You might not think it from my lack of posts, but I have successfully survived the first two weeks of the school term and so far, despite the trauma of “tell us about yourself” introductory lessons, I am actually enjoying sixth form.
A Levels are hugely different from GCSEs, not only in the difficulty of the lessons, but in the way you’re treated. In year 12, the teachers give you a lot more freedoms as well as a lot more responsibility. They trust you to get on with work without being prodded every five minutes and there’s a much more relaxed, chatty atmosphere in classes (apart from that one teacher everyone has who clearly hates children and seems to wish it was still legal to throw a board rubber at you). This year, I’m studying English Literature, History, Psychology, French and the EPQ (a qualification where you write a dissertation or complete a project). It’s so nice to finally only be taking subjects which you have a genuine interest in, instead of sitting through classes which make you want to bang your head against a brick wall. Yes, there’s a lot more work to do at A Level, but it’s work which is a lot more interesting to be doing because you actually care about your subjects.
I’ve also changed quite significantly in just the first 14 days of sixth form. All throughout the lower school I never got involved in school roles (partly because most of them consisted of reminding people to recycle) or clubs, because I was too nervous about having to spend time with people I didn’t know. This year, I’m still absolutely terrified when I have to talk to strangers, but I’ve decided that I’m just going to say yes to things anyway, instead of letting my time in sixth form go to waste. So far, I’ve signed up for a peer-to-peer counselling course, mindfulness sessions and languages mentoring. I haven’t yet done the languages mentoring so I can’t guarantee that it won’t be a huge disaster where I teach poor unsuspecting year sevens completely incorrect French, but the other two have been great. Yes I was shaky, and nervous, and probably looked very strange because I was trying so hard to act casual, but I survived. Realistically, the worst that can happen when you meet new people is that they don’t like you. If people don’t like you, you can find new people, and most of the time being nervous isn’t going to make people dislike you. Everyone else is probably just as nervous as you are, so try not to worry about it.
So, there’s a very short update on my first couple of weeks of school, as well as some pretentious advice that I didn’t initially intend to give. I hope you’re all enjoying back to school, or if you’re no longer a student I hope you’re just enjoying life in general. Don’t procrastinate, drink some water, call/text someone you love. Take care of yourself x