2016

Ah, 2016 – the year which seems to have been officially christened “The Hell Year”. It’s been a year of division – from Brexit to Trump, a year of tragedy – from the Orlando Shooting to the Nice bombing, a year that seems to have taken more than its fair share of people – from famous faces to the invisible masses who’ve lost their lives due to conflict or disease. It is so easy to look back at this year and feel only a sense of sadness and loss, to be so overwhelmed the disasters that we fail to see the times of hope and progress. It is in times like these that it is most important to treasure every moment of joy that you can find. Appreciate every bad joke that makes you laugh, cherish every time you make your friends smile, enjoy the simple pleasures of stepping on frosty grass or a really buttery piece of toast. It doesn’t matter how silly or little these things may seem, if they make you happy then hold onto them, instead of ending 2016 wrapped up in feelings of hopelessness and upset.

Looking back on my own year, yes there’s been times where I’ve cried, where I’ve felt angry and frustrated, where I’ve wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed and stay there until the world gets its shit together, but there’s also been so many good times. Just over a week ago I went into London with two of my friends. We threw ourselves around the Natural History Museum like kids in a candy store, we sat and had lunch and chatted and laughed, I watched In The Heights (again, and it was just as good as the first time). Sometimes its not big, dramatic, life-changing days which are most important, but just the happy moments which make you look back and smile. It’s sitting in a coffee shop talking about nothing for hours, it’s finishing a good book and instantly wanting to read it all over again, it’s the proud look on my brother’s face as he gave me my Christmas present. And I know that this is ridiculously sappy (I promise that the usual sarcasm will return soon), and I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to proofread it because if I do I’m sure to delete everything I’ve written, but I’m just trying to say that I hope everyone who reads this has at least a couple of moments that make this whole ‘Hell Year’ worthwhile.

It’s 11:47 now, my whole family has gone to sleep, my room is covered in revision cards and photos and sweets leftover from Christmas, and there’s something calm (if not slightly harrowing) about just sitting here writing this on my own, watching the final minutes of 2016 pass before my eyes. The year is drawing to a close, and all that’s left to say is that I hope that 2017 is a year of much less tragedy and much more joy, for each and every one of you. Think about the good things, hug someone you love, and see the new year in with a smile on your face. Take care of yourself x

My Go-To Disney Films

With Moana being released in 4 days, I figured I’d get in the Disney spirit and create a roundup of a few of my all-time favourite Disney films.

Beauty and the Beast

I sadly admit that I never saw Beauty and the Beast in full when I was little, but when I finally watched it a few months ago it became an instant favourite. The only problem is now spend all my time with the Gaston song stuck in my head.

Princess and the Frog

As though jazzy 1920s New Orleans music isn’t enough, Tiana is ambitious and motivated and inspires me to stop procrastinating (for about five minutes). Also, Prince Naveen.

Lilo and Stitch

Confession time, I cried 3 times watching this film. 3 separate times. True, I am an emotional mess who can break into tears at almost anything, but this film was just so perfect. Nani looking out for her sister and Stitch finding a family is almost sweet enough to give you toothache.

The Emperor’s New Groove

This is one of those Disney films which people haven’t seen and they really should. Yes, the premise (an emperor getting turned into a llama) might be a little bizarre but that’s the beauty of it. This is the Disney equivalent of the “I’m so random”phase which 12 year olds go through, but it honestly works so well. It’s sarcastic, silly, and heartfelt all in the right proportions and it never fails to make me laugh.

Hercules

The first time I watched Hercules was in the kids club on a cruiseship and the scene with the cutting of the threads of life scarred me for years. When I finally watched it again (and realised that it’s really not as terrifying as 5 year old me thought it was) I fell in love with everything about it. The songs are catchy, the humour is as dry as a desert, and the Muses are the dream team.


So there you have it, 5 Disney movies you should watch which aren’t Frozen. I also want to give an honourable mention to Tangled, Brother Bear (which is so very underrated) and the Jungle Book. Get a cosy blanket, make yourself a cuppa, and watch a good movie. Take care of yourself x

 

21/11/16

Dear Izzy,

Today has not been the greatest of days. Its been one of those days that you wake up with a sinking feeling in your stomach and an urge to curl into a ball and go back to bed forever. I have an EPQ introduction due in this week and I have no clue what I’m supposed to be writing, I feel completely lost about what I want to do in the future, and the constant rain and darkness really isn’t helping me feel less shitty. I really need a hug and a cup of tea.

Not everything’s sad though, I just had a really long bubble bath (probably should have done some work but procrastination was more appealing) and I finally got round to reading The Night Circus last week. I have never read a book where I have wanted to visit the setting so badly. The language she uses to describe everything is so pretty and I want to visit the circus so badly and I need to stop before I go full level 100 book nerd. Seeing as I’m seeing you Saturday (which I’m super looking forward to) I can lend it to you on the terms and conditions that you don’t lose it in your piles and piles of books. Oh another good thing is I bought new shampoo and conditioner and I like it a lot. The packaging is lovely, it wasn’t expensive and its natural, cruelty free and all that jazz (I’m gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down).

Everything is starting to get Christmassy and despite my inner curmudgeon (think the old man from Up), I can’t help but feel festive. The Salisbury christmas market has begun, I’ve broken out the berry toned lipsticks and everyone is wrapped up in scarves and hats and gloves. Don’t worry though, I’ve not completely lost my Bah Humbug attitude, I still scowl at anyone who feels the need to give me daily “countdown to christmas” updates – surprisingly enough, I am capable of maintaining an awareness of the date without being constantly reminded.

Hopefully tomorrow will be less of a sucky day and I’ll finally fix up my EPQ introduction so it’s no longer just a random jumble of words. I can’t wait to see you this weekend; give my love to your parents, drink some water and please clean your room – the book piles were bordering on a deathtrap the last time I visited you. Love you lots, take care of yourself x

Update: 20 minutes later whilst putting away laundry  I’ve just been stung by a wasp that was hiding on a pair of tights. Great.

It’s Not All Bad

As we approach the end of 2016, there’s seems to be a general consensus that it hasn’t been the best year. But I’m sure you’ve heard all the bad stuff so instead lets focus on some good news.

  1. Jackie Chan has finally won an Oscar after 200 films.
  2. Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
  3. In India, more than 800,000 volunteers planted 50 million trees in 24 hours to help fight climate change.
  4. UK Toys R Us stores had a “quiet hour” so children with autism could enjoy Christmas shopping.
  5. A boy in the US (Dylan Duran) started bringing 2 lunches to school every day after he noticed one of his classmates didn’t have lunch money.
  6. Venus and Serena Williams are opening a resource center for those affected by gun violence in their hometown, Compton.
  7. Over $20,000 has been donated to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name.
  8. A Harvard Psychologist says that dogs dream about how much they love their humans.
  9. Underwater imaging tech might help to improve the detection rate of breast cancer.
  10. The UN passed a declaration to help make sure that refugees receive all their human rights.
  11. Sri-Lanka has been declared Malaria free.
  12. A 12 year old girl (Emma Yang) has developed an app to help Alzheimer’s patients retain relationships with family and friends.
  13. Costa Rica has been powered by only renewable energy for more than 122 days in a row. They plan to become carbon neutral within the next 5 years.
  14. Ashton Heyes, and English village is working towards becoming the first carbon neutral community.
  15. Jaxon the pug has won a “Hometown Hero” award for noticing a sparking socket and ‘barking up a storm’ to gain his owner’s attention, preventing a severe house fire.

So there you go, 2016 may seem all bad but at least there’s some good news. Have a nice bubble bath, eat some vegetables, drink lots of water. Take care of yourself x


Read more about these good news stories here:

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jackie-chan-wins-oscar_us_582a2057e4b02d21bbca1bae
  2. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/india-plants-50-million-trees-uttar-pradesh-reforestation/
  3. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/toys-r-us-open-stores-quiet-hour-accommodate-kids-autism/
  4. http://www.today.com/parents/her-son-asked-two-lunches-we-re-supposed-help-people-t104129
  5. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tennis-star-sisters-unveil-resource-center-victims-gun-violence-compton/
  6. http://people.com/bodies/planned-parenthood-mike-pence-20000-donations/?xid=socialflow_facebook_peoplemag
  7. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dogs-dream-much-love-humans-says-harvard-psychologist/
  8. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/breast-cancer-might-now-easier-underwater-imaging-tech/
  9. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/un-passes-declaration-finally-address-refugee-human-rights/
  10. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/sri-lanka-declared-malaria-free/
  11. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/12-year-old-made-first-app-alzheimers-patients/
  12. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/costa-rica-powered-renewable-energy-122-days/
  13. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/pug-receives-hometown-hero-award-saving-entire-family/

Conspiracy Theories

Anyone who knows me well could tell you that I am a bit of a conspiracy theory enthusiast. Halloween may be over, but to keep the spooky spirit alive, here’s a few of my favourite bizarre conspiracies.

Avril Lavigne’s Clone

Most people have heard of Avril Lavigne – the idol of every teen during their ’emo’ phase (think pop punk, heavy eyeliner, and a diagonal fringe) – but have you heard the conspiracy that she died in 2003? This theory emerged on a Brazilian fan page, and claimed that for the last 13 years, a woman named Melissa Vandella has been impersonating Avril Lavigne. Now, before you get incredibly invested in this theory, bear in mind that the creator has since come out and said that they made up this theory to prove that people on the internet will believe anything. They successfully proved their point, there has been a litany of videos presenting evidence for this theory and discussing which other celebrities might have been replaced by imposters.

The Moon Isn’t Real

Step aside ‘The moon landing was faked’, there’s a new conspiracy in town. Camerman and youtuber Crrow777 started the theory that the moon doesn’t exist at all, and has produced some spooky footage to prove it. The footage shows a ‘lunar wave’ (ripple) across the moon, which Crrow777 says is a regularly occurring glitch in the moon hologram. (At least, I think that’s what he’s saying, it’s a very confusing theory.) If this footage isn’t enough to persuade you, there’s more. Crrow777 has also said that since posting the footage several people in the know have come forward and told him that he’s right, and that the moon truly is a hologram. However, even people on the Flat Earth Society forums don’t seem to believe this theory; and they believe that the world is flat.

Donald Trump Can’t Read

Samantha Bee – host of  comedy US late night show ‘Full Frontal’- may have come up with my all time favourite conspiracy theory. She presents some pretty damning evidence that Trump can’t read, from the fact that he dictates his tweets to his hatred of teleprompters. When you think about it, it all adds up, the reason his debate answers are always a nonsensical mess is because he doesn’t have a clue what his debate prep notes say. Samantha Bee was just intending to mock all the Clinton conspiracies out there, but maybe she’s truly onto something?

So there you have it, 3 of the weirdest conspiracies I could find on the internet. Some runners up for this list included the theory that many world leaders are actually lizards, that Hillary Clinton is actually dead, and that the Earth is hollow. Drink lots of water, don’t procrastinate, talk to someone who you’ve lost touch with. Take care of yourself  x

 

 

 

Sources:
Apparently Avril Lavigne is dead and an imposter has been living her life
http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/607938/WATCH-Lunar-wave-which-cameraman-claims-proves-Moon-is-actually-a-HOLOGRAM
https://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=65471.0
Samantha Bee put together damning evidence to ‘prove’ that Donald Trump can’t read

30/10/16

Dear Izzy,

Please don’t nag me for not posting anything in a very long time. I’m a mess and I can not manage to do anything consistently. I’m halfway through about 500 different projects instead of just finishing one of them. (I’m going to blame it on being a gemini rather than the fact I am just a very noncommittal person.)

Confession, I have spent all of today and all of yesterday in my pyjamas. They’re super comfortable and the concept of going back to school tomorrow has put me in such a sad state that I couldn’t face getting dressed. I actually l generally like sixth form (I sound almost as keen as you, someone please stop me) apart from the fact I have to get up at 6:45 every morning. Early mornings are awful, especially in the winter when you wake up and its dark, and cold, and I have no motivation at all to get out of bed. I will never support your horrific habit of waking up early in the morning by choice, I make it my life’s mission to spend as much time asleep as is humanly possible. Also, I only seem to be able to concentrate and get my work done after 9 o’clock, so 6:45 starts do not work well for me.

Speaking of work, I need to find a proper job because otherwise I’m going to be completely skint after buying everyone’s Christmas presents. I also need to figure out what I’m going to buy for everyone’s Christmas presents because you have weird taste and my mother is the most picky person I’ve ever met. Her only interests are cars, diamonds, and Hugh Jackman, none of which I can provide. Send me a list of books you like and I’ll pick some for your Christmas and birthday presents, although if your ‘to be read’ pile gets any bigger you might have to apply for planning permission. I still haven’t read anything on my to be read list, the only things I’ve read recently are Ms. Marvel comics, Handmaid’s tale (for English), and incredibly boring history essays. They could not have picked a more dispiriting set of books for the English A Level. Handmaid’s Tale is all about the oppression of women, A Streetcar Named Desire is filled with domestic abuse, and then Frankenstein, which I’ve never read but which is apparently just as dark. I think we must have a really morbid English department.

I ordered a load of university prospectuses (Keen I know, but I either plan or I panic) and I realised I don’t really have much of a clue about where I want to go or what I want to study. I was pretty set on studying psychology, but as much as I’d love to become a psychotherapist or forensic psychologist, I think the course might be all too sciency for me. The current university shortlist is Southampton, UCL, Queen Mary’s London and Bath (which would be very convenient for our shopping trips.) However, I’m incredibly indecisive so by tomorrow I’ll probably have decided that I don’t even want to go to uni and I’m going to be a nomadic sheep herder instead.

Right, I’m off to start sorting out all the thousands of books I need for tomorrow. Miss you lots, you need to come visit me so I can give you the tourist’s tour that I promised. Don’t procrastinate, get lots of sleep, and eat some vegetables. Love you lots, take care of yourself x

The Problem With the New £5 Note

On September 13th, the Bank Of England released the brand new £5 note. Brighter blue, smaller, and ‘polymerised’ it feels incredibly like monopoly money to me. My real problem with it, however, is the man on the front of it. Not only because of who that man is (Winston Churchill, No Hero of Mine) but the fact that he is a man. Previously our £5 notes featured Elizabeth Fry, a devout quaker who dedicated much of her life to improving conditions in prisons during the Victorian era. She was also the only woman featured on British currency.*

new-5-note

To me, it is beyond important to have women featured on our money. This currency is seen by everyone (bordering maybe a few ‘off the grid’ Bear Grylls wannabes). How many times have you looked at the faces on a bank note; waiting to pay in a queue, getting cash out of a cash machine, opening up Christmas cards and finding money inside. We are surrounded by these faces on a daily basis so to suggest that they have no significance or importance is, to me, ridiculous. Young girls will look at these notes and wonder why there are no women on them. Have women not done anything significant enough to be featured? Can women not achieve anything significant enough? This is not the kind of self doubt that I believe we should plant in children’s minds, where it will grow and grow as they get older, fuelled by textbooks which don’t feature female experts, a government which is less than 30% women, and an underrepresentation of women in senior management roles. It is not the banknotes alone which will damage the self-esteem of these girls, it is the banknotes in combination with all the other aspects of our society. If the whole of society seems to be subtly telling you that you will never be as significant or successful as a man, why would you bother trying to be?

I am aware, that sometime in 2017, Jane Austen will replace Darwin on the £10 note. But that only goes partway to fixing the problem. Jane Austen will be the 3rd woman to feature on British currency. Churchill is the 14th man to appear. It will be up to 14 months from now until the Austen £10 note is released and even then, there will be only one note featuring a woman to 3 featuring a man.

The second part of the problem is the lack of variety in the women being represented. Jane Austen is a novelist, Elizabeth Fry was a humanitarian, and Florence Nightingale (the 1st woman to appear on British currency) was in nursing. All these women work in stereotypically feminine careers. Their work is valid, important and inspirational, but featuring only their work fuels the stereotype that the only careers suitable for women are the arts, or work based around providing care. Prevalent in our society is an implicit bias for associating women with the arts and men with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields. 50% of the men who have appeared on UK currency worked in STEM fields, compared to 0% of the women. The men who have been featured on British currency worked in a huge variety of fields, there have been architects, composers, writers, scientists, playwrights – the list goes on. This kind of variety is hugely important, as it provides the message to boys that whatever their interests are, they are worth pursuing. Why should this same message not be given to girls?  There are many noteworthy British women who have made huge advancements in STEM subjects. Rosalind Franklin – a scientist key to the understanding of DNA, Beatrice Shilling – an aeronautical engineer, Ada Lovelace – the 1st computer programmer. Research has shown that if women or girls have a female role model in a STEM field, they are more likely to pursue their interest in STEM fields. Exposing young girls to inspirational and innovate female scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists has the potential to inspire them to become inspirational and innovative themselves.

 

*Yes, I know that the Queen is also on the currency, but she wasn’t exactly chosen, if you don’t put the Queen on the money you can probably be beheaded for treason.

 

So there you have it, a little rant about the lack of women on our currency. Let me know what you think about the new fiver, do you like having it plasticised, do you think it’s important to have women featured on currency? Drink some water, get rid of clutter, eat your vegetables. Take care of yourself x

 

Sources
1.researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN01250/SN01250.pdf
2.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Laurie_Rudman/publication/258181938_The_Influence_of_Female_Role_Models_on_Women’s_Implicit_Science_Cognitions/links/0f3175324b0199a40c000000.pdf
3.http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/BANKNOTES/Pages/characters/default.aspx

20/09/16

Dear Izzy,

Help me, I’m a complete mess. My tights have the biggest ladder you’ve ever seen in your life, I have not copied up half the notes I’m supposed to and all I want to do is build a blanket fort and live in it forever, avoiding all responsibilities.

On a lighter note, I managed to have a chat with a stranger (who also happens to be attractive and male) in my French class (oui oui, beret, croissant) today without passing out, vomiting, or saying nothing and just making finger guns at him as I slowly walk out of the room (all of these things were genuine possibilities considering my level of social awkwardness). When I say a chat, I actually mean he was put in a group with me by the teacher and we had to talk to each other about contemporary francophone musicians. Looking back on it, I don’t think it counts as a chat, but we did have a 30 second exchange about how his handwriting sucks and girls have nice handwriting. Titillating, I know, I’m surprised I didn’t get pregnant from such a saucy interaction. Anyway, the point is I am proud of myself for succeeding in talking to a stranger, I’m now one step closer to being a well-functioning human being. However, don’t worry, I’m not now some kind of social butterfly who’s going to leave you and find cool friends who get drunk and hang out at urban outfitters, I’m still an idiot who falls over in high heels (and in flats to be quite honest) and just wants to take naps all day.

I had a daydream (although it might have been an actual dream, I think I feel asleep momentarily) on the bus this morning where I made you the best birthday cake you could ever imagine, complete with glitter, and gave it to you even though it wasn’t your birthday. I’m not entirely sure what my subconscious was trying to get across with that one, if you have any suggestions then let me know.

I have realised today that I use brackets far too often when I’m writing and that I should really just cut out all the irrelevant nonsense I write in them (but I like adding little stupid side notes, so I shall continue to excessively parenthesize as long as I live).

Earlier today I was filled with dread when my English Lit teacher stated that we were going to spend the next month or so acting out A Streetcar Named Desire. Why on Earth English teachers seem to think acting is a “fun lesson” continues to elude me, seeing as our whole class audibly groaned when he said we’d have to act. I managed to make aggressive eye contact with the table when he was asking people to volunteer for particular roles, and have managed to avoid speaking parts entirely. I’m going to volunteer as stage manager or some other similar job where I can hide backstage and avoid the intense humiliation of putting on a New Orleans accent and acting out what my English teacher called a “sexy play”. However, no humiliation could ever compare to my other English teacher, who whilst explaining A Handmaid’s Tale to us, repeated the phrase “soft, sweaty, stroking teenage sex” a good 5 times. It was one of those moments in my life where I genuinely hoped the Earth would swallow me whole.

Anyway, there’s some eclectic updates on my life. My mum says hello, although she’s so stressed and tired at the minute that she forgot your name and referred to you as “my Asian friend whose mum is Suda” (Make that your new twitter bio?). Miss you lots and hope to see you soon. Stay away from mean boys, drink some water, and treat yourself to a nice lush bath bomb. Love you lots, take care of yourself x

 

Books I Never Finished

As is blatantly obvious by my erratic posting, I am not a very consistent person. I get so excited about new, shiny, ideas that I forget about all the things I’ve already started. I am one of those people who has learned 20 words of 5 languages, written the first page of 5 books, and can play 1 song on 5 different instruments. It’s no surprise then that I have a mountain of books which I’ve started but never completed. If I don’t find a book completely fascinating, it will end up in the depths of a bag or a cupboard, never to been seen again. So, here’s some brief book reviews on books I never finished and am therefore completely unqualified to review (you’ve been forewarned).

Game of thrones
I honestly tried to hard to get into this book, I’ve read the first few chapters over and over again, each time thinking, “right, everyone is obsessed with this, it’ll be really good once I get into it”, but each time failing to get past the first 100 pages. I just really struggled with how many different perspectives there were because it stopped me from getting invested in the characters and the plotlines when it was chopping and changing every few minutes. I know the TV show has gained a bit of a cult following, who’re probably going to come and club me to death with the book whilst I sleep, but I just didn’t find it engaging so it’s only going to get a 5/10 from me (Sorry GOT mega-fans).

Games primates play
This book was actually really interesting, it’s about why humans interact with each other in the way we do, and how many of these interactions we share with primates. As an A Level psychology student, this is a book I really should probably read. I was actually enjoying reading this but then exams came and I was too busy revising to read so it ended up collecting dust on a bookshelf somewhere, never to be finished. I’ll probably pick this one up again because it was interesting science explained simply, without ever being condescending or childish. 7/10.

Simon: The Genius In My Basement
I have no idea how this book ended up in my possession, it was most likely something my mum bought and never read so she threw it at me for me to read instead. It’s a story about a man called Simon, who is a genius but also a complete mess of a human being. He has an incredible mind capable of working on complex theoretical puzzles but also lives in a basement, surrounded by plastic bags and outdated maps. I appreciated parts of this book but I think I was too young to really enjoy it, a book about the “frailty of genius” is never going to be a favourite of a 12 year old. 6/10

The Book Thief
A couple of years ago this book was recommended to me by every single person I spoke to – friends, English teachers, bookshop sales assistants. After finally deciding to give it a go, I struggled to get into it but slowly made my way through around half of the book. I’m not quite sure where I ended up getting to, but I know the book ended up on my shelf, never to be finished. From what I remember the plot was really interesting and the characters were well developed but for whatever reason I just couldn’t connect with it and got bored of trying to wade through a book that I had no genuine desire to read. From the hundreds of positive reviews, I’m sure most people will enjoy this book, I just personally didn’t like it. 7/10

The Fry Chronicles
At my Doctor’s surgery they sell books which have been donated by patients as a way to raise money for the practise. I loved this idea and (partly to support my Doctor’s) picked up the Fry Chronicles, Stephen Fry’s autobiography. I have one particular friend who mocked me relentlessly whenever she saw me reading this but I love QI and Stephen Fry seems like a generally decent guy so I figured it would be worth a read. Then, exams struck and I stopped reading and instead stuck my head in a Chemistry revision guide in a desperate last minute attempt to pass (it worked, I somehow got an A. I’m not entirely sure that they didn’t get my paper mixed up with someone else’s but I’d rather not question it). I never picked the book back up again after exams and I will probably never bother finishing it, I’m not a huge biography reader and I already have far too many books on my “to be read” list. It was an average book, with some funny moments and a general sense of honesty throughout it. 5.5/10

 

So there you have it, some completely unfounded reviews of books which I never finished. If you think any of these books are worth me reading, leave a comment and let me know. Winter is almost here so wrap up in your cosiest jumper, have a nice bubble bath and make yourself a cup of tea. Take care of yourself x

2 Weeks Down, 37 To Go

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