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A Survival Guide to Student Life

Harriet Baldwin

Currently being an A level student myself, I am all too familiar with the difficulties of being flooded from a tsunami of school work all at once; it seems that the work is a chain which is never ending. You always have homework and when you think you have just about finished all… you are issued another set of homework. Even on the day you don't have homework, you do. If you are considering completing A levels, you have to be prepared to be up all night doing that essay you promised yourself that you would do in a free 2 weeks ago. And as if the influx of work received after school everyday isn't enough after a long laborious day at school, in the back of your head you know you have got that early start in the morning as well. Fantastic. I find myself more frequently than not having the same on-going debate every morning of “I’ve got 20 minutes until my train arrives, I really should wake up” vs. “Wow my bed is so comfortable this morning”.

It has to be said that the jump up in intensity from GCSE work to A level can be a difficult and a sudden change after a long carefree summer break. Balancing school, a social life, exercising, a part time job, homework and getting enough sleep can sometimes be a lot to handle. However the key to overcoming this has to be organisation and time management. Here is my 5 Point Plan for conquering school, which I have personally found useful when trying to use my time productively:

1.      Use a planner. Never underestimate the use of this often overlooked book, you simply cannot organise which work you need to prioritise if you don’t know what date your homework is due!

2.      Allocate appropriate time for the amount of work that the specific piece of homework will need. Lets be honest, are you really going to complete a 1000 word essay in a free period an hour before it’s due? Probably not.

3.      Do the work when it is set – don’t leave it until last minute! Without keeping on top of your workload, more and more work is going to be set meaning you will fall further and further behind.

4.      Use online apps to do work on the go. Google Docs is my saviour for this as it means I can start planning my essays whilst waiting for my train after school.

5.      Finally, be sure to not be doing too many hours working. Even though it is good to have a part time job for experience and extra cash, ensure that this isn’t effecting your studying time. At the end of the day you’re going to be working for the rest of your life – it may not be wise to jeopardise getting those all important grades needed for universities just for the case of earning some extra money. If you’re working over 16 hours and are still in full time education, you may be working too frequently.

Even though I have moaned about schooling life, many of my fondest memories are times spent at school as well as forming many special friendships along the way.

For the times that your motivation is running low, I hope that this advice helps to pull you through and keep you looking towards the end goal. Good luck!