So, after years of hard work and stress, your GCSEs are out of the way. Now, you can look forward to studying the subjects that you actually want at A-lLevel or as BTECs. Whether you stay at your current school or move to a separate sixth form or college to do your post-16 qualifications, your move from GCSEs and high school will feel like a big jump. Don’t worry! Here are my tips which helped me adjust to Year 12 and enjoy my experience.
Shifting Friend Groups.
Don’t feel overwhelmed with the new people that you’ll meet! I was happy that my high school friends had moved with me to our new sixth form, but I hadn’t anticipated that we’d be seeing each other a lot less due to subject and timetable differences. This encouraged me to seek out new people within my classes. And I’m so glad I did! Not only did I get out of my high school box, but it allowed me to understand my subject work better as I had a group of friends that I could discuss the task with.
Also - don’t feel daunted about approaching people either. A long-lasting bond can be formed over something simple as ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ or ‘That was a tough lesson, wasn’t it?’. You’ll be surprised.
Figuring out how to manage work, rest, and your down-time.
Teachers will recommend timetables which can be helpful, but when you’re in your first term of college and don’t exactly know what you’ll be doing (and when), they can be hard to stick to.
You have a few options to get things under control! I found that more regular activities like visiting grandparents or football training can be scheduled, giving you time for your studies. For some, a daily to-do list of tasks which you can add to or take away from can be helpful.
Your teachers will likely recommend that in a typical week you spend 3 or 4 hours per subject, with a little more around exam time. That can include looking over that lesson’s notes or slides, it has been proven that students forget most of what they’ve learnt at school once they return home!
However you choose to manage your time, the most important thing is don’t forget to rest! You can’t do any revising if you’re tired.
Make the most of it all.
Your college will offer loads of activities and clubs to get involved with.
Personally, I’m not a sporty person but I know many people who are part of our college sports teams, or as part as their Duke of Edinburgh Award which has three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold), which helps you discover new talents through sport, volunteering, and more.
I’m more into the arts - I’m the deputy editor at my college’s newspaper group, which I love because the team gets to discuss current issues with other students. Clubs like this can be a great place to destress after studying and give you another great reason to get out of bed in the morning!
Plus, you’ll get skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and debate, which are very beneficial as you become a mature member of society. Plus - they’ll be great for when you write your university personal statement!
Embrace the change - don’t fear it!
Humans have always experienced change, within themselves or in their environment. Had you asked me when I just finished my GCSEs if I thought that I would change as a person, I’d have laughed!
But, with a new environment, subjects and teachers, you’re bound to discover new things which you wouldn’t have imagined - and that’s exciting and totally ok!
For example, taking A-Level Law was a great change for me as it helped me discover new situations and debate them with my teacher and classmates - something which I was already very passionate about which now has an outlet.
Some final advice:
To finish, congratulate yourself on getting to this stage! You’ve come so far.
The world is your oyster, waiting for you to discover your interests and develop. There may be hiccups but feel reassured that you can discuss any concerns with people that you trust, like friends, teachers, your mentor, or a student mental health team at your college. They’re here to support you!