Going back to college is always a struggle, always. It is not aided by spring chills and intermittent rain that makes the days seem more dark and dull than they need to be. Due to the amount of work I achieved over the easter ‘break’, I have no struggled to get back into the flow of college. It doesn’t feel like we’ve gone back to college as the general tone in my lessons are still “Exams are coming” as if OCR and AQA were descending upon Westeros. 

How about you? How are you dealing with things, reader? Oh, excuse the rhetoric as I thought it would be polite to at least ask the question knowing full-well a reply is impossible as I write this. Hmm. 

Last year I was in a different mind-set as I am this year. I was more depressed and academically-frustrated, torn on the idea of continuing with the route of university. I think something that is spurring me on is my performance in lessons is uptaining a solid A/A* level – Hopefully I can carry and demostrate that in exams! – and the fact of actually going to University is a reality. I have applied, recieved my offers, (allbeit slightly a stretch) replied to them, made my choices, applied for finance, recieved finance back, applied for accommodation and as of today recieved my offer of accommodation and accepted it. All that is left to do now is actually get the grades, the hard part.

It is scary to think that simple me who last January had no sign of achieving A levels let alone getting them to a standard to go to University, no sign of getting any successful offers. Up until now, I’ve kind of being going against the odds. I was advised by two members of my colleges UCAS team to not apply to Southampton or Nottingham as they will not offer me a place. 

But I guess I was just as suprised as they were. 

In a 3-4 month gap I closed 4 grades. All that is left to do is close a single grade in Maths and Physics and then two grades in Chemistry. I need to achieve ABB in my coming exams (A in Chemistry) and frankly, I’m 70% sure I can do it. Sure I should aim to be 100% confident, a lot of success is driven in the mind. It could be possible a positive mind-set will enhance concentration and focus, unlocking the ability to solve that differential equation that makes the person marking my paper to sqee with happiness! I will explain in what direction a current carrying wire in a magnetic field perpendicular to the currents direction and draw the correct product when a benzene ring is reacted with aluminium(III) chloride and chlorine gas and standard conditions! 

Yes in reality I can get the questions right and the examier wont bat an eyelid, but still. 

I’m feeling moderately confident, like I have built up some good momentium (p=mv 😉 ). More so I am getting motivated, the constant reminder that I’ve actually got a place waiting for me at Nottingham is helpful from the reminders I get from them. Watching videos of the Uni or seeing pictures of the campus also helps. The good organisation and being able to look back and see that I’m actually doing something and seeing positive results just leads me on to strive to keep it up. 

But with all that, there is the shard of doubt. The glimmer of despair that reminds me of last years exam results of being average and mark missing. The thought that thinks “Well shit, maybe I’m just not the right kind of student”. But I think, everyone, everyone who has attempted something has had the same thoughts, and thats when it divides the winners and the losers. Those that ignore those thoughts and push on with rational thoughts and evidence suggesting success, or those that sit in pity and watch everyone else strive on. 

I am so close, maybe too close, to getting where I want to be. And I’m not prepared to just give it up. I will pass my exams, and so will anyone else reading this who has some to come to. Do not think you’re going to fail because you don’t know that, so thinking it won’t change fate but could make you panic more. Panicking then could have a detrimental effect. 

Too finish, here is some ‘tips’ that I feel are positive to someone with handling their exam stress and keeping a positive healthy mindset:

  • First of all, sleep, eat and drink well. I feel so much more productive when I’ve got a good nights sleep under my belt, and especially since some of the exams are at 8:50am, I can’t afford to spend hours in the morning for my brain to wake up due to only sleeping 3 hours at all. It kills a lack of focus. Eating healthy and doing excercise makes me feel better about my body and feel less sluggish. Sometimes at the weekend when I’ve got a lot of revision to-do I’ll go on a 45 min ish bike ride to wake me up and excercise.
  • Allow yourself to have breaks! I have a habit of revising for hours and hours, but I at least break every 3 hours for half an hour when it is close to exams. I don’t think there is a set period of when you should revise and for how long, short bursts of revision don’t work for me. I can’t build up some momentum and concentrate. But when I do, things just work. 
  • When you feel like procrastinating, procrastinate with another piece of work. I do it so much, I get bored of whatever I’m studying and just jump for twitter or facebook. NO! I find it helps to try and different piece of work from a different subject, and after some time switching back to the work I was currently doing. This also prevents getting frustrated and hitting a wall, or testing the memory. I did this recently with some work that just was not going in, some I put it aside and came back to it after doing a maths past paper. Turns out I knew what I was getting annoyed with more than I thought!
  • Live and breath your subjects. Hate to say it, but I get super passionate about my subjects. As much as they drive me up the wall I try and think about them when I’m cycling, walking around college or waiting for the kettle to boil. Its not always about work I need to remember, but taking a genuine interest in whats going on in the world of that subject sparks curiousity and incites a drive. Each morning when I’m having breakfast I read about ‘stuff’ going on in the world of science. And you’d be surprised how it sometimes links in current work I’m doing. (Sorry Mathematicans and Historians, don’t think it applies as much. D: ) Watch YouTube videos about random things. I watch SixtySymbols, Numberphile and PeriodicVideos when I’m taking a work break, or I’m waiting for dinner to cook or something. Its not boring and it nurtures the curiousity to enjoy and develop your thinking skills about your subject. (And if I know you, you know about the videos I find and send to you. Sorry.)
  • Don’t let it get on top of you. Lets face it, its just bits of paper. Paper that is striking fear into the hearts of many teens across the world, don’t be one of them! Its not the end of the world if you fail, so its more reason to go in balls to the way like you’ve got nothing to lose and smash the daylights out of that exam.
  • Do past exams to highlight problem areas and write lists to track them. 
  • Record the work you have done, it can help with motivation, productivity and being positive. 




So thats all, bye! 

“The Spanish Sahara, the place that you’d wanna leave the horror here.”


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Miss Enn Gigi

Lifestyle Blogger. Chemistry PhD Student at York. Medicinal Chem & Neuro Grad. Science Editor.


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