An Attempt at Organisation // aka #evestudies

an attempt at organisation evestudies

It’s getting close to that time again, the one we all love…exams! *manic laughter* I’m not taking any life-changing exams this summer, but I do have some GCSE mock sort of things, and I also need to be consolidating my work from the last year since we’re halfway through the course already. ARGH.

I’ve done internal exams every summer since I started secondary school, and I’ve vaguely developed an exam technique, but since work has got more serious this year I thought it would be a good idea to ACTUALLY PLAN WHAT I’M GOING TO DO during the Intense Revision Period™. And what better what to cement my plans than by writing a blog post about them? (I also plan to take some pretty pictures of revision materials, because mmmm fineliners.)

If you’re a little curious, the subjects I’m taking in addition to English and Maths are triple Sciences (or whatever it’s called now, I’m not sure haha), Latin, Spanish, Music, and History. Out of all of these, I think I’m probably going to have to work the most on History, Maths, and Latin, but that’s just a guess!

So it’s currently the Easter holidays, and over this period I’m hoping to:

  • look at all the revision lists & specifications, marking how confident I feel about topics
  • check what revision resources my school has put up and, if necessary, print them out
  • organise my folders in a logical manner (not looking at my maths folder….ahaha…)
  • ensure I have all my notes or ask a friend
  • sort out what and how I am going to revise during the Intense Revision Period™ (i.e. revision timetable)
  • write some blog posts for when I get super busy and don’t have the time to love you all *cries*

In addition to this, I also have some homework for various subjects — which includes memorising these summaries we call blob sheets for one of my History topics, eek — but that’s basically what I’m doing for the next little while.

Because I was feeling ~artsy~ this morning, I got out one of the many journals I have sitting in my drawer and made a list of these things for all my subjects! And then I spent like half an hour looking at pretty pictures of bullet journals, productivity amirite. I’m hoping to keep a vaguely regular list of things I need to do in there, and with any luck I’ll also put my revision timetable in there when the time comes. I may as well make work at least a little fun, right?

This has been a fairly short post, but hopefully I’ll be updating you with what I’ve been doing and various methods for studying I’m using in the future! I mean, maybe. I am hoping that writing this will sort of motivate me to keep vaguely organised and not just manically try to scribble down stuff.

how do you study? are you taking any exams soon? do you also have a love of pretty stationery?!?

But Netball’s For Girls! // gender and school sport

I go to a co-ed school. Mostly, it’s pretty good at being welcoming to all genders — we aren’t separated for any academic classes, and you aren’t particularly encouraged/discouraged into anything because of your gender. This is with the obvious exception of sport.

For some reason I’ve always directed my general frustration with school at sport. I’ve never been good at team sports, so I spent most of my primary school days being told to practice shooting in the corner as the A team was coached. It’s definitely better now, but there’s still a massive gap between boys’ and girls’ sport.We do play hockey, tennis, and water polo mixed, which is great. But continuing down the list: girls do netball, dance, fitness, and rounders. Boys do football, fives, cricket, and occasionally softball. I quite honestly cannot fathom the reasons for this…?

I often see the ‘males have a biological advantage over females’ argument put forward. I don’t actually know the science of that, but top male athletes do perform better than female athletes. Still: I would like to know the strength required to play fives. Obviously women could never be physically capable of patting a ball against a wall. It couldn’t possibly be because fives is a sport almost exclusively invented and played by public schoolboys. Of course not. -_-

It’s not just girls wanted to play ‘male’ sports. I know a lot of boys who’ve expressed interest in playing netball or rounders. (Although there are probably also many who would only play it as a joke, so that’s not the best argument.) I detest the idea that girls must do fitness but boys are…I don’t know, already fit. Encouraging gender stereotypes doesn’t help anyone, and it certainly doesn’t teach values of equality to your pupils.

And  all this discussion discounts the existence of non-binary pupils. Let’s just remember that non-binary genders aren’t even recognised under UK law, fabulous! Which apparently doesn’t result in ‘any specific detriment’. Apart from the obvious detriment of being forced to choose a gender that doesn’t represent you, and effectively being told that your identity isn’t as worthy as someone else’s. Not being able to access the right healthcare. Not being able to choose the correct title. Not being able to apply for jobs, courses, use public services because they require presentation of ID that only has two gender options. (I found some of these in this article, where you can also find many other quotes about the Ministry of Justice’s statement and living as a non-binary person in Britain.) It also means that there’s very little awareness of non-binary identities, and schools probably aren’t going to start doing things to support pupils who don’t identify as either male or female.

Sports, like many others things, is just very linked to the gender binary, since the divisions are based on sex and physiological advantage. Maybe with the exception of roller derby, which I really recommend you check out because it altogether seems pretty cool. I don’t know how we’d solve that. I probably wouldn’t want all my sports lessons mixed. I know that I’d be uncomfortable around many boys, because they have harassed me and I really just don’t like them as people. (I guess I deal with them in class, though?) A lot of young people — and above, too — are embarrassed of their bodies. They don’t want to be around the ‘opposite’ gender, and it’s difficult to just force that to happen, you know? Maybe it’s better when you’re in a sports team with fellow players who respect you, but I’m unlikely to ever be in a position. But then again: mixed teams are going well, so maybe we should just take the lessons together and be done with it.

It’s difficult. I know that I’m pointing out everything that’s wrong and not providing very good solutions. In general the state of Britain and current UK politics is pretty depressing right now. Still: to be honest, teaching fives to girls and netball to boys wouldn’t be that difficult. Neither would legally recognising non-binary genders. *coughs* But though I don’t know if there’s a perfect solution to gender and sport, I hope that it’s something we continue to explore and improve.

Good Grades = Job = Money = Happiness?

image

I recently read Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence. I thought it was a fabulous novel — I loved the characters and the plot and I could talk a lot more about those — but the message of education particularly caught me/

Frances, the protagonist, has only one goal: studying English at Cambridge university. It’s all she’s ever wanted. And…her story really struck a chord with me. I’m quite an academic person, and I tend to be good at exams. But I don’t feel — like I’ve worked that hard for that, you know? Obviously I do revise. Yet I it isn’t like like I’ve poured my soul into it. I hate that my academic success can be the only thing that defines me. I’m the smart, quiet girl.

Of course I’m incredibly grateful that by some miracle I slightly understand exams. (I feel extremely arrogant for saying that. I REALLY DON’T MEAN IT TO SOUND THAT WAY.) So much of our life depends on them, yet I don’t feel particularly pleased with the school system; even as it’s benefitting me. I don’t like that my entire life is focused and depends on a few hours in an exam hall. I’ll be the first to stress that being good at exams is not the same as being intelligent. People tell me that “It’s easy for me to say,” since I’m the one getting good grades. But I don’t feel intelligent because I made up some waffle English analysis. I really dislike seeing that genuinely clever people are upset by feeling worthless just because they didn’t get a good mark in an exam. It seems incredibly upsetting and anxiety-provoking.

A lot of people think I love English. It’s true that I do love words. That does not mean I  want to study English at A-Level or university. I don’t enjoy analysing books. I like writing, but I feel like it’s something you can hone alone. As far as I can see creativity is sucked more and more out of the school English curriculum as you progress. I don’t want to spoil Radio Silence for you, but I really appreciated the message that uni isn’t for everyone. It’s okay to want to do other stuff. You don’t have to take the one that will look best to other people.

I would like my entire school life to not be focused around getting a job. Of course that’s super important to support yourself as an adult, but I’m not living just to earn money and survive. I’m not learning just to earn money. If I enjoy a subject, odds are it’s because I’m interested. I just want to learn it! I want to make new discoveries and find elegant methods and analysis or ANYTHING. Doing everything for a job is like…doing everything for money. They’re very closely linked. Having a job and money does not equal happiness.

We all like books about adventures, or with wonderful character relationships. Characters who just sit there and work hard are deemed boring goody two-shoes, even if we’re told studying is a good thing. And I know life isn’t a book. I wish people would remember that life isn’t spending all your time in a textbook, either.

It’s amazing that I’ve had the oppurtunities I do — I mean, I go to a good school (and I can go to school). I know I’m addressing all the problems with no solutions, but still: I feel like there should be some better way to do thing. With less of a focus on academia and exams, or something. School can be so stress-inducing. (It’s probably the number one source of anxiety for me, at least.) I wish that we weren’t told that we have to do everything in order to go to uni and get a good job and earn money. Our lives are not defined by a letter on a piece of paper.*

*OR MAYBE A NUMBER. If they change the grade system like they’re planning to, because everyone needs confusing more.  Ahem.

what do you think about school? do you find exams stressful? have you read radio silence? (YOU ALL TOTALLY SHOULD; it’s fabulous.)

“I Want To Be a Writer.”

i want to be a writer

If you look on my social media profiles and whatnot, you might spot that the word ‘writer’ usually features. I mean, technically I don’t yet have a cohesive and linear novel *coughs*Ineedtostopprocrastinating*coughs* but I like to mess around with words. Somewhere along the way I assumed the title of writer. I like it. I like to call myself a writer. General public opinion of writers seems to be that they are be mythical, sleep-deprived & manic tea and/or coffee drinkers, which suits me just fine. 😉

I don’t ever introduce myself as a writer. I don’t even really discuss it in face-to-face conversations, like, at all. I see people who have brainstormed awesome things with their writer friends and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I guess I don’t know.

I mean, I wouldn’t introduce myself as a writer, because most teenagers don’t announce themselves as their profession when you meet them. (In my experience. Maybe in the far reaches of not-my-one-school this is a thing??) But back in my wee days of primary school, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was a pretty standard playground question. I said wanted to be a cat breeder. I think that says it all, really. 😛

Jokes aside, I also often said that I wanted to be a writer. Whilst it was true that I didn’t have a cohesive, linear novel then either – um, I really doubt I wrote anything actually longer than about a thousand words – I feel like it was more okay to say that then. I was far more confident about professing my love of books and stardust and magical worlds. Adults probably shared knowing looks but, whatever; I either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

Ah, the days of that. Now career choices are actually looming and I’m terrified. I don’t know what I want to do. I like writing – enough to call myself a writer – but I know some people don’t think it’s a proper goal. That it’s too difficult.

I know writing is super hard! I get this! I am the one doing it, after all. I understand that getting published is difficult and being successful even more so. I am 100% okay with writing on the side of something else, in the cracks. I do that right now. (Well, I at least try to.) I’m a bit of a Cath; I could see myself just spending uni writing and hoping I can write for another for years after that. Or not. Writing is pretty solitary. Mystical. Like a lone unicorn. BEHOLD MY MANE

Someday I’m going to write a book, and some people will read it. That’s the one thing in my future that I’m sure I’m going to make happen. What I love about it is that it’s something you can work at; I don’t know, I feel like a lot of opinions are based on whether you have ‘talent’ at, like, 14. Maybe there’s a certain amount of inner love for words, and to me, when I read blogs, it reads as if some people just have a natural eloquence, but you can improve. As long as you love writing, you can write. You aren’t – pardon the pun, hehe – written off just because you aren’t good at waffling about a literary device.

So I don’t say that I’m a writer very much in face-to-face conversation anymore. I’m not very good at navigating rocky conversational waters. I tell people that I have no plans for the future – which is mostly accurate – and then we move on. I breathe a sigh of relief. (That is, until the subject returns 24 hours later.)

7 Pointless Ways to Procrastinate

7 pointless ways to procrastinate

Procrastinating is an art. Though social media is excellent, to be a true procrastinator you must also be able to perform your art in a variety of different ways – and if you have yet to embrace these during the joyful exam period, then here! Have a list that will effectively finish all productive revision!

(If you, like, me are actually in exam period right now then I’d probably advise not implementing any activities mentioned. Just saying.)

1. Play some oldey-timey games
Don’t tell me there wasn’t a fight for the one library computer in after school club. Seriously. That one with the green pipe and the bouncy ball one was my childhood (I’m very upset that I can no longer find it). If your memory is mysteriously blank then I’d suggest starting with Fireboy and Watergirl, Circle the Cat or Bloons Tower Defence. The sound of popping virtual balloons is strangely therapeutic.

2. Do some dumb calculations
‘How many books are in the library?’ ‘How many DVDs do I own?’ ‘How many teachers are teaching in my school at any one time?’ etc.

3. Find out dumb records
Again, the nostalgia from endless Guinness Book of World Records. What, you don’t have the newest edition? Never fear. The internet is your friend. My search history favourites include ‘longest piece of literature in the world’ (a Super Smash Bros fanfiction that clocks in at over 4 million words) ‘most married person’ (Linda Wolfe, with 23 marriages) and ‘farthest squirting of milk from the eye’ (279.5cm by Ilker Yilmaz).

4. Visit some pointless websites
My suggestions are Dot on the Horizon, Click to Remove, How Many Goats Are You Worth? and Please Wait.

5. Watch Pointless
You can say you’re watching ironically and because of my excellent pun, but we all know the truth. Pointless is the only game show worth any one’s time.

6. Find a playlist for every single action of the day
‘Saturday morning’, ‘Saturday breakfast’, ‘shower’, ‘getting ready’, ‘homework’, ‘making lunch’, ‘Saturday lunch’, ‘Oh look it’s started raining’, ‘Good job I don’t have to go out now’, ‘Let’s stay inside and watch Doctor Who instead’ ‘Wait, I have to publish this blog post first’ etc.

7. Learn how to say something in a language you’re not fluent in
This is probably the most productive items on this list. Quotes from your favourite books are especially fun – if you don’t want to buy a whole book and compare editions then you can get lots of sample chapters from Amazon.

I’m getting along well with my revision, as you can see. 😉 (No, seriously. I really am sorry for the lack of posts and such. It looks like this month is going to continue in this direction, unfortunately.)

Are any of you revising for exams at the moment? Is your studying going better than mine? 😛

I’m Scared of Being a Teenager

I don’t think I’m very good at being your typical teenager. Granted, I still have some time to turn all rebellious and moody, but I don’t see myself becoming like that. I also don’t see myself having a big falling out with my parents, or going to parties, or whatever else I’m supposed to do. Those things scare me. That’s why I like to stay in my little idyllic den of books and blogging and other fun things.

I think, though, the number one thing I don’t like to talk about is relationships. It seems like relationships are the number one sign of a confident, popular and mature person or whatever. Yes, I can enjoy them in books, but they have to be written well – the reason that I love Rainbow Rowell’s books is that focus on the personality rather than the ‘OMG super hot’ side. I just don’t really understand people going on about physical appearances.

It’s not that I don’t like looking at people. This might sound slightly odd (I don’t mean it in that way?) but I just like looking at everyone. Everyone is just so beautiful. There’s too much beauty. But it’s not like appearance is a choice. The reason I get mad at ‘love at first sight’ is because you don’t freaking know the person. If I fall in love, I’d hope it was for personality. The idea of liking someone based largely on their appearance is foreign to me.

It isn’t I’m not keen the thought of love, either. Sure, I get a little embarrassed, but I want to experience the things I read about. I’ve fallen in love with poems and characters a thousand times, drunkenly turned their pages and giddily danced around vacant staircases for joy, but never for anything substantial. Never for anything real.

God, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I hope that I work myself out sometime. I don’t know if things will be better after school or not, because I’m scared for the future. I feel like I’m both too old and too young for my own skin. I’m bloody terrified of some of the people at school, but at least they’ve got themselves together. (Even if it’s a kind of dark and twisted mess.) See, I just want to talk about poetry and books and art and sing in the sunshine and travel the world and cook and laugh. I don’t want to make myself into something I’m not just to impress other people.

I don’t know if I’ll get more confident as I grow or whether I’ll just be stuck behind on this different path that it appears I chose long ago. It’s like I’m walking a world away from the people I used to be friends with.

School feels like it’s the centre of the world right now. I know it isn’t, but it’s sometimes hard to remember that.

An Irritating Comment

When I hear people saying stuff like this, usually in the changing rooms, then it irritates me. A lot.

“Ugh, I’m so pale.”
Okay, so: a) you’re not pale, you’re actually tanned, and you know it, b) I’m not really seeing why ‘everyone has to be tanned’ and c) if you’re saying that you think being pale is ugly, then what are you saying about me?