I guess you can call me the average kid if I were in your class, because if you were to have a look at my work and my grades – you wouldn’t be so mesmerised about it lol. Although I had always dreamt about going to a good university, getting a degree and all that jazz, I slowly figured it just wasn’t right for me and what I actually want to do; career wise. I just wish I had something like this to look at when I was panicking whilst sitting my GCSE’s and thinking about how I’m actually going to become an adult soon. Get yourself a cuppa because this is going to be one lengthy blog post! At the time, I would advice that you should just focus on your exams as there are actually a huge variety of options that will be laid out for you in a couple of months, so just be content with the fact that you are doing to the best of your ability. And that brings me to my five most important tips on what to be aware of when leaving school…
College isn’t for everyone.
I know you probably hear this one a lot, but trust me there is nothing worse than living a life of what is ‘desirable’ to others when you simply do not enjoy what you do. One thing that I have learnt is that the path of education is not for everyone. We live in a world where there are many successful people flourishing with only their GCSE’s, and yet people are still fixated on this mindset of going to school, college and getting a degree. Believe me, there is more to life than just going on to further education, disliking it and leaving with debts!
Trust me when I say technology is taking over these traditional jobs, everything will be done online in the future, so why do we get trapped into the pressure of going further with education if it doesn’t make us happy? Why don’t we just let our hearts explore the hobbies they want, which can eventually be turned into a career?
The fear of following the dreams your parents have for you may leave your mental health in a bad state, which is why you should just go for what you want to do because it’s YOUR life and you are going to be working extremely hard for the things you like doing, rather than what your parents want you to do. Just go for it! You never know what can happen, whether that’s a good or bad experience – it’s an experience after all! We all live and learn in every stage of our lives.
Being organised is crucial.
Now that I have come out of that bubble where there was lots of help and support from all my lovely teachers, I didn’t realise how being organised, meeting deadlines and doing as your told makes all the difference! Again, mentioning that bubble that I was in, I would make excuses like ‘Oh, I forgot my homework at home’ and a ten minute detention would easily make up for my mistake.
But now, this is the REAL world where if you’re opting for an apprenticeship, you could potentially be working for a huge company, and at this point, ‘forgetting’ to meet one of your deadlines could eventually make you lose your job/career.
And there goes your motivation to get back up. If you don’t want to face losing your jobs, then do as you’re told as soon as you can – or else ‘forgetting’ will put you in a vulnerable position from others, leaving your employer feeling that you’re not trust worthy enough for higher tasks. Or even if you want to attend a College or Sixth Form, giving your assignments and essays that your teachers have made specifically for you in time, is crucial. Because I know that I would be frustrated if my class isn’t taking their A levels seriously.
Not knowing everything and everyone is completely normal.
I’m in on the nerves you get on your first day knowing you have no one to talk to, but it is okay! It took some of my friends a while to get used to their surroundings and everyone around them, whereas it took others just a week. Just know that it’s normal to feel down the first couple of weeks, whether that’s because of not knowing the subject you chose off by heart, or not being able to communicate with others.
Don’t be so harsh on yourself either – you are probably going to end up overworking and losing all the motivation you had, half way through you sit your exams! I would say it does take a bit of time (so that’s perfect if you are a patient kid lol) and hard work, and then you’ll start to get used to the atmosphere around you.
Not only this, as it’s your first year, you need to make sure you find the right set of friends for yourself as they will surely influence you – and I just want to point out that being naive and following the ‘popular’ lot in your college will eventually lead to none other than your mental health being taken as a joke and not doing so well in your exams, because of the mentality that some people have which may make you feel trapped or lonely.
BE PATIENT (aka something I’m not good at lol)
This tip would be completely useless if I didn’t throw in the ‘patience is a virtue’ idiom that everyone uses. If you are good at being patient when things really decide to test your tolerance, then wow I applaud you, because when I tell you I cannot stand it when my laptop is restarting and it’s taking forever, I REALLY CAN’T! Not only that, it makes me SOO frustrated when my tab takes forever to load but hey, this isn’t a ‘100 bad traits about sanaesthetic’ post, so I shall stop. In all seriousness, everything will work out eventually, so just take a deep breath and start this new academic year off by writing some optimistic goals that you’d like to achieve.
If it doesn’t go your way, do not spend ALL your time mourning about it!!
First of all, I just hope you all get the grades that you want! However, if you do not meet your desired College’s or Sixth Form’s grades, then it is okay to be upset about it and take it all in for a little while. But you need to have a back-up plan of what you will do about the grades that you did get, if that means doing an apprenticeship, then do it! All I’m going to say is: the last thing you want is not having a clue on what to do on results day, especially because of the ticking time bomb (oh and I mean it literally)! Also, places of Colleges fill up quickly so you need to think from your brain and not your heart (even if it wants to burst out crying, I believe in you, YOU GOT THIS).
Sixth Forms VS Colleges
One of the most important factors to take into account of where to study post-GCSE’S is if you are better suited for a Sixth Form or College environment. Put simply, a Sixth Form is a smaller institution that ranges between 100-400 students within a year cohort. In general, Sixth Forms have a more formal and structured timetable and they are often more disciplined, with an increased focus towards AS/A Levels. More competitive Sixth Forms have an interview process during their application process, before students can attain a conditional offer: often asking for a high GPA at GCSE’s, in addition to meeting individual subject requirements. Meeting this demanding criteria, you can enroll easily on results day.
However, if your results are not what you expected, you are either put on a waiting list or asked to change subject combinations to enroll – so be mindful that the subjects you study at Sixth Form might not be the exact combination of subjects you had intended to apply for. Colleges, on the other hand, are usually much larger than Sixth Forms, providing a wider range of vocational courses and apprenticeship opportunities than Sixth Forms. Colleges are much relaxed and less structured then how Sixth Forms typically are; it is not strange to see a large time gap during classes. Despite a more relaxed environment, it doesn’t mean that Colleges are not equally as hard-working in comparison to their counterparts. Hence, it’s important to distinguish the difference to ensure you go to a place right for you.
There is a large stigma enforced by families and schools to pressure their pupils to attend more highly competitive institutions. Advantages of going to a more competitive Sixth Form would help you access more opportunities which wouldn’t have been available and provides more personalised support in helping to tailor your UCAS application within Year 13. Speaking to my close friends, it is clear that enrolling in these top Sixth Forms have their own disadvantages: the work environment can often feel very suffocating and often, you can become easily overwhelmed with work which limits your “social” time. Hence, a lot of students drop out towards the start of the term as they are not prepared for this change of environment.
If you have any questions related to this, feel free to follow & dm me on instagram sanaesthetic and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Best of luck my to all my lovelies doing their GCSE’s and I hope my tips were somewhat useful to you.