It’s Results Day Tomorrow WHAT

In less than 24 hours, I will have got my results for A-Levels. The very thought of that makes me feel ill. Fuck, oh God, I’m getting my results tomorrow.

If you don’t live in the UK, A-Levels are exams you do at the end of year 13 – the last year of high school, 12th grade, your last finals if you will. They’re the culmination of 2 years of work, in 3-4 subjects. They determine what university you go to, if your placement is dependent on grades (a conditional offer). Because of the new system of education, most of our grade is down to 2-3 exams – only a few subjects had exams that counted for the final grade a year before.

I did 3 subjects – English Lit, History and Psychology. In a way, I’m lucky because I didn’t apply for university this year (I’m applying in my year out) but that just means that whatever grades I get, I’m stuck with. It was certainly less pressurised when I was doing the exams but now it’s approaching results, I’m feeling more than terrified.

Around three weeks before now, I started getting the obligatory Results Day nightmares. At first, it was fine: I dreamt that I got all B’s in my subjects, which would have been good. Then, it jumped to E’s: I remember in that dream, it felt so incredibly realistic; everyone was disappointed in me and I woke up crying. Next, it was that I’d got all G’s. You can’t actually get G’s in A-Level as far as I know, which just shows how much my fear of failure was manifesting itself. My final dream was a couple of days ago: I’d got A*’s in everything but English, in which I’d got a D. That was kind of a problem because I want to study English at uni. Honestly, at this point I don’t know what to expect. I have no idea if I did alright or terribly.

On GCSE Results Day, I was nervous. I felt really ill and couldn’t sleep as much the night before. However, I knew that it wouldn’t be too bad if I didn’t get the grades I wanted. I also knew that I’d done reasonably well because I was able to put my all into those exams. With A-Levels, I’m not so sure: it means more if I don’t do as well but I also don’t have the certainty that I will have done well, at all. In my exams, my mental health had deteriorated to such a point that I could barely function in the months leading up to it. I did my best, given the circumstances, but is my best good enough?

I don’t know. So many people have said that there’s ‘nothing I can do about it now’ but they’re mostly relatives or much older adults who haven’t gone through this new system. I’m just so afraid that I’ll be a failure – not really to others but mostly to myself. Oh well – I know I’m going to have to deal with the consequences regardless; it’s just the lead-up that makes me want to sob.

To everyone getting results tomorrow, good luck. We’re going to get through this and no matter what results we get, those letters won’t define us. I know it’s scary but in a day, it’ll be over and we can breathe.

If I can’t believe in myself, I can at least try to help others believe in themselves. We got through these 2 years in one piece and we’re nearly there. That counts for something and you should be proud.

Good luck, everyone. We can do this.

Love from Elm 🙂

How My Exams Went, According to Me – Part 2

After that cathartic and weirdly contemplative post I wrote yesterday, I had time to calm down and think. How did my exams really go? I wrote that they went from ” alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire” and whilst that may be true, I wanted to write about them in a more constructive way. So, for your viewing… Horror, here is how my exams went: Elm style.

Psychology, Paper 1

It’s your AS content, they said. It’d be easy, they said. (not really, I’m just trying to make people pity me.) Being my first exam, I naturally started to feel nervous as soon as I left the house; it only increased before I got to school. Before an exam, I do this thing where I frantically revise until literally no more information could go in. Content-wise, I didn’t really need to do that because excluding one other exam, this was the one I was most prepared for.

The exam itself would have gone okay. I had to draw a graph at one point; some of the applying questions were disgusting but I vaguely knew what I was doing. Except, oh dear, I missed out an entire 9 marks worth of questions. How???!!! How the hell did I do that? I wrote about that content in one of the essays! Was I just half asleep or something? I have no idea. When I got out of that exam, I began my yearly wail on Twitter and that was when I found out. Honestly, I still don’t think I’m over it. Apart from that, there weren’t any terrible mishaps (although now I say that, I bet I’ve done something really foolish).

History, Paper 1

In shock, I came out of that exam feeling okay. I hadn’t done anything that warranted a shouting tournament with myself on twitter and unlike last year, no one from my school had liked one of my “I’m going to fail this exam” Tweets. The questions were… Okay – at least the essays; I actually had content for them. The interpretations questions weren’t as good but I had wildly revised the exam technique before. It was bearable. “Two down,” I thought. “I can do this.”

English, Paper 1

This one certainly wasn’t awful: the question on Jane Eyre was wonderful and the Othello question made me nearly shriek with happiness in the exam. The unseen poetry was the worst simply because I misinterpreted it. Maybe they’ll give me marks for technique?? Ah shit. I don’t want to be quick to say it went ‘well’, because I did that last year and this was the exam that pushed my grade down. I emailed my english teacher, who has been a genuine role model for me, to let her know it hadn’t gone too badly. For this one, I’d prepared and the practice essays – sorry, the one essay I did, went as well as I wanted it to. All in all? Not awful.

Psychology, Paper 2

It was on Friday of the first week of exams that I realised I hated Maths, Graphs, pie charts and all research methods. I fucked up this paper. I’m almost completely blind so I get extra time for exams and this time, I used all of it. Part of it was because I was drawing a graph but most of it was because I was trying to hold back tears. It’s really hard to estimate values in a pie chart and to understand the worst diagram I’ve ever seen and my mind went blank. Despite revising the day before, I screwed up a question on content analysis; I just lost my thought processes completely. This wasn’t even the worst exam because there were moments where I felt confident, if you can call it that.

English, Paper 2

You know how I just said that Psychology Paper 2 wasn’t the worst one? That’s because by far, this one was. Having had the weekend to revise and calm down, I thought it’d be okay and I’d prepared even more for this one than I had for the other english. On the morning of the exam, my family and I had had a massive argument and though it didn’t affect my performance, it put me in a terrible mood which, after the exam, came back full force.

The Handmaid’s Tale question was honestly beautiful because I had done almost exactly that question in a revision session and so I felt confident with it. What was awful was unseen prose as I could barely structure my answer and because it was on the same theme, the Streetcar and poetry question; I’d never prepared ‘conflict’ as a theme properly before. I was so upset coming out of it because I’d spent so long doing prep for it and I panicked in the middle of it. Luckily, it didn’t screw up my confidence but it made me feel so shit about myself. There may be nothing I can do about it now but it doesn’t stop the disappointment from affecting me.

History, Paper 2

MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS CHARLES THE SECOND – and before you ask, yes, I had that song going through my head on repeat during the exam. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it because it’s amazing.

After the crap that was English, I set to work again. I’d spent so, so long preparing for this exam and it paid off, finally. Even if the source question was really difficult, the essays were good because our teacher had gone through almost identical ones in class before. At one point I really did shriek “YES!” when I saw the question that I’d been revising the night before. It made my confidence climb slowly back up.

Just as I was about to go home, my history teacher found me. When I told her about the questions, I’ve never seen anyone so happpy and so relieved that they were questions which people had prepared for. It was so odd to finally be done with those topics; I’d spent a long while understanding them, so much so that I missed thinking about them when I had to move onto the next exam.

Psychology, Paper 3

Oh, fucking hell. The night before this exam, I realised that I knew very little and that I was the least prepared for this exam out of all of them. In the middle of running over concepts, I started crying, the only thing stopping me from utterly losing control being the conversation I’d had with my friend Robin which reassured me on one topic. For the others, I was a mess and the crying quickly transformed from sobbing over this exam to sobbing over the fact that I’d been suppressing all my unhappiness, trying to be so stably-stable and it was all catching up with me.

Consequently, I got very little sleep and had to wake up at 6 the following morning. Once again, I was revising before the exam, my whole body shaking. However, the exam itself didn’t go as awfully as I thought. It was really upsetting but I got through it; I remember freaking out over more maths content but then feeling this triumphant happiness in my chest as I got to the last question.

When exams themselves were over, because I word process (type), I had to sign all the pages on one of the copies of the exam. I’d forgotten how exhausting writing could be; I honestly can’t stand it. Because I don’t write in ‘print’ normally (I write in braille), I have to individually think about the letters when I’m writing them. As soon as I wrote my last signature, I felt weird – relieved, but it was almost anticlimactic. I was done and well, that was that.

All in all, they didn’t go as badly as I expected. I’m just trying to forget them now, as much as I can. Maybe relaxing, writing and living is the key to doing that. I managed it, somehow.

If you’re still doing exams, whether that be GCSEs or A-Levels, there isn’t long to go. You can do this. You’ve got through the majority of your exams already and you should be proud of yourself for that. The exam mountain isn’t unscalable.

Good luck, everyone. How’re you feeling about exams?

From Elm 🙂

This Feels like Freedom

Today was my last A-Level exam.

Ever.

What the fuck???

After 7 exams and the most exhausting and draining two weeks of my life, I’m done. Should I say two years? 7 years? My time in “traditional” secondary education is over. 7 exams, 3 subjects, and it’s over. I don’t know how to process that.

Looking back on it, I worked myself to the ground and I only hope that it was worth it. The exams themselves ranged from reasonably alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire. I revised constantly – though I must say, it took me a while – and the only thing that existed for the last month, for me, was work and exams and not letting the crying that wanted to get out escape. It all feels strange now – so much of what I did was orientated around trying to keep afloat through it all. Until it was over. Now, it is.

I’m going to write an exam recap – in my typical, “WHAT WAS THIS HELP NO” fashion – and post it tomorrow. Until then, I don’t know what I’ll do. I feel cut loose, with strings of unfinished thoughts trailing behind me. I’m exhausted from a breakdown I had yesterday; I’m just tired in general. I’ve barely been getting sufficient sleep and at the worst points, I felt like I was going to scream unstoppably.

When my last exam ended – Psychology – I cried. I cried when I left the VI unit (place where I do my exams) and I cried whilst I waited to go home, when I was saying goodbye to the teachers who’d adapted my work for 7 years. I cried when I said goodbye to the taxi driver who’d driven me to school, every day, for the last 6 years, when he said I was like a second daughter to him. It was a day of tears that stung my eyes and near-tears that shimmered just behind them. All of this seems bland and blank: I want to have the presence of mind to describe my emotions but that’ll come with time.

Now, I feel listless. The purposeful drive will come tomorrow, when I decide I need to write and read, to sing and to reconcile with people who I’ve needed to gain closure from for years. I’ll get sudden bursts of inspiration; I’ll have a myriad of blogging ideas that clammer to be written. I’ll want to piece together my identity piece by piece. But for now? I don’t want to do any of that. I want to sleep, or feel these overwhelming feelings of complete sadness that have been overdue. Suppressing your mental health through exams is genuinely painful and I don’t know why I did it to such a horrible extent but it’s done now. All I can do is pick myself up after and not lose contact with the world around me whilst I’m doing that.

I’m so tired. I’ve said that already but it bears repeating. Who am I now that I’m not just trying to survive until the end of exams? Who am I now that I have feelings and confusion I can’t understand?

The only thing I regret right now is only being a shadow of myself when I spoke to, and met, some of the important people in my life. I’m afraid that they won’t recognise me now. Saying that, it’s not like I’ll have a personality turn-around, or that ending A-Levels suddenly makes me change. It’s just that I’ve repressed so much of myself to be able to cope that I don’t really know what to expect now. Does that make any sense?

A-Levels were awful; I can’t deny that. However, they did teach me things. I can work if I try and I can get through things, when at times I genuinely didn’t think I would. My mental health gets so bad at times that I feel as if everything’s hopeless and terrible; it only got worse with A-Levels. But I did it. I’m alive. I’m here. Is that enough to be proud of myself?

I’ve missed this blog, writing and feeling like I can truly call my work my own. Primarily, I want to get that back in the next few months. I’m out of the worst now, right?

This doesn’t feel quite like a victory. It feels more bittersweet but I’m celebrating, in my own way. An era of my life is over and I don’t know who I’ll become in the next one. Perhaps I’ll have a major crisis in my mind this summer; perhaps I won’t. I think that now everything is done, I need to start processing.

Maybe I’m on my way to okay, and then on the way to happy. I’ve got the entire summer to figure that out.

Have you had exams? If so, how have they gone?

Love from Elm 🙂

Halfway There?

A quick side-note before I start: I have had Livin’ on a Prayer stuck in my head for the past hour as I was thinking about this post, simply because of the chorus. Along with book titles and other miscellaneous songs, this one really gets me because WOOOOAAH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!

Apart from the atrocious posts of 2015, I think that was the worst transition between subjects I’ve ever done. Because yes: I’ve had four exams; I have three left. Isn’t it a time to celebrate? Well… No. It’s a time to update you all.

For the past week, I’ve been in a self-made cave of isolation apart from when I gallivant off to exams. Even then, I’m in a room by myself (and an invigilator). It’s because I Word Process – a fancy way to say I use a computer to write my exams – and I get extra time. It’d get lonely except that I’m usually shouting with frustration. For instance, today, I said “Oh fucking god” when I had to figure out a diagram for Psychology. I wish i was joking.

Until they’re over, I’m not going to contemplate exams too much. I’ve spent enough time crying over my first Psychology exam and then genuinely yelling at myself for misinterpreting my English paper to last a lifetime. It’s so exhausting to keep thinking, over and over, that I fucked up only to be told I should stop it because “you’ll do well anyway.” If I believed that wholeheartedly, I wouldn’t be terrified out of my mind.

Right, that’s enough of that. I’m going to do an exam recap like I did last year at the end. For now, I’m going to do a quick runthrough of what’s been happening. Bullet points are my friend and I got about 5 hours of sleep last night so my mental capacity isn’t great right now.

•It’s Pride Month which fills me with happiness. When I’m done with exams I’ll write some Pride posts but in the meantime, check out Lu’s amazing post on LGBTQIA+ representation in YA, Lia’s Pride Month TBR and Bethany’s post on coming out.
•Speaking of Pride and sexuality, as I said in this post, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my own identity, particularly my romantic orientation. I really want to make a post about it but long story short, I don’t know what I’m feeling: I know what kind of people I’m attracted to but I don’t know how far my attraction goes or what my limitations are. It’s confusing and I don’t want to commit to a label yet, possibly not ever, but SOMETHING IS HAPPENING INSIDE MY MIND
•I’ve come down with some kind of cold/virus which means I’m coughing constantly and occasionally think that my throat is on fire. Taking exams has been a struggle because for once, I feel very physically ill and my mental health isn’t totally terrible
•I might be getting my Prom dress adjusted this weekend; I’m kind of nervous even though I know it’ll be fine because I’m still not the biggest fan – to put it lightly – of my appearance. I’m irrationally afraid that it won’t fit me after the adjustments have been done.
•The friends I’ve spoken to recently have been amazing. I say ‘spoken to’ because my communication with people has been even worse lately, what with exams and confusion and illness but when I do emerge into the land of technology, I always get surprised at how fantastic people can be. That might sound horribly sentimental but at this point, I don’t care
•I’ve been trying not to implode from work but it’s been a near thing; sleep is elusive but I’m going to try and rest this weekend as much as I can
•Things with Pearl, who I talk about on this page are going really well. I’m still going to wait until after exams to properly process all my feelings but I’m relatively secure, meaning that I’m not screaming or panicking out of fear yet. This is me though, so only time will tell.
•Pearl also knows about my blog but I haven’t shown it to her yet – she found my Twitter (because I don’t exactly do a great job at hiding it) but has respected me asking if she’ll wait until after my exams to look at the blog. There are things I want to explain to her before all of it because my blog, and showing it to people, has always been a private thing and I want to be as careful as possible instead of running headlong into all of the big decisions
•Exams are draining the life out of me because I haven’t read a book in a long while and i miss it. I also haven’t written anything substantial in ages as well but my mantra for getting through this is that I’ll be able to do everything after exams

So, there you have it. My brain is wired for revising right now; I can’t do much else. My energy levels are only now starting to rise as this virus thing clears up. I need sleep and I need it soon otherwise I may scream.

How are you all doing? I miss the blogging community so much. I’ll be back on my game ONCE EXAMS ARE OVER I CANNOT WAIT.

From Elm 🙂

A Huge Update Because I Didn’t Post

When I looked at my blog and discovered that the last post I wrote was on 4 May, I screamed silently for about 5 minutes before realising that a post was in order. For my peace of mind – and yours, if anyone is still around? *Squeaks hopefully* That sounded more needy than I wanted to GIVE ME ATTENTION PLEASE IS ANYONE LISTENING?

Right. I’m going to pretend that monstrosity of writing didn’t just happen and get onto the update. Loads of things have happened over the last 4 weeks; I’m not sure where to start. I may just go and structure a brief outline, come back and commence with my yelling.

One of the biggest things, possibly the biggest thing, is that school ended last Thursday. I now no longer have any official lessons; my Year 13 classes have stopped. The only thing left is exams and a couple of revision sessions. That’s so disorientating – to think, 14 years of education are now over. Time has gone so quickly whilst also crawling by at particular moments. I’m sure I’ll cope with this change but how whole will I be on the other side? Who will I be without going to that school every day? It brings me back to the end of primary school, where I knew I was going into a place where I didn’t know many people. Starting again, I suppose you’d call it.

Recollecting on that last day, I had a bunch of emotions that I didn’t know how to handle until it was over. Wednesday was my last day of lessons; the next day, I had no classes but went in anyway. Armed with brownies and a heavy dose of trepidation, I expected to feel so many things but just… Didn’t, until it was almost too late. I sang, in the end of year assembly; it was You Don’t Know by Katelyn Tarver – a song which meant so much to me and will always mean so much to me. I was beyond terrified – I shook; I freaked out beforehand on Wren. When I sang, I forgot all that when I got really into the song; I had to distance myself from it a bit in case I genuinely started crying – that song captures all the mixed up fear I’ve been feeling for years. Afterwards, I stood there for a few seconds absorbing it all, my other friend Red helping me off the stage. The aftershocks of those emotions made me shake even more and I think that’s what started all my feelings off. It drew to the end of assembly and we started to say our goodbyes. It was then that it hit me. I wouldn’t be seeing many of these people for ages; possibly I would never see some of them again – and beneath the blind jokes I disguised my pain with, something about the sorrow of not getting to know people when I should have nagged away at me. Taking pictures was surreal; seeing Laurel – a girl I used to have a crush on – and feeling nothing was relieving more than anything. As our group of friends stood outside, hugging and occasionally shouting, I realised just how much I’d miss them all. On the way back home, I cried and I don’t know whether it was from ittersweet happiness or an overwhelming sadness.

That just leaves revision for my A-Levels, which start in a week. I’m so scared I could scream but I just have to get through it. On Friday, I went to an English revision session and I genuinely felt confident; the points I was making weren’t shot down. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever done but it was productive. I’m just worried I won’t be able to do this, that I’ll totally crash.

However, there have been a few bright spots – one of them is Pearl, who I talk about in this post. The last update i gave was when we’d met for the first time. I then briefly mentioned we’d seen Love Simon together – which was beautiful and magical – and since then, she’s been round to mine once; I’ve been round to hers twice, met her sister and pets and had an amazing time. We kissed, when she’d been at mine and the anxiety I felt about how terrible I was was only lessened by a ton of reassurances from her – why am I always like this? I don’t know what our relationship status is – all I know is that I’m a bit confused but also not willing to let this go. I don’t know. I’ve been having a few troubles with my identity recently, which I’ll get onto later. Despite not wanting to, I’m scared I’m not communicating enough; I don’t know how to do relationships – or whatever is happening – anymore. I’m not good at trusting people properly – only trusting them enough to know that they won’t hurt me intentionally. Intimacy is still a problem but I care about her a lot and think she’s wonderful. Nothing in my mind has twisted enough yet to tell me I’m lying about that.

A huge positive was also Eurovision. I can’t overstate how much I love that show; because my parents weren’t okay with me going out that day, I watched the final quietly, only properly shouting once or twice at the results. During the semifinals, I got really involved in an awesome group chat where we yelled about the performances – it included Kel, Lia, Lisa, Bethany, Em, Elly and Michelle. I memorised a bunch of lyrics to the songs, sang along, got far too angry when Denmark didn’t get many points and just generally wailed about the thing for a week. To be honest, I’m still not done shrieking over it.

For some weird reason, I’ve been more socially active the past month – although it still exhausts me and communication outside it is still an issue. On Friday, after our revision session, I went to Swan’s house where she was having her birthday party. There, I laughed violently, had an honest conversation with Wren about how I was feeling and sang songs far too loudly. It was a wonderful time, including the hilarious Cards Against Humanity game that was comprised of far too many inside jokes and points of cackling to be considered, well, family friendly even for Cards Against Humanity standards.

I can’t exactly pretend like things have been 100% amazing; they just haven’t. I had an incredibly horrible panic attack last Monday which stopped me going to history; I’ve had a couple of days where I feel so sick that everything looks bleak and confusing. A couple of weeks back, I went to an introductory session to CBT with the hope of attending a proper group session this Thursday. It made me realise a couple of things: firstly, that the feelings of fear I felt before the session were what I felt most days and that I was only realising this because I was about to potentially express them. I also didn’t know how comfortable I was with the group aspect – I still don’t know. Coming to the conclusion that this shit can’t be solved with a single session reminds me of how I felt after my first proper counselling session. Not hopeless, not angry, but a mix of intimidated and contemplative. My mental health has been bad but once exams are over, maybe I can start to pick up the pieces and figure out what’s really going on.

Oh god, I need to talk about what’s happening with my thoughts about expressing my identity. Really, this needs a post of it’s own and I don’t know where to start. Acknowledging it as something that I’m confused about has literally happened in the last week or two. The short story is that my relationship with romantic feelings and sexual feelings is confusing at best and what the actual fuck do I feel? if stated plainly. I can be attracted to people quite quickly but I’ll only ever really enjoy doing anything, even kissing for instance, if there’s a romantic subtext. Sure, I’d enjoy it but I would always feel more blank and strangely upset. Romantic attraction is even more confusing because sometimes, I don’t know if I’m romantically attracted to someone unless someone straight up asks me and forces me to examine it; also, I’ve found I can only really be romantically attracted to someone I know quite well. Because of some unresolved situations, my brain is so confused right now; I don’t know what or how I feel, or even how to explain it. That’s why I’m hesitant about expressing all of this to Pearl – I wouldn’t know what to say – “I’m scared I’m going to accidentally upset you and push you away because I’m confused about who I am?”

Probably, the only concrete thin you can get from this post is that I’m confused and suspended in some kind of emotional limbo, mixed with a bunch of turmoil, that I can’t hope to figure out until my A-Levels are finished. Getting some of this out has helped but there’s still so much I haven’t said. This could only be a short outline anyway – I have so much to write and not enough time to write it in. Things will fall into place, just not right now.

I’m sorry if this has been too hectic or too negative. I’ve missed my blog but I’ve forgotten how to organise my mind; I want that freedom back. Explaining my thoughts to a little part of the internet has always helped me far more than anything else has. Thanks for putting up with it – I hope you’re all doing good.

If you need help or just a chat, I’m still here. That can’t change.

From Elm 🙂

Afraid Of School

It’s safe to say that I really didn’t put enough effort into my schoolwork this year, or my exams in general. I say this to people and they act as if I’m joking when in actuality, I couldn’t be more serious. I screwed up work-wise and also emotionally, was sad, upset and angry at myself the majority of the time and I was the reason I had a shit time.

Writing this the night before school starts, I’m feeling especially scared. I don’t want to get into the motivational decline of AS-Levels, especially after all the shit which kicked off at the start of it. I blame myself – not for instigating it – but for letting it affect me and letting it carry on. This will be a rambling post, by the way, but I need to get my anxious feelings out because otherwise I never will.

I need sleep but I’m sat here worrying about the state of my thoughts. I need to pick myself up but I don’t know how; it’s got to the point where I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to be or feel when I return from school. It concerns me to note that I may either feel relieved and motivated or utterly shit, wanting to sob and just fix all of the things that have gone wrong.

Simultaneously, I want to get tomorrow over with and also I want to stay home. Exciting things may be coming up work-wise and in terms of school but I can’t bring myself to be happy about that because I need to cross the hurdle of not doing work first. If I never get motivated, I’ll never do work and that’s the crux of it. It’s not that I don’t do the work to a worrying degree; it’s that I don’t know if I’ll care enough to get stuff done.

When did this all start? Was it at the start of year 12 when French and personal things were affecting me? Was it around December when I realised that nothing was making me happy and that all the work I was doing was pointless? Was it before that when I had the habit of procrastinating and being lazy or was it before any of my exams, when I was so convinced I’d fail that I didn’t do enough revision?

I know that I can do this but I’m terrified, scared, paranoid and I want everything to go away whilst also wanting to be surrounded by happy things to forget about me. I have no idea what (i>exactly is getting me so worked up. I’m shaking, feel cold all over and my eyes are too widened to cry at the minute.

I can succeed in my subjects but that might be at the cost of my feelings and creative mind; I don’t want that. I want to sing, write, have fun and laugh but now, it feels quite far off. If I can balance work and a social life, everything will be okay but I don’t want to screw up again and make people unhappy.

Tomorrow, one of three things will happen: I will panic and lock myself into a work-mindset at the expense of talking to people; I will have a terrible attitude to work but revel in the fact that my friends are there or I’ll find a balance. I’m hoping it’s the last of these three but who knows?

I’m scared but I can’t let it rule me. I’m going to go to sleep but the thought of waking up tomorrow to face a day of self-induced fear is making me procrastinate sleep.

Sorry for the disjointed and fragile nature of this post. Inspiration can strike me at the strangest of times and I needed to get this written before the thoughts disappeared into a flurry of confusion inside my head. In the morning, I’ll look back on this and frown but for now, it’s the best I can do and that best will be enough.

If you’re returning to school now or did last week, I hope everything goes well! Remember that even if you feel a certain way now, it won’t last forever. You still have time to let yourself be happy: there will always be time for that. Being happy can be better than getting top grades in every single subject.

From Elm 🙂

How My Exams Went, According To Me

In my school, we still do AS Levels despite most of them not counting for anything. If you don’t know, AS Levels are exams you do in your first year of A-Levels which used to count for 50% of your A-Level results – we take the rest of the exams next year and they are what (usually) count towards getting into university.

Mine started on 15 May and ended on 26 May; I had 8 in total after dropping French earlier this year. Unlike for my GCSEs, I’ll write down my reactions to them because after my exams before, I was tired and preoccupied with my emotions going haywire. Take everything I say with a pinch of salt because I’m notorious at underestimating myself and thinking I’ve failed at literally everything you could possibly fail at.

Before pretty much every exam, I looked at the hashtags on my Twitter (shameless self-promotion I’m sorry) and tweeted under some of them. That proved to be… Rather catastrophic at one point, as you’ll read later.

Psychology Paper 1

I honestly don’t think this one went too badly: it was my first one so I was shit scared but apart from a bullshit 8 marker, it wasn’t awful. For me, the main thing that made me laugh in these exams was the jokes afterwards and also the fact that they did a last year’s AQA biology-type thing and shoved a bunch of Research Methods questions in the topic of memory. It wasn’t quite B1 though because it was actually relevant. I do think that I rambled in my answers a bit but it can’t be helped; I don’t think I’ll do terribly on this one though so that’s a relief.

History Paper 1

Oh, no, nooooo! After this finished, I attempted to expunge it from my memory with limited success. Long story short, I hated it and you know what the worst part was?

Before the exam itself, I had tweeted under the hashtag with something vaguely funny or just despairing. Some people liked it – I don’t know who they were – and I was just calmly scrolling through my notifications when my brain came to a screeching halt. Somebody from my school had liked it. From my school and not just any person, no. Possibly the worst person to like it: the person I used to sit next to in history. Just have a look at this page. It took me a while to recover from my panic at the thought of him finding my blog and taking the piss out of me for years. That’ll teach me to post under topic I know not many people do.

Anyhow, I walked into the exam and thought “Oh shit, I haven’t done enough revision,” an observation which proved to be true. The extract question was an utter bastard although everyone found that difficult; the two topics I didn’t want to come up came up on the essay question. I have extra time because I’m almost completely blind and because of that, I rambled a fair bit and started panicking. That’s never a good sign when you’re attempting to write coherently. By the end of it, I was shaking and walked out of the room feeling unconfident.

Critical Thinking Paper 1

Before you ask, I had no choice but to do this subject. Originally, I was going to do Extended Project Qualification ( EPQ), a 5000 dissertation-style project and those who wanted to do that had to also do Critical Thinking. I did the barest amount of revision for it because in this type of exam, you can’t really revise; it’s skill-based.

This was the first exam I genuinely laughed in. The people included a Fitbit employee, some kind of Road Safety Forum user and I can no longer think of Wearable technologies like Smartwatches the same way again without getting angry. This exam was all about components of an argument and credibility with an essay question at the end and unlike with any other of my exams, I got so tired of it all that I dread to think of what the examiner will think of me when they read my sarcastic responses.

I’ve either mildly passed this or failed horribly. I’m not really inclined to care; universities don’t take this subject into account normally but I still did try what I assume is my best. The skills I got are still important, even if unis don’st care, kind of showing that exams shouldn’t just be about getting into university.

English Paper 1

I could have married this paper; it was the brief respite from panic I needed. All year, I’d been preparing for this and I think – maybe, possibly, potentially – it payed off? We studied Othello and 15 poems and both the questions were glorious things. On later inspection, it turns out that I did the opposite interpretation to the Othello question that literally everyone did. I panicked about that and barely told anyone, pretending I’d done what everyone else had. I convinced myself I’d failed but after deliberation, there’s nothing I can do. Yes, I might not have done as well in it but when you think that, my best advice to it would be move onto the next one. You can’t change things and I know it’s hard but I assure you, you will have done well for you no matter what grade you get.

I loved the poetry question, too. It was on my favourite poem and I may or may not have squealed when it came up – luckily I’m in a room with one invigilator and so they didn’t care, otherwise I would have got weird looks that I wouldn’t be able to see anyway. I wrote confidently although I do think I lost my way a bit because I got confused. That’s nothing out of the ordinary though and at least I knew I passed.

Psychology Paper 2

Oh, Psychology, will you marry me? Please? I don’t want to be alone… Okay fine then, you won’t? Typical.

As you can tell, this paper was good. Probably. I don’t want to jinx it; I’m always scared that if I sing praises for myself, I may be horribly disappointed. On the other hand, I won’t sell myself short: this paper went well. The Research Methods questions – which had no elements of Memory in them – were so straightforward I could have cried and the only tricky part of it was the Application Questions, which never fill me with confidence at the best of times. Also, the exam hilarity on Twitter was just as great as last time. I live for it – okay no; that’s sad.

History Paper 2

My history teacher is a beautiful human being – both of them are. Before the first exam, the teacher who taught the unit for the second exam came and chatted to me. I emailed both teachers after the exams had finished to let them know how they went, not exposing my lack of confidence for fear that they’d feel like they hadn’t covered the material enough (they had; I’m just a fool).

Despite the relative pain of my first exam, the second wasn’t as bad: it was like its antithesis. The topics that I adored came up; I could answer the Source question quite simply although I spent ages on it. I think that my higher understanding and better preparation for this made it more bearable because I’m famous for my screaming rants of “I’m NOT PREPARED HELP ME!” As much as it went quite well, I’m still internally sobbing for lack of direction in the essay but I’m going to pretend that it didn’t exist and move on with my life. That’s always how I seem to deal with my problems… Oops.

English Paper 2

“Why?” I screamed, eyes wild with fury. “After the success of the first paper, I thought-” My voice broke as I took a steadying breath. “I thought that maybe it would go as well! No! O, the pity of it!”

This really didn’t go as well as I wanted it to and I think it was the main disappointment of my exams. That sounded awful but we’d had less time to prepare: it was a coparitive essay between Jane Eyre and The Great Gatsby, in addition to a piece of unseen prose. My English teacher for these units is the best thing ever; she really lit up my enthusiasm for the novels and context of them. Even so, I felt vastly underprepared, much more so than my history.

Parts of it went well, such as the essay on comparisons which I had basically planned a few days ago. I laughed in this exam, too, because I couldn’t get over my good fortune. The unseen prose itself contained such beautiful writing – it was from Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence. The issue wasn’t the subject matter or the words and structure. It was my organisation of ideas: I screwed up. I rambled. I ranted. I was the model of what one may term “not coming up with a relevant point and spouting crap”. Am I being overdramatic? Hahaha, no way; where would you get that impression from?

Critical Thinking, Paper 2

This was the most ridiculous and hilarious paper I think I’d ever come across, mainly because I actually found it alright. The arguments themselves were brilliant in their illogical nature: one of them proposed a ban on speeding points you get on your license because crimes were “adding up” with no punishment. The large argument in the Resource Booklet said at one point that decisions should be left up to the experts because in a democracy, people expected the government to make decisions for them. Again, I laughed. Not because it was funny but because I knew I’d have to analyse it.

When we wrote our own arguments, on the subject of “there will always be crime”, I went on a ranting commentary about today’s society and how as long as there are people, there will always be crime… I don’t know. I was sensing my freedom and wanted to put my own, erm, unique spin on things. Like the first paper, I’ve passed or miserably failed; I’ll be annoyed if it was the latter because I really tried in that paper. I hope the examiner, at least, gets a laugh out of my exasperated analysis an analogy.

All in all, exams weren’t that bad. I definitely didn’t try as hard as I could and should have but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I need to remember that pretty much all year, I’ve been feeling miserable and though that’s not an excuse, it contributed to my lack of motivation to revise or do anything much”

If you have exams to go or have done them, don’t give up on yourself. Keep going and remember not to stress too much after the exam. You’ve done it and you should be proud of yourself for completing it.

Don’t scream at yourself if you think you’ve failed”. Failures are never failures as long as you can improve and make something out of them.

From Elm 🙂

My Not-So-Grand Return!

HEYY!

By the time this is posted, I’ll be travelling to school for my last and probably most difficult exam – Critical Thinking. You wouldn’t think it would be a hard exam to do but because I have about the logic of a table, it really is.

As you can read, I AM BACK and I have never been so excited! It’s kind of sad actually… If you don’t know me, hallo! I’m Elm, a 17-year-old blogger from England who, for once, kept to her hiatus and hasn’t posted in over a month. She genuinely got blogger withdrawal and is terrified for Results Day where her (not) hard work will or won’t pay off. In addition to that, she hates speaking in the third person and has missed her blog more than anything ever.

Once Shitical Thinking, as I like to call it, is over I’ll be crying from happiness, celebrating on my own and throwing myself a one-person party because nobody else appears to be done with their exams from my school. Finally, I’ll be able to relax and get down to blogging properly. I could have posted after my exams were done but would it be pathetic of me to say I couldn’t wait? I’m such a rebel, it’s astonishing.

I have so many plans for my blog and because I go back to school on 12 June, I can actually start to implement them! I’ve honestly thought about what posts to write and that was all I was doing in breaks between revision. I’ll list them for you so that you can see and also so I can remember as I’m a forgetful person.

• I want to get back to collaborating with people: I already have people in mind so if you emailed me before or during exams about collabs, I haven’t forgotten!
• I’ll do the classic exam recap in which I scream about my supposed failures
• There will be an update on my love life… Or lack of one in typical me style
• A few pretty horrible things have happened which I want and think I need to talk about
• I’m going to be reading a lot over the next few weeks so you might get my thoughts on that
• If I can, I’ll do some singing… Maybe
• A very, very exciting thing has happened which will cause my blog to emerge into the real world for me a little
• Lastly, and possibly most exciting, I want to maybe look at self-hosting my blog or maybe looking at WordPress Plans? I’ll post about that later on so I can det your thoughts on that as they are incredibly important to me.

There you go! If you have any suggestions let me know and do link me to any posts you’ve written recently because I can’t wait to read them!

Ohh, I’m so happy to be writing again. As I’ve not had an outlet, my emotions have been all over the place and soon, I can let them out.

From Elm 🙂
P.S: I haven’t written that phrase in so long and it feels wonderful to write it again.

I’ll Fail My Exams if I Don’t Do This

Until 26 May, I can’t:
• Post unless VERY necessary
• Reply to comments
• Read blogs much if at all
• Take part or organise any collabs
• Seriously. No “HAHAHAHA let’s take a hiatus and post a week later!” like last time

Why do I need to do this? Simple. My exams start on the 15th and I. Have. Done. Fuck. All. Revision. I mean that. I’m screwed.

You know when you make up excuses as to why you can’t work, then you get so stressed at how much you have to do, then you can’t do it? That is me. What is also me is convincing myself I’m totally fine and not feeling shitty constantly in order to actually get stuff done.

This is necessary. This is one of the most necessary things I’ve ever had to do. I watched this video earlier and got hit with the reality of everything. I’m not doing enough. If I continue like this, I. Will. Fail. No “But you’ll do great!” about it. No “But you ARE doing enough work!” I’m not and I know it.

If you need to contact me, I will be around – I’m not just utterly abandoning. My email is always open or you can message me on Twitter but I’ll be checking my emails more often. I actually can’t read comments or blogs because I’ll get pulled back in; that’s what happened last time.

Bye for now, everyone – see you on the “other side”, if you will. You know I love you and this blog means the world to me but I’m terrified right now and need to do intense amounts of work. I am very lazy and unmotivated; that must change. FUCK, I only have three weeks left.

Keep going and staying as you are. I hope that pushing down everything and replacing it with a good work ethic won’t damage me afterwards: I’ll be fine.

From Elm 🙂

A Really Speedy Quick Update

Hey hey, I’m running on a rare burst of adrenaline because I had an exam today.

Yeah, only I could get an adrenaline rush from having a mock – did I forget to mention I have three mocks this week? Whoops…

Said mocks are why I haven’t been posting, replying to comments or reading blogs for a few days. I’ve been revising – erm I mean trying to revise, crying and going through a few bouts of self-hatred – and today was my first exam. All yesterday I was freaking out, for no good reason, though I didn’t do enough revision in the same way I haven’t done enough for my mock tomorrow. Well done, Elm.

Today was English; tomorrow’s History and Thursday is Psychology. English ITSELF went well: we had a question on poetry, and one on unseen prose; the former went much better than the latter. It was mainly because in the middle of writing a great first paragraph, my fucking computer froze; I had to write that paragraph three times and by the end of it, I got sick of it and started to write crap. That was even more noticeable in my prose analysis, what did I actually write? Who bloody knows – I spent 2 and a half hours writing, because of extra time and the fact that my computer took half an hour to gets its shit together.

I’m dreading the History tomorrow; the English Revolution and Germany from 1871-1914 has never caused me such anguish. From Bismarck to Bethmann-Holwegg (how do you spell that UGH) to screaming about Caprivi’s New Course, I’m very done with the past.

Have you guys had mocks yet? I’m so bad at revising, because no one will revise with me and people from other schools are doing different courses.

Oh, and I had a minature breakdown today because of French which makes me want to lock myself in a very small room and never come out, but I’ll talk about it once mocks are done. God, I’m tired and so behind with everything.

From Elm 🙂