Surviving A levels

My jump to A levels wasn’t as smooth as I had expected. I didn’t think it could possibly be as demanding as ab-day or leg-day. I knew that it would be challenging; I knew exactly how challenging it would be, but I convinced myself that I was ready to put my armour on and battle through it. I met with my first defeat within the first day: myself versus English literature.

I thought that I was ready to take on the demands of A levels. I expected to walk in to my lessons, on a bright, early autumnal day, as confident as I was in my GCSE exams- it was raining.

Little did I know that A levels was a whole new game, and I had only started to train for it. Regardless of whether or not you got outstanding GCSE grades, this game isn’t about talent, it’s all about strategy and patience. 

When you start A levels, you aren’t going to know everything. Like myself, you may think that you are only building on existing skills- while this thought is somewhat true, most lessons are crammed with new concepts and new content.

The mass of information that you have to absorb in each lesson is as heavy as the mass of the universe, but it doesn’t have to feel like this. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key to surviving A levels is in balance and patience.

Don’t stop everything else in your life in an effort to learn an unrealistically great chunk of your course. Balance your time between consistent revision and consolidation and vital leisure time for yourself.

Non-stop studying is not good for you. It’s mentally draining. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything straight away, afterall, you’re still on the first lap of A levels. You just need to keep on swimming.

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Negativity

We have all been exposed to negativity in some point in our lives. Negativity pulls us down to the ground, drags us in the mud, and sometimes scars our thoughts. Negativity is often the main obstruction in my mind.

We can’t avoid negativity, or protect ourselves from negativity. One way or another, negativity always hits us.

But we can deal with the aftermath. We can analyse the evidence of what has disheartened us to uncover the root cause of unhappiness and negativity.

Evaluating an investigation of your emotions can be quite an interesting experience. I’ve found that many of my investigations have resulted in lifechanging outcomes- a decision to simply abandon the cause of negativity.

Why don’t you try investigating your emotions?

The importance of escapism

There are things that happen around us that are beyond our control, such as war, death, crime, and poverty. There are other things that can happen, that we may have some influence in, such as falling out with a friend. All forms of these events can make us feel despondent, disconsolate, and alone. 

When you are in a state of desolation, it is necessary to find something to temporarily distract you, or you would just rapidly shatter. Escapism provides you with this distraction; escapism provides you with a net to catch and cradle you, if you fall.

Escapism can take place in any form, whether by reading or by listening to music. However, there are some dangerous forms of escapism (such as drug and alcohol misuse) that we must resist, even in times of desperation. We all know the physical, social, and psychological effects of drug and alcohol misuse- it provides you with a frayed net, with a giant hole in the middle. 

Escapism is good, and escapism is vital… But don’t become a victim of dangerous escapism.

People

Why do we need people around us? People can hurt us, upset us, or disappoint us… But let’s not forget that most people do more good than harm to us.

People offer us with new interpretations, to help us widen our own understanding of the world. People comfort us, in times of desperate need. People distract us, when distractions can actually be useful to us.

People provide us with company. Without people, you’d be lonely, and loneliness is the most agonising, exhausting, and draining emotion. Loneliness is trap. Loneliness makes you feel like you’re at the bottom of a dark ditch, alone. But people can rescue you, with their ladder and their light, from the bleakness of loneliness. 

Don’t be afraid to open up to the people around you.

Mindset

Having a mindset is crucial in being successful. Without a mindset, having goals and a purpose is pointless; your mindset is your drive in life. 

What is a mindset? A mindset is defined as being: the established set of attitudes held by someone. What is my mindset? Positivity is at the roots of my mindset.For me, my family, friends and aspirations to be successful keep me positive; thus, they branch out from my mindset. 

Find what makes you happy, and use it as the seed for your mindset.

Experiences

I have had experiences: happy, sad, scary, and motivating. I choose to never forget these experiences, as much as I’d love to abandon many of them, because all of my experiences have had lifechanging impacts on me. 

My experiences have shaped me into the person that I am today. Without my experiences, I wouldn’t have been as wise, as strong, nor as hardworking.

The most poweful experiences are the ones that make you put your own life into perspective, inevitably resulting in you renewing yourself as a person with an aim in life.The most poweful experiences are the ones that tattoo your purpose in the front of your mind.

We all have bad memories, or decisions that we now regret, but don’t waste the experience. Use your experience to get your life in shape, if it hasn’t already made you do so.

Positivity

From time to time, events in your life bring you down like a catapult. Sometimes it’s not just one event, but a collection of events that have layered on top of eachother- the cherry on top only initiates the toppling of the pile.

Times like these can make you feel disconsolate, alone, and unimportant. A life free from negativity is utopic, but we should all still try to remain positive. Sometimes the action of attempting to stay positive alone can make you feel sufficiently uplifted.

Even when things in life go wrong, you just need to keep swimming. If you don’t swim, you won’t get anywhere; but if you do swim, you may find that you are actually getting closer to your goal.

Your contribution

I live in my own bubble; a bubble where all I can see is suffering, despite my efforts to keep morale high. I read the news, watch the television and acknowledge ghost smiles. I feel disconsolate. 

I drown in the disappointment I have for myself and society as a whole on a daily basis. If we were all just a little bit more compassionate and empathetic, half of the problems in this world wouldn’t exist. Instead of taking responsibility for each member of society to tackle our first world problems, we choose to ignore these problems and live in our own little bubbles of oblivion. We give up on our world, before we even attempt to approach the problems in society. 

Last week I registered to become an organ donor, but I still feel disappointed in myself- I am one donor, and I can only help one patient. I cannot help everyone, and this fact deeply saddens me.

It is difficult to make a positive change in the world when you are standing alone, so I ask you, what can you do to positively contribute to the world…. And why are you not doing it now?