Saturday, 31 December 2016

My 2016

My 2016

What have I learnt about my self this year? Probably not a lot. I’ve learnt Biology, Organic Chemistry and how the volcanic neck that Edinburgh Castle stands upon was formed but very little about myself. It has been a tough year with more downs than up until the start of this school year where I finally found my footing in my school, settled down with my work and focused on what I want to achieve. I want to do my best and show all the (many) people who do not believe that I can achieve my goals that they are wrong.

This year I fell in love with a city. Like millions of other people New York stole my heart but it did more than that. As I sat in a restaurant watching the workers who live in New York go out for office drinks after work it made me realise that I need to study what I want rather than what other people want me to study. I am an intelligent girl and had always strived for the best - I wanted to go to the best university and do the hardest course that I could. I chose A Levels - not because I particularly enjoyed the subject but because they were ‘hard’ A Levels. They would get me far. I never factored in how they would make me feel though, the stress of drawing out organic molecule after organic molecule. So I stopped telling people that I was going to try and go to Oxford to study Geography and instead set my sights on Manchester or Leeds to study Criminology. It is a degree that people look at you funny when you say it but I know that it is something that I will love to do. I’m doing something for myself for once.

I had my heart broken again in 2016 by the same person. That was hard, especially when everyone told me it was a stupid idea to go back to him, but it isn’t something I regret. I know that we have ended in a better way that we did last time which is something that I am happy about. I lost contact with some of my old friends as we drifted apart over time but became fast friends with new people. I realised that I shouldn’t hesitate to meet new people because I already had good friends and that I should try and meet as many new people as possible without judging them. I am now friends with people that I would have never thought I would have been this time last year (or even 6 months ago).

School work is demanding and social life is tempting but in a boarding school your school work is your social life (sort of) and I would like to think that over the last few weeks that I have managed to find some sort of a balance between the two. In September I directed a school version of Macbeth which is something that I am very proud of as it was completely out of my comfort zone and was a successful play (after one or two breakdowns). It showed me that I should go out of my comfort zone more frequently which is why I have become an active member of my debate team and vocal in my house. I would like to think that people are proud of how well I have managed to fit in. 

Now I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions because I think that changing yourself comes over time but I do have aims for 2017 - things that I don’t need to change about myself but what I want to achieve. 
1. I want at least ABB in my A Levels (preferably AAB or maybe even AAA to surprise everyone!)
2. I want to have an offer from every university that I applied to (not something that is particularly in my control but we will see - I’m just waiting for you Bristol).
3. Get an award at the end of the year. It is given to leaving students - I only have 6 months of school left. That’s terrifying.
4. Go to University and not hold myself back like I did when I moved schools for 6th Form. Have fun. It’ll be good.
5. Make time for myself in the summer - it’s all about me and my friends and family this year, not just about myself.

What are your goals/ resolutions? Did you have a good 2016 or a bad one?

Friday, 30 December 2016

What I Got For Christmas: Beauty

What I got for Christmas: Beauty

I got a lot of stuff for Christmas and I thought I would share it with you! I would like to say sorry about the warmth of the lighting - the weather isn't great here in Dorset at the moment so it is quite artificial! Firstly I got the Soap and Glory Beauty Box (it was half price in Boots) which contains some great things (some I personally feel are a bit over rated - I'm looking at you The Righteous Butter). Also I don't use the Scrub of Your Life scrub as it contains microbeads that I am personally against - as does the face wash I believe so I will probably be regifting these; however the rest I love and would recomend. Soap and Glory is one of my favourite brands. 

Lush! Finally I have some more Lush stuff which I will be doing reviews and stuff as I use them. I have already used two items - the Father Christmas one (hence the different background and better lighting) and Satsuma - which I do not have a photo of (sadly). I am very excited to use these bath bombs - this gift set is no longer available in stores as it is a Christmas gift but it will probably return next year so keep an eye out then!

Miscellaneous items are often the best and some of these I have never heard of before so I am buzzed to use them. The Palmers is my favourite body moisturizer and the Origins body lotion is my favourite smells. The Soaper Duper body wash is a knew one (I think its only found in Liberty) and although it is lemon scented it smells more like banana and that diffuser smells fantastic (I can not explain how nice it smells or what it smell like but it is lovely and you can find it in Waitrose).

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016

I thought that I would share some of the stuff that I got for Christmas just because I love to see what others have, I am not going to write in detail about them just yet - I will probably do this at a late date for each section. I hope you had a great Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and ate loads of crappy food! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Building An Adult: How I revise

Revision, Revision, Revision!

A slightly different Building An Adult today but this is something that is probably very important to help you get on the path of become an adult. Revision. Its boring, tedious at the best of times but it is very rewarding in the long run and is so important if you want to achieve highly in exams!

Unless you are a genius and one of those students that seem to be gifted at everything, revision is crucial if you want to achieve anywhere near your best in your exams. I am not incredibly intelligent; however I work and revise hard - this lead me to achieve 5 A*s, 5 As and a Distinction at GCSE and, due to the ranking of the state school that I attended, this placed me well into the top 1% of students in the country. But it was far from easy! I was revising hard every day and night and started months before the exams started - don't wait for your course to have finished to start revising. You can always revise something! I am now going to go through some of my revision tips and strategies to try and help you achieve your best grades - if this post helps you and motivates you to work I might do another one with my other revision strategies.

  1. Forest - the brilliant app. Forest is a simple app, with no levels and not even fancy graphics but it is brilliant if you want to focus hard on something without the distractions of you phone (Instagram is killer for procrastination). All you need to do is set a time, you have a choice between 10 and 120 minutes and then you 'plant' a tree. If you then go on and use your phone in your plants 'growing' period then the tree dies and you're left with a horrible dead tree in your field. I can't bring myself to give up and kill my tree so I have completed every growing period. It tracks how well you've done and adds up your total number of minutes/hours growing per week so it is also motivating - you can do that 20 minutes more! It is available for free on every know app store (as far as I am aware!) and I can't imagine revising without it now!

2.  Highlight the key parts. This seems stupid and simple but just reading a piece of text is going to get you no where. Highlight the key parts and even annotate them if you need to simplify something for yourself and link it to another page. It may feel a bit odd to write in your textbook, especially as so many people will have paid an arm and a leg for them and want them in good condition so they can resell them but you shouldn't be thinking about that! Are you grades less important that getting that £30 back? If you have borrowed the textbook/book and are not allowed to write in then sticky notes and arrows are your best friend.

3. Another simple but so effective way of making sure that you are working to the best of your ability is to have a pencil case. For many people this is just obvious but I now so many people who just turn up to lessons with a chewed Bic pen and a few pieces of crumpled paper. How are you ever supposed to achieve grades if you aren't even organised enough to have a pencil case? My pencil case is just the most simple one - it is covered in the names of previously banned books but any one will do (even a plastic wallet if you really can't get one. Pen wise take great care with you stationery - think that they are the pens that will carry you to victory. Personally my favourite pens are the black V Ball roller balls or the papermate ones for all my colourful notes. Personally I find that writing in pencil doesn't improve your notes as it is not bold enough. The key points just point stand out. 

4. Write your notes down. It is all well and good reading a textbook and highlighting some important sentences but what if you aren't then using that information then you will have forgotten it within minutes. Make a poster or buy a pukka pad for each subject and write down all the notes you want to. Make sure that you aren't just copying entire pages from the textbook - try and take a paragraph (or some of your highlighted sections) and rewrite them in your own words, using highlights and different colours to emphasise the hardest bits and the most important bits. Then make sure that you have a pack of page markers to hand. I use these to point to entire sections or key parts that I still haven't quite got the hang of so that when I am going back through my notes I can focus on these harder areas. Once learnt and understood I simply remove the page tag. It is so satisfying to watch the numbers fall.

5. Questions! Consolidate your learning with textbook questions or ones that you have found online. My school has access to Exampro so all questions are online with markschemes and examiners reports. I find these especially helpfully but I know that a lot of schools don't have it so just use the questions provided for you or find some online. If you don't get the question try and find the answer in the textbook before giving up and looking at the answers - only when you can't find it then look and see if you understand where this has come from.