


Elm: Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to go into space. I’ve always been fascinated by it – the moon, the stars, other planets – and I get excited whenever something new is discovered. Unfortunately, I actually think I’m too short. I can dream, though.

Ana: I’ve always wanted to have twin kids, a boy and a girl. I’ve always had this thing where I wanted to know what it feels to have a girl, but also a boy, and I didn’t want any to be older than the other, so yeah, I wanted them to be the same age!

Elm: I’ve always wanted to time travel. Of course, you have the huge problem of screwing up the entire universe by making one mistake but wouldn’t it be amazing to truly see how people in Tudor times lived, or how the Anglo-Saxons spoke? Again, I wish this was feasible but sadly, I have dreams that don’t come true a lot.

Ana: I’ve always wanted to have magic powers. Like Elsa making snow, or Matilda making things move! Or read people’s minds. Since I started junior high I didn’t feel that way anymore, but now, coming back to thinking of it, I’d love to have powers! Playing games on people I hate would be SO COOL!!!

Elm: I’ve also always wanted to organise a blogger meet-up. This is one that might actually happen – who knows? Just having loads of us who make up this little section of the community together in one place would be fantastic. If I get my act together enough, I may be able to sort something, with about 10000 other people helping me.

Ana: Since I was a child, I’ve always felt like one day I’d be on a Disney Channel show and be one of the main characters. When I was a kid, I felt like the actors were part of my family, cause I watched it everyday I guess. And it also seemed really cool. I don’t know, I wanted to be a part of kids’ lives as these people were to me.


There you have it! Have any of you guys wanted to do these things too? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much to Ana for collaborating with me! It was amazing!!! Don’t forget to check out her post (and her blog, if you haven’t already!). She’s one of the best bloggers out there and always writes hilarious and thought-provoking posts.

Love from Elm 🙂

My Thoughts on the Education System | Collab with Debbie!

Along with many other people in the UK, I’m very lucky to have a good education. However, there are still a lot of problems with the education system that those who don’t experience are quick to dismiss. In a collab with Debbie – you can read her post on her blog – we’re going to write about the issues that are closest to us.

For me, the transition from GCSEs to A-Levels was particularly difficult, an opinion shared with a lot of people in my year and the year below. With the transfer from “less challenging” GCSEs to “more challenging” A-Levels, most teachers and students alike were struggling. We had no idea what was really expected of us as in many subjects, there were either very few or no past papers at all. Those who took GCSEs recently or are going to take them soon will have had a similar problem. We were told to learn independently, to “go beyond” the subject but GCSEs, or pre-GCSEs, hadn’t shown us how to do that. It felt like we were jumping in at the deep end of a swimming pool with no markings as to how deep it was. There’s this idea that figuring out your own independent learning style is all part of the process of learning but we were expected to do that, not having done that before; we were expected to learn so much content, apply it in ways we’d never done before, all whilst battling our own anxieties and personal pressures. If we couldn’t keep up; if we learned in a different way or if our concepts of success didn’t match up to the exam board’s or government’s or the vague “threat” of universities or employers, it felt like a failure.

It’s not all to do with the last 4-5 years of schooling, in that expectations of “how we should learn” go right back to the start. We’re told what books would best suit us – you can read more about that in this post by Izzy – given “advice” on careers based on predicted grades and behaviour, and examined from such a young age that the constant banner of success is waved over people’s heads and those who don’t achieve that are automatically labelled by teachers and others as not being “academic”, when academia isn’t the only way that someone can live a life which makes them happy. I’m making massive generalisations here but often, the way in which we learn is subject to these same generalisations. People are crammed into smaller boxes of 1-9 or A-G, into “smart” or “not smart”, into “likes to read so should be good at this” or “likes Maths so should go into this profession”. That’s not even touching on the idea of “one learning style fits all”, which restricts so many people.

Blaming “the school” as a whole would be counter-productive and wouldn’t solve any problems as a lot of the time, it’s a student’s willingness to learn – or lack of it – that stops people from learning. However, people are too quick to entirely blame students’ “laziness” for the difficulties that they face. How can it be an individual’s fault if they’re never given encouragement by teachers, never shown a way to learn that fits them and never shown that their aspirations don’t have to fall in line with the academic, English-Maths-Science expectations that are pushed so forcefully onto everyone so that they can “be successful?” With the new system of GCSEs and A-Levels, it’s even harder to achieve the top grades and so those who don’t work in the way the exam boards want are more likely to feel unhappy and so less likely to work as productively.

Most people work in different ways to each other. Some prefer group work and some prefer individual study; some need to revise in one session whereas others need to spread their revision out; some need support from teachers and their friends whereas others find that support within themselves or in other places. I don’t feel as if enough support or emphasis, on the whole, is given to those individual learning styles – it would be incredibly difficult to cater to everyone’s needs when in a large group of students but it’s too often assumed that everyone can work in exactly the same style. The good thing about A-Levels is that much more support is given by teachers as they have more time to do this but by the time A-Levels come around, it can be difficult for some people to know that they can get support if they haven’t had it before. In GCSEs and before that, those that received a lot of one-to-one or individualised support from teachers most often come from fee-paying schools. There are many exceptions but teachers in an average state school don’t usually have enough time to help the students that need it most.

With coursework disappearing and linear subjects being prioritised, there’s a huge importance given to exams. Yes, this system worked better for me in some ways but not in others and for a lot of people, examined subjects won’t be the best way to help them learn. SEN (Special Educational Needs) funding, which directly affects me and people I know, is being cut; resources aren’t being provided for SEN students in education but because of the constant pressure to get better grades, to improve your chances of getting into university, thoughts are being focused more on the students who attain more 9s or A*s. The problems with SEN deserve a whole other post and I’m not sure I’d even be the best person to write about them.

There are positives to the current education system, of course. More vocational courses are being offered at colleges; apprenticeships are being encouraged more widely and different learning styles are slowly being taken into account. Saying that, this is only the start and more needs to be done. Performing and visual arts subjects have been dropped from the curriculum of some schools which restricts those who are more creative from expressing themselves. People need to become more aware that not everything should be based on academic results and improvement of exam achievements doesn’t always mean improvement of people’s lives.

What do you think about the education system and how people learn? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to check out Debbie’s post! It was amazing to collab with her and to get my (complicated and somewhat ranty) thoughts out!

Love from Elm 🙂

Some Blogging Things

Hey everyone!

There are a few things which I want to update you on; I’ve been motivated this week and so have tried to get a lot of things done. Maybe it failed, maybe it succeeded but even so, it’s a step up from how I was before: I’m willing to properly put time and effort into my blog and to make it, again, a place for myself and others.

Last night, an article I wrote for Love From… magazine was published! It’s incredibly exciting for me as it’s the first time that this has happened and I loved to write it. It’s on disability and friendship – my experiences without me speaking for the entire disabled community. You can read it here. If you could tell me what you thought, it would mean a lot!

Over the next few months, I would love to collaborate with people – exams are coming up in May and once they’re done, I intend to really start working with others because I think that’s the best part of blogging. If you’re interested, email me or get in contact with me in any way listed on my contact page.

The final thing is that I’m going to be creating a page with questions and answers about my blindness. These will be the most common questions and will hopefully give you an idea of how I see, how it affects me and how I feel about it. Originally, I was never going to do this because I didn’t want my blog to be about my disability but I think it would be useful for you guys: remember it’s only about my blindness, meaning that other people will be totally different.

On the subject of that, if you’ve ever wanted to know anything about my disability, comment below or ask me privately; I’ll include as many common questions or questions I think are important on the page. Don’t be afraid to talk to me about it: I don’t get offended easily and I’m happy to help you understand anything you need to from my perspective.

Throughout this year, I’ve been neglecting my blog more than I’d like; I’ll freely admit it. The friends I’ve made here are the best friends I could ask for and I want to continue making them. Blogging’s not just a hobby for me any more: it’s turned into something that means more to me than I think anything ever has.

From Elm 🙂