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Lucky 13: Starting the year strong

We were told throughout Year 12 to ‘get ready for Year 13’. Everyone around us has been telling me us months that Year 13 is the most difficult and stressful year. However, we hadn’t really fully understood how true that was going to be. After weeks of not thinking about school, homework, or A-levels, summer was finally over and the first of September hit like a brick. Suddenly it was the first day of school and we had homework, coursework due, and personal statements to write.

It can easily get overwhelming. You are suddenly put in a position where in a matter of months you need to make sure you can get into university and at the same time manage to not fall behind with your classes. This has definitely been the main struggle we have suffered from. Having to balance the many essays we have to write for US universities and all of the workload that still comes from our four A-levels. And what is more, it is still important to have a life outside of schoolwork: remember to go for a walk, hang out with your friends or read a book.

Year 13 is hectic. From the very first day, you need to give 101%. Having to do college research doesn’t mean that the rest of the world stops to wait for you. We all do four A-levels and many of us have coursework for three of them. Because of this, we have invariably spent our weekends doing research at the Thyssen for a Geography NEA, or spent multiple free periods writing English Literature essays, or afternoon after afternoon learning a Drama devised play, as well as hours of all the other homework. In some cases, we have been juggling all of the above. It’s a lot of work for one person, and this isn’t even considering extracurriculars, college research and essays.

Despite this, we don’t mind it too much because we like our A-levels. It’s important to enjoy what you are doing because even though that won’t reduce the workload, it helps immensely; it makes it less daunting. Nonetheless it’s important to take a minute to stop and relax. Here are a few of my recommendations:

⁃ Listen to some music

⁃ Start a new book

⁃ Watch a movie or TV show

⁃ Spend time with your family

⁃ Go out with your friends

⁃ Learn to cook a new dish

⁃ Go for a walk

The first term of Year 13 also comes along with something all students dread: predicted grades. When or even before getting them, some important decisions have to be made in relation to your choices. Changing into Spanish is a choice many students make in order to be able to maintain high grades or even get rid of a bad grade while maintaining 3 or 4 A-levels. Talking from personal experience, some of us have had to make this tough choice and make the change. It was the right decision, but for us it highlighted the importance of working hard in Year 12 in order to not have to drop subjects you like in Year 13 because of grades you need to get into university.

By Adriana Seage, Iria Viguera and Isabela Mayoral

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