Sixth form is nearly coming to an end, exams are about to start and how do I feel? Exhausted. I hit the biggest brick wall I ever have done a few weeks ago and found myself saying 'I can't do it' and really meaning it. What is 'it'? I hear you scream. Well 'it' is; revision, going to lessons, understanding content, going to school, making it through the day. I was so fed up and had given up on myself. I went to lessons wishing them to be over once I sat in my seat. I found it hard to read big chunks of text and comprehend what was going on (English, History and Psychology= endless words; long words, key words and words that I'm sure were made up just to annoy me- stichomythia anyone?). I had to do a quick breathe in and count to 10 before I entered the school building repeating to myself 'today will be a happy day'. I was so done.
I don't usually get fed up of school for more than a couple of days, I love school but recently the sound of my alarm in the morning fills me with dread (and I have a pretty happy sounding alarm!). I have cried so much over the past few weeks and had an overwhelming sense of emptiness. You know the kind of emptiness you feel when you are doing everything you're supposed to but feel like it will count for nothing. Or the emptiness you feel when ,despite wanting to revise, you don't do anything because you don't have any motivation.
When I got sick and tired of feeling so rubbish I finally confessed my biggest fear about exams and leaving school to a friend saying (all my words punctuated by sniffles and tears) 'I think I've set my standards too high and I really don't know if I can do this'. She gave me some words of encouragement and said that I should be happy that I'm crying because it shows that I still care. And in a really strange way, that was true. I really do care. I care a lot. Not just about myself, about everyone. We've all worked so hard to get through basically 11 years of education, we got through GCSEs, AS levels (or first year of IB) and this is the final hurdle, the final jump and it's about mustering up the courage to just go for it.
In my incredibly brief time doing athletics (I got bitten by Olympic fever in 2012) I tried hurdles. There was one hurdle (just one!) and the coach wanted us to try and jump over it. It was the scariest thing because even before ATTEMPTING to jump over I created a whole narrative that made jumping (or is it 'hurdling'???) even scarier. I am going to fall, I'm going to trip up and embarrass myself, I am going to bash into this thing and it's going to break. This is going to be a disaster. But I did jump, the hurdle fell (but I didn't), no one laughed and I just had to try again.
I think so many of us are approaching sixth form the way I approached hurdles before finally taking a leap of faith. We see the obstacle i.e. exams and before even trying to jump over we've created 10 million reasons why we're definitely going to fail. We are telling ourselves that we've; set our standards too high, don't have enough time, aren't smart enough and that all our efforts, big and small, are not going to count for anything. I have definitely felt and said all of these things over the past few days, let alone the past few months and although it's scary I am determined to get through this.
I will not lie and say that I feel extremely confident about my exams (and I guess I was waiting to feel like that before I wrote anything) but I'm trying to take everyday as it comes and pace myself. If you're anything like me, you take a very 'go hard or go home' approach to revision and school and then you run full pelt into a brick wall and it's more like 'went hard and was sent home with a concussion'. But now I'm in recovery and determined to keep working hard until I kiss exams and A-Levels goodbye.
I was given a little pep talk by a teacher (after finally asking for help and telling someone I was struggling to find a balance between revision, lessons, preparing for retakes and keeping myself sane) and she said that no matter what happens you want to open your results knowing that you tried your absolute best. That's what I'm holding on to now. I'm trying to convince myself that I can do this and I will succeed and I'm also trying to keep calm and I urge you to do the same.
I know there is pressure from so many angles when preparing for exams but sometimes you have to remember that you are doing these exams for yourself and no one else. You are working hard for yourself. Those grades or numbers you get at the end are going to be yours and you want to know that whatever happens you tried your best.
So let's keep at it, keep working hard and BOSS these exams!!!
Good luck everyone and to all my beautiful IB people who have started their exams already all the best in everything.
WE CAN DO THIS GUYS.
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