“The best days of your life…”

Mixture of mocks and waiting round this week already – writing just ahead of Wednesday to free up my time for coursework tomorrow. Not feeling my most wordy… inadvertently and cheerily told two different people to enjoy their weekend on my way home today. Wishful thinking?

Our exam seating arrangements are such that you’re thrown together with people from your primary school who you haven’t spoken to for the best part of 5 years. It’s nice to chat and to mix, since the last time you did you were a whole different you. Speaking has given me a chance to reflect between periods of hard work. Interesting to see what changes and what has never changed one bit. Seeing multiple sides to everything both helps and hinders. It’s possible to be too introspective and brood over things too much, but I’m more at peace in doing so. Thinking fixes a lot more problems than it makes. Things evolve so quickly. Sometimes I used to wonder if everything was changing or if it was simply a matter of seeing things through “less naïve eyes”. I’m sure the answer is both.

Slightly after midway through Y11, my twelfth year of formal education (including foundation stages). Support has been plentiful for the most part, even if it’s taken some looking for. I wouldn’t like to rule anything out altogether, but it is increasingly likely I’ll be moving on from school in the summer for personal as well as academic reasons. The most important thing is feeling like it’s easy to hold your values and comfortably interact with your surroundings. Once you’ve recognised what you’re looking for, it isn’t too idealistic to aim to be in that position. Ultimately, the academic year is made up of four things: grades, revision, friends and finding your feet.


We’ve been one of the years to be mixed under the new reform. Everyone is in agreement that it’s a far from perfect situation. We set off in Key Stage 3 learning without feeling like it was for a test. It probably was, somewhere, but we weren’t made aware of it. Not like lower secondary school students are now. I used to like English for all the descriptive writing we used to do. There were subject specialists for every lesson in excess. There were actual departments that worked as a team. It was mainly about having fun, and everything was just a little bit more toned down.

Core subjects have been eased into the specifications. It is harder now than it was before but in a manageable way. Poems can be learned. Harder algebraic notation and graph functions can be practised. There’s a shared sense of motoring through and knowing the ways to do well, even if it takes effort to succeed on an individual level.

The same can’t be said for the subjects studied by many but aren’t a national requirement. It dawned on a few of us this afternoon over a textbook in a substitute lesson: it isn’t the difficulty of the content, more that there are gaps in knowledge left simply under the assumption that at some point, somewhere, in some classroom, we’ve gone over it before. Crater-sized gaps. Stuff that we perhaps could have to know prior to 7 weeks before the first exam. Building blocks of knowledge for most 6 mark questions (grade droppers as we jokingly term them). Along with the realisation comes a sense of responsibility quite gratuitous — what about people that haven’t realised all the work there is to do? How is it remotely fair? It is not a matter of revision, it is a matter of self-teaching. One of my friends grimly recognised that this statement alone will only become more and more obvious as we near May. Identifying it as an issue at least equates to some degree of preparation for us though.

Many a time have I fallen into the trap of thinking this is life determining — obviously it’s not. No grade is the be all and end all, but it’s nice to have your many classroom hours validated and be rewarded. On the whole I’ve been very well prepared. Lots of resources and offers of support sessions. We can’t forget how lucky we are to live in a day where there’s abundant videos on YouTube, apps, podcasts and revision tools. The internet literally saves lives. Definitely the lives of students anyway!


I would much rather learn than revise. It’s so much more engaging to listen to someone than to write things out yourself. Maybe this is laziness. The wonderful gracemaryxx is absolutely ace at motivating herself to study. I read her GCSE related blogs at the start of the academic year, thinking I would too try and start around the February holidays like she did. I never found the time though I wanted to. In fairness, I had been on a voluntary placement as multi sports coach at a half term activity camp for 4-12s and so was pretty tied up all week. My DBS is coming through in the next few days and I’ll be undertaking a paid role in Easter, which is very exciting! Doesn’t help in terms of studying but you cannot be stressed or miserable around children — it is not physically possible — and so the crazy atmosphere will surely do more good than harm.

I resent doing “homework” at this point. It isn’t a lack of motivation or defiance on purpose, it’s just I’d much rather independently revise based on the areas I’d like to focus on. Juggling deadlines is frustrating when you see no real benefit from the tasks assigned to you. Many others I’ve spoken to are (reassuringly) feeling the same way.

A few of us interested in doing the same A levels are trying to work together to devise a timetable of sorts, consisting of activities tailored to us and what we think might help. This is going to involve FaceTime and phone calls and non-trivial texting and maybe even the occasional meet up. Getting together in person often isn’t productive but communicating in other ways can be. We’ve found it helps just to talk key ideas through and to question the material in textbooks. The ‘why’ behind lots of principles in Science remains unknown, but it helps to wonder and quiz it right down to the minutiae. Question question question.

Post-It notes round the house is a good idea I’ve heard shared by quite a few, under the thinking you will subconsciously take in the information written down. Personally it doesn’t do much — I get so used to them being there that I will ignore or read and quickly forget. It really is all down to preference. Some say it’s the bright colours that help as they stimulate memory. It really does just depend.

Writing content of units on single pieces of paper and abridging it a bit helps. Takes away from how daunting a huge textbook can be and makes it slightly more accessible. If it’s less of a chore, I will happily double the amount of time I spend on work. The minute it starts to become overwhelming is the same minute information stops going in. There’s no point sitting in front of books if it isn’t effective study.

Episodes of counterproductive revising contribute massively to burnout. The most important thing is finding something that works and then doing it, be it past papers or flashcards or anything else. I learnt the hard way last year that forcing yourself to do it in one single way just because it’s been recommended is not conducive to success.


I’ve been insanely lucky to meet so many lovely people. 360 in my cohort has been lots of faces and names and personalities to mingle with. People change and relationships change. Some people you keep from the start, whilst others are only ever meant to be temporary.

Sometimes settling down in a group has been a struggle — I’ve often shifted from set group to set group and largely found the same thing each time. Put people from all walks of life in certain groups and it becomes quite cliquey. I feel very much like high school settings capitalise on this. Talking behind backs happens inevitably as kids are in such close proximity to each other AND get tasked with growing up too. Sitting out on fields has never been my activity of choice. Nor has walking round after dark. A good couple of years ago I made a real effort to go out when everyone else did, but this confirmed what I already felt. Not for a second is it about believing I’m elevated or trying to take the moral high ground — definitely not. It’s just the mere idea of those “activities” is at very best boring to me. All the worse when cheap alcohol and drugs were brought in. Just not my scene – I like bed at ten and socialising in a more meaningful way. It might well be excluding myself or missing out on age-related fun, but at present I am more than okay doing what I do.

Probably quite selective, but I gravitate towards those that I like. So does everyone. I’ll happily spend hours with people I see potential or likeness in and willingly invest all emotional energy. This has resulted in little clusters of friends here and there and all quite sporadic in terms of circles and groups. As far as I’m concerned, this is not a problem. Friendship is a two way thing and fine as long as you and the other person radiate the same feelings about it. Everybody at the end of school tends to leave with only a couple of people they were close with at the start. This is true for me too. These friendships are the ones that last, the people who set cottage pie on fire in Food DT with you in Y7 right up to glueing the pieces back together and heaving you through the testing exam weeks.

Finding your feet:

Thisis easily the most fundamental of the four. You don’t get a rewind button on life and can’t put yourself back in school, whether you’d like to or not.

You start in Y7 and leave in Y11 or 13 changed. For the better or worse, but changed all the same. It’s where you spend most of your time and so events that happen inevitably shape you into who you were going to become all along.

Though I was (enthusiastically) the first to write up my personal statement and send off my UCAS application, I don’t take for granted the times that I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy. School is about grades and character shaping and, cliché as it is to say, mindset really determines how this treats you. I focus on the good as much as possible and the moment I’m sad is because someone or something has acted in an unjust way. Finding your feet is also about examining what you tolerate and working out what you think. You can’t go on if you don’t know this about yourself.

By the time you approach the end of Y11, you’ve often semi found your feet. The time rolls round unceremoniously and you leave, move on and redo the whole process. All revolves around the main reason this blog was started — to prove everything is all connected to learning.

I’m grateful for everyone that injects the words of wisdom and smiles in between.

Playing is learning

One upheaval after another this week and felt frustrated with happenings way beyond my control, so directing all the energy into revising as it’s probably the right thing to do considering we are now mid March. Organisation is slowly happening! Written up some detailed notes for Chemistry and would like to think the information has actually gone in. Shame that highlighting polymerisation processes and making it look pretty is so much more interesting than actually learning it…

Plenty of exciting suggestions for writing from people this week but little in the way of concrete ideas per se. Thought I would write about something a little different but very much relevant in terms of the bigger picture — SATS.

I was lucky to have my sister Emma through my earlier years to help with all my learning. She wouldn’t leave me alone from being tiny and has taught me lots of what I know (through unkind means like confiscating toys under the laundry basket/prison and trapping us in blanket dens until I answered questions right). Many a time has she taken a sacrifice for me, be it the worst bed on holiday, the blame for eating the celebrations before Christmas or even just homework I couldn’t do when she had loads of studying of her own to be doing. These are some of the many things I quite like about her but I have a short memory and tend to forget the many occasions she’s also done me in… and the jumper I had that I liked that is STILL mysteriously missing… if you’re reading this then IRON AND RETURN.

Went to a lovely little nursery from around age 2.5, only ever for three mornings a week. From recognising the route we were driving, I used to scream and paddy before we even arrived. I did not want to be there. They had to prise me out my mum’s arms and still I would be shouting ‘no nursery’… did not give anyone an easy time! All this aside they were excellent and helped me come on massively. We had water trays, sand and toys galore. There was even a computer, though the size of the entire room! They never religiously kept to the curriculum and structure I see being implemented in my cousins’ nurseries now. I am still alive and well and hopefully reasonably literate — same goes for everybody else in the cohort. But for stray grammatical slip ups and comma splices of course.

My mum was very sad when I stopped doing mornings at school and started full time. Apparently I too was a little worried when I’d seen her cry dropping me off…

My dad, on the other hand, probably felt elated at the prospect of respite from all my never ending questions. Poor nursery nurse had to take that one on. I nagged her relentlessly each day wanting to know the specific time in minutes until certain intervals, like lunch and home and story, the favourite being ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’. There was a lot of playing in EYFS years with only a little bit of writing. Children and teachers even wore slippers around the room — something unheard of now.

My biggest little cousin was seven just before Christmas. In our heads, he’s still very much a baby, but in actual fact, he is a polite and thoughtful little boy who’s growing up very quickly. Like any other Y2 child, William is learning loads about the world around him.

He’s a bit of a worrier at times (runs in the family). Saw him in the week and he tells me, dejected, how at school ‘we just do the same thing every single day’ and ‘it’s like I never get to do anything different or fun’. I didn’t have much to reassure him with, other than it’ll change when he’s a bit bigger. But will it?

SATS are a huge deal in both primary key stages and the children really do feel the pressure. I remember feeling ridiculously pressured in Y6 because it was in no way concealed from us, and we felt the stress of the teachers. It has only become worse. Using past progressive in sentences and an understanding of what ‘meandering’, ‘plausible’ and ‘evade’ mean isrequired on the sample SPAG paper from 2016. Absolutely horrendous. It never used to be that hard and I would certainly struggle to tackle that now. Arguably useful general knowledge, but unlikely to be needed in secondary school. More than anything, kids are going to be well and truly put off a subject before they’ve even seen how wonderful it really can be. So what’s the point in formally testing? More specifically still, testing 11 year olds. All very wrong.

Secondary schools do their own testing around September time — the stress pupils feel to do well in Y6 is very pointless short term. The SATS grades are influential, however, with respect to the grades you are targeted and predicted at GCSE level. It could be said that these are still of little significance — it’s what you actually get that matters rather than what everybody thinks you might. It’s not to say that those standards are a true or fair reflection of ability though.

Common sense tells you that the change from age 11 to 16 is huge: a five year chunk of anyone’s life made all more significant when you’re still finding your feet. If you do well on this one boiling hot week in June 2013, computers having never had a chat to you conclude you might also do well at a broad range of *very different* subjects later on. History and Chemistry aptitude is judged by performance combined in Maths and reading assessments in primary school. How do they know? On every school report from thereon in, estimations and targets remain the same. This still affects students who are told they must meet them in order for it to be a performance worthy of feeling proud of. I would love to see on what grounds this measuring tool was thought up — a weakly correlated graph based on now-out-of-date figures?

It hurts me to see very little people even remotely panicked. Where are all the home corners? The playing out? The swimming trips? Being little doesn’t last long, and playing is learning.

If I could say one thing to every person about to do their SATS, I would urge them not to worry. Even in the slightest. Things change so quickly and something new will be in place in under five years, rendering all this angst pointless. Forget the tests. Do well but do not let it weigh on your mind. Great to feel capable but enjoying yourself has to take priority.

Learning should enable us to do that and not put up barriers. It has to be made fun at an early stage so that people understand education is good and not out to get them.

Motoring on today with yet more Science so I can pop out later to see friends guilt free. The example question asks about “how a radioactive decay causes transmutation”. Confused and concerned. Know the meaning of only half of those words, being a question word, determiner and verb respectively. Trying not to waste brain power thinking about who exactly allowed it to become this silly. 2 equations memorised and 21 to go. Wonder if it would even be that bad just to multiply or divide the given numbers. A 50-50 chance of success and statistically that really isn’t all that bad!

I hate not leaving the house all day but if snow continues, it will be supermarket for snow food (Quorn stew and dumplings and scones) plus studying and sampling for Stats coursework.

We had a panic last night that we’d be snowed in at the Kashmiri. At least I did, because Casualty started at 20:10. (Nobody gets a happy ending and things rarely happen the way I’d like them to but I have to watch as a pledge to my ex-RS teacher’s son who plays a character) anywaaaay we all dressed up nicely and went for a huge family curry to fuel my sister for her night shift and spend some time together. It was a very lovely way to spend a Saturday evening and good company as always. I awkwardly nibbled my way through it and scrutinised the very-obviously-vegetable madras dish for any disguised bits of meat. There’s always one and usually it’s me. Cheesy naan bread and rice made it all worth it.

Viva la veggie-carby side dishes. Viva la Physics?!? Viva la effort this weekend.

Principles vs Principals

At last count, there are over 7 billion people in the world and we all are so very different: our genetics and our demographic and our personalities and our processing and our opportunities. Quite strikingly though, we differ in terms of our skill set and strengths.

This can only be a good thing. What you do and what you like doing determine, for the most part, where you end up and who you become. For humans on the whole, our interpersonal skills came first, closely followed by science. All the discoveries then happened which enabled us to develop artistic and language skills and learn more about the world around us. They famously tell young people that potential is endless, and that you can be anything you want to be without limits. You steer your own ship and make your own decisions. You have free choice to be whatever…

but just as soon as you finish with the education system.

Though encouraged by many, autonomy short term for students is lacking. You must study exactly what greater powers, i.e, principals of education dictate. This is non-negotiable. My every respect goes to those in charge of the country, by no means an easy task. Amongst a minefield of other tasks, these people have to inevitably sit down and discuss how they’ll teach the future generation. They decide. They inform exam boards. We then have a curriculum that must be delivered. A blanket pathway or study could be interpreted as a one-off effort, something that ticks boxes, covers bases for your average student Bob who will sail through irrespective of subjects and leave school happily with two handfuls of B (or 6) grades.

Not for a second would it be sensible to have ultimate freedom — life without rules is chaos. Of course, guidance and boundaries must be implemented in any school setting if we hope to progress successfully. This however should not have to equate to removal of all leeway and flexibility. Lots of establishments do have set ups whereby you choose a few subjects that you’d like to know more about. I too was in this position and opted for the more philosophical subjects, like RS and Law, in order to widen my perspective. It was always a matter of pursuing interests at this point, exactly like it should be.

The fact of the matter is, some kids flourish in teacher-delivered sessions. They are comfortable to learn pretty much whatever is taught to them, and they’re extremely receptive of new ideas and key concepts. Some would love to learn but can’t access the content for reasons out their hands. Others take a bit more persuasion and tune out easily but switch back on the second a topic interests them. Another chunk of people will forever feel uninspired as long as they are sedentary on a plastic chair.

Fish don’t climb trees and monkeys don’t swim — or not incredibly successfully, anyway.

Some subjects are too key to drop, like English and Maths. Both are of utmost importance in their own right. I am only able to craft these words thanks to the patience of educators delivering the curriculum over the last decade. None of us could go shopping, tell the time, or even do simple sums without some grasp of arithmetic. We are insanely privileged to be so able when there are people in the world who are not. This aside, I can say hand on heart that not a single exam episode has proved me any better or worse at these things, and has only served to stress. Surely there are ways of measuring ability and competence instead of repetitive testing?

Exams exhaust even the most avid, content-hungry students, the ones that will go on to university and complete lots more. What about everyone else? If a child is meant for the arts or theatre or even “people work”, why is it insisted upon that they complete a succession of exams? It is absolutely not in their best interests and not enhancing life opportunities — it should be their prerogative whether geometric progression will ever be of use. Students are equipped in terms of picking five facts from a text and move some letters and symbols into brackets, yet woefully unprepared to call their own shots. By the time we CAN leave and do what we want, how will we know how what that is? No previous opportunities to practise or exercise free decision making.

Back to Bob. He copes with difficult questions because he’s listened and his parents have drummed it into both him and his older sister that practice makes perfect. It won’t be too difficult to regurgitate the information he has lodged into his memory. His ability to recall is, thankfully, better than most.

He has a friend, Steve, who is really good at mechanics. He helps his uncle on Saturdays to fit spare parts to machinery – all the family work quite hands on. Recently he had an idea which meant they could fix several cars, all with the same leak, and return them good as new to the owners. This has helped the business massively all thanks to his thoughtfulness and attention to detail. On Monday Steve goes to school and sits a test. Though having spent hours at extra sessions, he still gets under half marks on the English test. He doesn’t know enough quotes on Scrooge and so his score is immediately predestined. He has mild dyslexia and worries often about letting his family down. The teacher speaks to him afterwards and he is able to give a perfect verbal account of the plot of the story, it’s just his hand won’t move fast enough on the paper in the right moment.

Steve’s cousin Anne is predicted all full marks. On the day of the History exam, her mind is in other places. Someone fell over earlier that morning and she and another passerby had helped them to cross the road and inside their house. They were quite old and didn’t look too well. In order to get to school, she had to leave and let the neighbour ring for an ambulance. She wonders if they are okay. She still gets an 8, but she could’ve done better. She knew all the answers to the American West section and the exam technique too, but circumstances mean it slips her mind.

Students ought not to be put off, they need to feel excited. We have a wonderful mixture of talents and the same exam paper is not going to show them all. Everybody deserves an equal chance, both students like Anne and students like Steve and all the many Bobs in between.

The real principles of learning need be just that — to really learn. Not learning to memorise, and not learning just to forget. Not learning to simply be assessed. Not learning for five years and studying hard for months to have a ninety minute window in which to prove yourself. Not learning so that it can be all or nothing. Learning because a subject is fascinating. Learning because it’s cool to. Learning because you derive a sense of purpose from it. Learning so you can show others. Learning because education is a gift. Learning because you love it.

It’s urgent that we don’t allow the loveliness of being able to learn to be snatched away. Nobody should feel down or dejected as everyone has some talent to give.

If you can’t give it to the modern world of education, you have chance to give it to the real world. Cling to it tight.

Sunday-itis and the age old promise of ‘start tomorrow’…

This is a bit of a long one as I started writing and didn’t stop… oops. If you’re reading and you’re grumpy about the prospect of early mornings tomorrow again, fear not, you’re not alone. Also aware that there have been quite a few email subscriptions that I’m not too aware of and haven’t been showing up for some reason — still getting to grips with the site so bear with, but hi!

I have lost track of the amount of times that the last weekend evening has rolled round, and I’ve duly told myself that tomorrow . will be the start of new things, real work. The promise uttered by every single student since the beginning of time. There’s some sort of obligation that lies with new weeks, similar to the feeling you get when it’s January 1st and you KNOW this will be the year of organisation, list making, planning and getting yourself sorted out. Why does the date matter so much? Time is completely abstract yet everybody obsesses over it. I’ve not even had two decades worth of New Years Days to know that resolutions with time stamps on them fall through. For example, I tried to go vegan for a week in January but quickly gave in because my already compromised diet was dire without cheese… hopefully not an indicator of my will power alone but useful to illustrate my point!

Apologies that I can’t get through an explanation without a bad analogy but the underlying thoughts remain the same. We don’t even give the other days a chance for a fresh start. Wednesday might be ideal. Rigid in beliefs, yet still, “I’ll start tomorrow”.

Twelve hours later, I am planted in a classroom for five hours, four of which are two double lessons, and forced to grapple with the freedom hangover I slowly feel taking hold. Introversion dictates I burn out incredibly easily through this. Interaction with the right people is lovely and refreshing, but the second the dynamic is wrong, I need to escape recharge. This day in particular often leads to me arriving home and doing the necessary amenities before crashing, on sofa in front of TV/with book. I remain here very happily and firmly push all unwanted thoughts of sitting down with a textbook out my mind, all because sitting on pretences most the day has wiped me.

It is only the first day of the week. I go to bed leaving all work and the promise of doing it untouched. After that, all sorts of distracting things come up and the weekend is round again.

I must stress that the work itself isn’t at fault. Difficult at times, yes, but as is everything else. The problem lies in that the subjects I love so much are now associated deep down with the feelings of being somewhere I have outgrown. Resentment? Boredom? Frustration? Perhaps a bit of longing too. Either way, it causes massive scale procrastination. And that’s not the student I want to be.

Luckily the solution is clear cut — a new beginning, a clean page, a fresh start, exciting ethos. Obtainable? Not immediately. I cannot do anything to propel myself out of this situation, so the remaining option is to instead make the best of it.

My heart will rule my head every single time. It’s a downfall of mine, desperately struggling to separate emotion from logic. Frequently the former prevails and I look after what makes me happy — something everyone should strive to do in an ideal world. Unfortunately, the balance has to slide a little in an instance where you’re also acutely aware that your immediate future depends, rightly or wrongly, on the effort you put in right now.

Of course, this is circumstantial — exactly why I am searching for a short term fix. It will be very much a push-through effort with lots of breaks and rewards interspersed.

I passionately refuse to stop at this point because that would be silly and would serve to make all the hard work thus far pointless. Revision will start because it has to. It isn’t that I expect miracles for any of us, or for it even to be fun, and it certainly isn’t about having a moan. However, the prospect of practising and consolidating what we learn should at least sit comfortably. At the moment it feels like a massive chore for all but a couple subjects.

How to fix?

I have no amazing ideas in terms of solutions as there probably isn’t one. What I do know is this: external influences are frequently overwhelming and unwanted when they are so intense.  Do it this way, then do it that way, then do it this way, now this way. Exhausting. More mocks will help some but not all. Enforced homework will help some but not all. A laid back approach will help some but not all. Study leave would be ideal but isn’t feasible.

I can’t understand how the belief is so commonly held that one course of action is best. There is nothing more frustrating. Students must learn to see themselves as individuals, not as a herd, to learn how they feel is best to and not how they are told to. Teachers must recognise that their students are all people with real thoughts, but by the same token, as are they themselves. Mirroring and copying what works for some is not always the way. The government have the biggest duty of all to realise that not everyone is receptive to the same methods in a school setting — be it employees or attendees thereof.

Too much blind compliance around born out of the misconception that “going with the flow” will lead to an easier life. And why? We shouldn’t settle. It is only possible to better things through constant re-evaluation, questioning, and embracing innovation head on.

Ironically, through not improving anything at all big scale, we hope to improve our students’ chances and league tables. 

It really isn’t about being naïve. It’s about recognising things and striving for better. Everybody has a little bit of change the world potential in them, and we could do amazing things if we all came together to do something.

I’m not overjoyed to be in the cardboard cut out version of myself each day. Otherwise though, I am exceptionally lucky and happy. I gather strength from those around me and would only encourage everyone else to do similarly. Cheered by the littlest of things, fuelled by the good will of others, and carried by the kind words I hear and actions I see. There is hope because there is more love than hate in the world: this remains my outlook and you only have to open your eyes to see it too.

How do you overcome what I famously call Sundayitis?

I’m still trying to work this one out. Without doubt, living in the present would completely cure it. You take each day as it comes – marathon, not a sprint kind of thing. See the work in chunks and acknowledge the small steps. Value those more than the big ones, as they’ll take everybody far further in the end. Do not do not do not set many deadlines and expectations of yourself – controlled pressure is good but not when you have a million and one other things to do! Life’s too bloody short to box yourself in.

You’re not going nowhere if you happen to cut yourself some slack. This is a very valuable thing to keep in mind. It’s all I’ve done all weekend! Met up with an old friend and had a lovely time shopping with my mum in the daytime. Leeds surprisingly quiet and lots and lots of sales — do check out if you live anywhere near. Had a night in to myself on Saturday (Casualty and Cava and absolute peace and quiet was GRAND) aaaand read all the trashy magazines I could find – great for perspective that your life is not as worrying as the woman whose daughter had triplets with her partner and now she’s both grandma and stepmother…

Managing any task is by all means possible, but if it has to wait for one more day then it does. So important to go gentle with yourself and ever more crucial at this point in the year. Time is not of the essence unless the thing you are concerned about is imminent and tomorrow. And even then.

Well, going wildly off topic certainly doesn’t bode well for a second ever post, but I feel the points were at least a little important!

Negativity can have a way of clouding Sunday nights and making worries you didn’t know you had surface. It happens to everyone and it’s okay to see it for what it is and proceed by putting yourself first. This is something I’m still learning and something I hope to hold on to. Again, so easily forgotten. Learning is not limited to academia.

My timetable is positively peppered with mocks this week and next buuuuut the saving grace is that there are loads of wonderful people around. Shifting my focus this week — this month — to everything that really matters. And there are a lot of things that do. Lucky doesn’t cover it.

Why am I writing?

First of all, I feel this is a question you have to have the answer to before you start anything up.

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Mili and a few months back (January time) I wrote an article for the TES about education and exam reform. I hadn’t initially expected it to go anywhere… but it seemed to resonate with many. I received a few messages asking if I had anything people could keep up with. I felt pretty mixed about it, since I wasn’t sure how to go about it. One of my teachers influenced me via email, saying to “never stop using your voice to change something you feel is wrong” – that’s just awfully important. For me, as a young person, but for everybody else too. If you have the gift of being able to communicate then there is little point in using it idly.

My own experiences will be true for many others. A life can never just be a singular thing — everything’s connected and people in the same boat must pull others through. Through writing, I feel a sense of purpose, and this is maximised by sharing with others.

Everything feels like a bit of a juggling act at the moment, but I pledge to carve out some time at least twice weekly to publish. This will be dependent on other factors, but I hope to post each Sunday and Wednesday, give or take a day either side. As in my profile, I’ll be writing about education in the country on the whole, the ways I study best, the importance of why we learn, expectations, expression and the things that really make a difference for the better.

Please feel free to submit comments as and when and share amongst anyone who might appreciate it. Purely student-perspective and not proof read, so bear with me in places. I’m very excited to be starting this and hope it makes a difference to one of the readers, no matter how small!

I am finally going to stop rambling and sit down with some books I haven’t looked at in far too long. Sitting down to ANYTHING work-related is the first step to success by forcing yourself into the right frame of mind. Never let it be said it’s not effort… sending motivation and best of luck to everyone trying to study this Sunday!