When some people read the title they will think “ugh, no, can’t wait to escape the hell hole that is college”, but for me when I look back I remember both stressful and fond memories of studying A levels. Although we do have a few months left I’m blogging now because I won’t be able to blog/update much really in the run up to or during exams (that probably won’t stand – we all know I’m just slightly addicted to Instagram and Snapchat = spamming your IG feed).
This post was inspired by my one of my Politics classes this week when we were reminiscing our time together, I especially loved looking back on being educated on urban dictionary language, being told that someone’s first impression of me was that I seemed like a snob and learning the wonderful art of sarcasm (thank you Jess, Josh, our teacher…pretty much my whole class).
The title is probably slightly exaggerated regarding having the “best” and “worst” time of my life so far, but I suppose it is kind of eye catching. I remember going into my college enrolment thinking “yes, no more subjects that I hate and the only ones I love”, well now those subjects and I have quite a bitter-sweet relationship. Although I’ll (hopefully) be going on to pursue a subject that I love, I think that the workload the new A level specifications have is the primary reason why I don’t necessarily enjoy learning in my second year, as a posed to my first, when 3/4 of my subjects examinations didn’t count. However, for example, with a subject like Modern History where we have basically nearly 100 years to study for British and American (x2 because two years and add another 100 years for coursework), I’m sure you can see why most History students complain a bit.
On the brighter side though, in hindsight, I do look back and think “how is my brain not fried yet?”, sometimes I think it is but then I waddle through the week actually enjoying what I’m learning, despite the fact that when I get home I’ll be bombarding my brain with more information (multiply that by the equivalent of 5 other subject/focuses) and you get the picture… But I still carry on with it because I do like it? It’s just confusing.
Aside from the technicalities of A levels, generally, I feel that college has taught my how to be sacrificial for what I want and where I want to go in life. For those who absolutely HATE (and I mean hate) studying, you could see it as the fact that you’ll have gained qualifications but now definitely know that carrying on into further education just isn’t for you. For me, I’ve learnt that although pretty much last year and so far this year I haven’t had a social life, my view is that this works for me and in the long run I feel I will do better. I’m not saying that I think people shouldn’t have a social life while studying, I’m just saying it’s the only way I can put 100% effort into my studies and this is the way I can reap the benefits of the education I receive. This is what I mean by sacrificial, making decisions which might feel shitty in the short term but in the long term are beneficial. Plus, I’ll have pretty much July, August, September and October to chill, work, attend pre-freshers lectures and get into the swing of the next chapter of my life.
One thing that I don’t regret is being stressed, a friend of quite a few years had said I’d changed between GCSEs and now and that is because of stress, I now know that stress only motivates me to get things done; people seem to think that I am just capable of following a militaristic and rigid regime with regards to studying. Nope. It’s not a facade but there are days where I need motivation to get out of bed, off my bed or even sometimes to my bed to make sure that I do my work but don’t over work. Stress has been a good factor in hindsight, despite the acne, breakdowns and grey hair.
Nevertheless, there definitely are moments when I look back and recoil on things that I’ve said and done; coming from a girls school with 700 pupils, with no ability to communicate with the opposite sex. There were a few encounters in my transition to a mixed college, which I now look back on, somewhat regret, cringe and then laugh. From the infinite crushes, failed match-making people tried to do between myself and their friends to the general I embarrassment caused myself, I would never change it for the world. When I started college I was introduced to relationships, the concept itself wasn’t weird but just alien, having come from my previous school. To be honest, after a while I kind of wanted one. It sounds stupid right, the commoditization of relationships? I know.
I felt that I needed to be in one, when I really didn’t and probably will never because boys smell (another thing I’ve learnt in two years, jk, the ones I’ve met are cool). Aside from the cringe-worthy state I get myself into when I look back, I realise that wanting something and having something are two different things and that you cannot force things to happen with people, that’s why the relationships I initially aspired to were successful, because they weren’t forced. On the other hand however, I do remember being put off quite a bit on the ENDLESS drama people would experience and gossip about regarding their own and other people’s relationships. But I do find it quite funny when crushes find out you’ve liked them and two years on it STILL gets to their head and when you tell them, “no, I don’t like you anymore”, you’re able to see their ego deflate… Best thing ever.
The title included why college has been worst time of my life so far and from free-writing the above, I genuinely cannot think of anything to address that point aside from the amount of stress I have come under, which is self inflicted and for the short term. Perhaps one day I’ll tell myself it wasn’t worth it but right now I view it as a motivation. I think that these two years have grown me and taught me so much about myself that really, I can’t think of anything bad aside from the issues which I perceived to be bad, when in fact they weren’t.
There have been so many good memories, I can’t even begin to list them all but one thing I do value about college is the confidence and ability I have seen within myself exponentially grow. This time last year people would be telling me I can do it, but I wouldn’t believe it; looking to forthcoming deadlines and exams, I have the ability to tell myself I can meet my goals and succeed. If there is one thing that I can take away from the past two years it is that my own happiness and putting myself first is more important than anything. There may be days when I don’t want to do my work, but if education makes me happy, I will pursue it.
It’s coming to that time of the academic year when we all hit a brick wall and eventually ask ourselves why? Why do I need to do this, whether it be going to work, attending college, meeting deadlines, revising OR asking yourself that in general. Honestly, I don’t know why you’re doing it, but if you know why and it’s because you want to, stick that at the forefront of your mind. If you don’t know, take some time and think about it. The time we have to live, enjoy, and be successful is finite, it doesn’t last forever. If there is one thing that I can stress it is to do what you want to do and be happy. There are detrimental effects for people who don’t do what they want to do. For example, if you’re being forced to study things you don’t want to or are being limited because of what you want to do, think about yourself first. You’re creating a life for yourself, you will be the one living it, not the people who are pushing, making or influencing your decisions. There are circumstances when succumbing to familial or educational pressure is unavoidable, however, if you have the means to change things, then change.
Someone told me that it was impossible to change after a certain amount of time, and yet we all have experienced both positive and negative changes in our lives… Change to be the best you can be.
Well… that wraps it up now I suppose – hardly anything negative in this post which I LOVE, nothing monotonous and boring as it usually would be. I’m liking this light hearted and free-spirited way of writing, I should do it more often.
Have a wonderful 2017, be happy, free and work for your own goals!!!! I’d say “good luck” for exams, but now I’m a stern believer in the fact that if you have the ability, resources and potential to do well, you form your own luck, meaning hard work equals success (in most circumstances).