How to make the most of your study leave!

My study leave for my A-levels started Monday, and as usual, I made a pretty clear idea of what I want to do between now and when my exams end. Here are a few tips how to profit best from these stressful weeks to come.

  1. Come up with a plan for what you want to do in a day. You don’t have to write it down, and you can make it as vague as you want, but it’s a good idea to know when you wake up in the morning what you’re going to do in a day, including free-time, eating lunch and what revision at what time.
  2. Don’t stay in bed too late! At this point, you will start to appreciate how much during school time you really get done during the day. For example, if you’re getting up after 10, it will be 11 after you’ve showered, got dressed and had a cup of tea before you start your studying, and then you’ll barely get started before it’s lunchtime! I like to get up between 8 and 9, so I can get up slowly and get things done in the morning.
  3. Pace yourself. Don’t do too much revision at once! Free-time is important, as it will make you feel good. Doing straight revision for several hours will make you extremely bored, and you’ll end up not concentrating, and therefore wasteyour time.
  4. Exercise is important. It increase air flow to your brain and helps you to think clearer and feel good. You only have to do something for 20 minutes, so you won’t get distracted for too long.
  5. Be sociable. I don’t mean spending the whole day with your friends or family, but talking to people for several minutes at a time will increase your articulacy, and the ability to quickly phrase words on paper as well.
  6. Tone down the social life. If you’re stopping out until late and drinking, you won’t be as switched on the next day, and you will definitely be tired! Also, alcohol aids memory loss, so you might want to tone that down, too. But don’t become a recluse, either. You’ll drive yourself mad!
  7. Keep fueled. Having snacks can work as a good incentive for studying, as you can tell yourself that you can have your next one after you’ve completed a certain section of work, or after you’ve learnt a certain amount of key terms off by heart. For a healthy option, try some plain popcorn or some grapes. For a naughty treat, try some Maltesers or Doritos.

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Tips for starting a new school

This is always a daunting prospect, whether it’s secondary school, college, high school or university. Here are some tips for making that first day so much easier:

  1. If you’re in to music, wear a band T-shirt on your first day. Someone may come up to you to compliment your good taste! If not, go up to someone yourself and compliment their good taste.
  2. Join a club. You’re bound to meet loads of people there!
  3. See a group of people having a good time? Don’t be shy, go up and talk to them! Just ask them politely if you can join in. If they say no, don’t try to force yourself on them, try someone else.
  4. Get your teachers’ or lecturers’ e-mail addresses. That way if you have a problem with the work set or in class,  you can ask them quickly and easily.
  5. Do some baking! Make some fairy cakes or some cookies to hand out. When people ask for one, ask for their name!
  6. Prepare the night before as much as you can. Put out your outfit, your books, maybe even your make-up. Changeable weather where you are? Put out two outfits!
  7. Dress smartly. It makes a good impression on potential friends, and on your teachers, too. A tea dress and some flats? A perfectly presentable outfit. Uggs and jogging bottoms? A definite no.
  8. Have to walk across a big campus? Wear sensible shoes. Obviously not hiking boots or anything, but shoes you know you’re comfortable in. No one wants to talk to the weird hobbly girl.
  9. Don’t look so miserable. Yes, you have to return to the grind after having a wonderful time off, but someone who smiles is a lot more approachable than someone who moans.
  10. Wear a quirky accessory. Or bring quirky stationary. They’re great conversation starters. Try a character pencil case, or a a fun hair bow.



What to do with your exam results

Today, I got my AS results. They were okay – not brilliant – but okay nonetheless. I had set myself up to fail, so it was a pleasant surprise when I opened up my letter to find that I had not failed a single class, including maths, which I had freaked out about.

The chances are, you have done exactly as expected: received the grades you were predicted, and are looking forward to pursuing the next part of your life, which you have spent the last year or two mapping out. However, there are two other ways your grades could have gone; better than expected, or worse.

If your exams had gone better than expected, congratulations! But what had you planned on doing now? If you’ve got a university acceptance already, that’s great, but is there a possibility that you could end up at an even better establishment? In the UK, UCAS run an “Extra” programme, which shows you all the places that are available in your area of study and match your results. If your GCSEs are better than expected, it’s really easy to get into a college of further education. You just have to act fast. As soon as you get your results, ring up all the local colleges and I’m sure there will be one that is right for you. Did you know that as long as your grades are the minimum requirement, they are not allowed to turn you way?

If your exam results weren’t quite as spectacular as you hoped they would be, don’t panic! Believe me, I’ve been there! What was your plan? Can it be altered? UCAS’ “Extra” programme can also help students look for places in universities with lower grade requirements than the ones you may have initially chosen. If university or college is no longer an option, maybe you could try a gap year. You could have so much fun travelling, or you could get a job and attempt to retake some of your classes from the previous year. You never know, having some extra life skills could enhance your CV or resume, and may even get you accepted a year later to university. There are also foundation degrees, which are year-long qualifications at university which could help you decide if university is really the right path for you. If it is, you can continue straight away onto the undergraduate course. After your GCSEs, you could take the level below in your choice qualification. For example, instead of doing a B-tec level 3 you could do a level 2 or 1 instead. Although it adds another year onto your study, it’s worth it to get exactly where you want to go.

I hope this has been useful to you. If you need some more advice, don’t forget to e-mail me. I love receiving your messages!

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Imaginary shopping spree: quirky dorm room additions!

Going to college this year? Liven up your boring room with these crazy pieces:

Dorm room novelties

These test tube shot glasses are awesome for parties! Urban Outfitters.

I have so many USB sticks I don’t know what to do with them! This USB hub would help, though. Fredflare.

This crazy phone from Fredflare is perfect for chatting to overbearing family members on.

Flowers are a sure-fire way to brighten up a drab dorm room. Having them in a can is a fabulous space-saving idea. Fredflare.

This “All out of” pad is perfect to attach to the fridge in the kitchen to keep track of what you’re out of. Also Fredflare.

Spending so much time with the same group of people can allow certain problems to arise. Help get them out in the air with the “Roommate Citations” pad. Fredflare.

This Moomin bowl is really pretty! You almost wouldn’t want to eat your cereal out of it. Artbox.

This Miffy lamp is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Perfect for a desk or bedside table. Artbox.

A really quirky laundry hamper from Modcloth.

I love this panda plate and cup set from Modcloth. So cute!

These fairy lights from Modcloth would really set the mood.

A great toothbrush holder for the bathroom. All of your roommates will be dying for a spot! Modcloth.

A tidy cutlery set. Also from Modcloth.

Dorm room novelties by smellyeli on Polyvore.com

Imaginary shopping spree: School bags

It’s a nightmare trying to find the perfect sturdy bag for all your school supplies; you would not believe the number of bags I have been through since I started secondary school! I tend to over-pack, so need something with a good, firm base.

School bags
School bags by smellyeli featuring back pack bags
This Domo rucksack from tillys.com is so cute! (£34)
This tote bag from Topshop has a really weird print. I love it! It has such a sturdy build for a tote bag. (£28)
This black and floral tote bag from Topshop is perfect for your books and pencil case. (£14)
A cute and quirky satchel from Modcloth is really fun! ($70)
This clean and tidy tote bag from Topshop will go with everything! (£10)
A comfy, slouchy backpack from ASOS. (£35)
This grey satchel from ASOS is really smart and will go with everything! (£70)
I love this brown leather satchel from ASOS! It’s got a great vintage look. I would definitely buy this myself. (£45)
A fun, red Hello Kitty backpack from Hot Topic. ($30)
This space-themed backpack from lazyoaf.co.uk is the perfect size for your notebooks and folders. (£55)
This owl backpack from Hot Topic is seriously so freaking awesome! ($40)
This brown leather shopper from ASOS is a brilliant size and bound to last the entire school year. (£60)

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