Monday, 12 December 2016

School Newspaper Disaster

Started a school newspaper with little success. It was all a bit disastrous. The thing is, with a school newspaper you can't really say anything bad about the school. I did not take any notice of this. Me and a friend wrote a few slightly shocking yet quite frankly hilarious articles. We tried to sell the paper around the school for 30p but that didn't really work as no body bought it. So on Friday we decided we would stick the papers round school for everyone to see, free of charge. We even stuck one on the reception board. Everyone was bound to see it when it was stuck there. You couldn't possibly miss it. What was I thinking?! you may ask... well, let's just say I'm a bit of a rebel.

It's now Monday and I'm sat here feeling like the most rebellious person in the school. This morning I had to spend half an hour in the deputy head's office. Yep, he didn't like the newspaper. And neither did the head teacher. The deputy head said I was lucky I wasn't facing a detention with the head teacher. I just sat there with an air of cool nonchalance as the deputy explained, or should I say, shouted about how the newspaper was quite outrageous and that I never had official permission to publish it. I explained I did (because I did)... next thing I know the teacher I had asked for permission from turns up to the office telling fibs, saying she didn't actually give me permission to put the newspaper out around the school. I said coolly to this teacher that she did actually give me permission and that she had said she really liked it and thought it was 'marvelous'. In a rather flustered manner, she denied everything.

I said that the newspaper was 'just a bit of fun' and that the stories have to be exciting so people actually read the newspaper. The deputy head just got more angry then and said it was not acceptable, also mentioning how I can do a newspaper but only if it is checked and edited by a teacher. Forget it. No more newspaper. It was fun whilst it lasted. I don't want a teacher editing it and making it boring. No one wants to read a boring newspaper.

So it was all a bit disastrous, very short lived and quite frankly hilarious in the fact all the teachers, including the head teacher, got immensely cheesed off by it all.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Live From the Sixth Form Common Room

Sat here in the common room, next to my good friends eating a bourbon biscuit. Lovely. Don't really have anything to write about so I just thought I would 'report live' from the Sixth Form common room.

oops...I seem to have lost the front cover of 'The Great Gatsby'... English Lit teacher won't be too pleased.

Girl called Jemma just walked into the room. Thought she had moved schools. My friend keeps saying 'Is that Jemma?! Thought she moved schools!?'. I reply 'well it doesn't look like it!'. Just finished my hot drink. Bummer. My friend is trying to finish her chemistry homework. Lucky me hasn't got any work. Well...there is that essay I could be doing... Girls on far right of the room keep laughing at something like a bunch of wild banshees. My friend is trying to do her work for goodness sake! I keep talking to her distracting her too though... hehe. Two people are having a rather hilarious argument in the corner of the room. A fight could kick off. Also, someone just told me that a few girls got in trouble after going to Tescos in their double study period this morning. Your not allowed to go out of school during study periods (which is stupid, I think we should be allowed out). Everyone is saying that they think the girls are currently getting shouted at in the deputy head's office because we all haven't seen them since they came back from their outing carrying 5 Tesco bags full of food and drink.

And that's the news from the sixth form common room.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

I Could Have Been on TV

As part of Bitesize's GCSE mentoring programme, the BBC were looking for students who had previously done their GCSEs to give advice to this year's GCSE students. I applied. And I got a call from a lovely woman who went by the name of Sarah Jane. I had an interview over the phone. An awful lot of questions were asked. I said that I would love to mentor this year's GCSE students and give them my help and advice. I said my key bit of advice is not to stress and not to panic. 'It's not worth the stress' I had said. She seemed more than delighted over the phone, especially when we had a good laugh about a funny exam story I had told her. She seemed more than pleased with me and my rather relaxed attitude. She said that I could be on TV and possibly the radio. She said I could expect a call back in two weeks.

It's now been two weeks.

Where's my call back!? It's utterly shambolic I say! I don't really see why they wouldn't call me back. It's all rather disappointing. I guess there must have been better candidates for the job. Fair enough BBC... although I think you should have given me a call. I wish the successful candidates the best of luck. I guess I shall not be on TV just yet. Perhaps I'll get another chance sooner or later.

Sixth Form

Update: Sixth form is no different from GCSEs. There's a bit more independence. I can now use the sixth form common room. Brilliant. I'm doing the subjects I actually want to do. Really brilliant. No more stupid science or monotonous maths. Now getting the bus to school. Top-notch. Have met some new people who have joined the sixth form. Lovely. The work load is not as bad as I thought it would be. A few more essays. But more time to do the work. Smashing. Overall, it's not a huge shock to the system. It's not much of a step up at all.

The Summer Holiday

Forgot to post this ages ago when the summer had ended...

Ten whole weeks of summer Holiday. Blimey. That's an awful long summer isn't it? The thing is though, now that I'm at the end of it, it doesn't seem long at all. If anything, it feels like it has been a relatively short holiday. How I wish the holiday could go on for a few more weeks. After completing my GCSEs I felt like I really had to make the most of these holidays and make it a summer I couldn't forget. The first week I have to admit I was lazy. I didn't do a lot. Then all of a sudden I decided to get off my buttocks and do something with my summer. I got a job, I went abroad, I met up with old friends, I made new friends and I gained new hobbies.

Now, at the end of this holiday I am just starting to realize that I have a very big change right around the corner. A-levels. Oh how I can't wait for A-levels to commence. GCSEs were fine and hardly stressful at all, I went and got my results the other day and I was pleasantly surprised with my grades. But A-levels is when the work steps it up a whole new level. Am I even ready for A-levels? Perhaps not. It will be a definite shock after GCSEs and the nice relaxing summer holiday, a bit like having a fish slapped across your face multiple times but at the same time the fish is shouting at you 'welcome to the harsh reality of Sixth Form!' (yes, I know fish can't talk).

Sunday, 28 August 2016

What is Art?

Damien Hirst's 'Away from the flock'

According to the English dictionary, Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as a painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. But when we look past the dictionary definition of art we find that art really can be anything. Just take a look round the Tate Modern and you will realize this soon enough. Last year I went to the Tate Modern with my school as part of my Art GCSE course and as we walked around the gallery with our clip boards and pencils making rough sketches of the artworks we saw, I remember thinking 'is this really art?'. I was seeing so called 'art' such as a slit in a canvas (below) and messy paint splatters such as Jackson Pollock's artwork. I then remember thinking 'if this is art then anyone can be an artist'.
'Spatial Concept Waiting'
by Lucio Fontana
I could do exactly what Tracy Emin did and recreate my messy bed and call it art. That would make me an artist, just like Tracy Emin. I could get a massive canvas and start splatting paint all over it randomly and thoughtlessly and call it art. That would make me an artist, just like Jackson Pollock. I could cut a sheep in half like Damian Hurst did and... well you probably get the gist of it now. The fact that the artwork (above) was in the Tate Modern was quite shocking to me. Anyone can put a slit in a canvas and call it 'art'. So this brings me to the conclusion that art can be anything as long as it's an artist's state of expression or if it has a sort of profound meaning behind it. So I could ultimately empty a bag of rubbish onto the floor, arrange the rubbish items in a creative and meaningful way and call it art. Modern art really is strange.

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'
In the 1700s and 1800s art nearly always used to consist of paintings with fine details like the post impressionist Van Goph's 'Starry Night'. Why is this painting so famous? Because it's got Van Gogh's unique and intricate detail and style. It probably doesn't have a pretentious meaning behind it, it's just pleasing to the eye. And this also relates to other famous paintings like Monet's 'Water Lilies' or Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. Back in the times of the 1700s and 1800s you really had to be a good painter to be a good artist. Art really has come a long way throughout the ages. It's very rare these days to see a cave drawing or an elaborate painting of a nude body. Today, art is a lot more abstract... you actually have to think about what you are seeing... especially if you are in the Tate Modern.

Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies for Figures at a Base of a Crucifixion'

I personally like the artwork from Francis bacon (above) due to the abstract, unrealistic images which portray the artist's impression of morbid images. The painting above was created in 1944 and at that time many people were shocked to see such a strange, blunt painting. I personally love art which makes the viewer shocked or taken aback, just like Francis Bacon or modern street artist Banksy's work. But this is what I think good art is, you may completely disagree with me. 

Image result for tate modern art mondrian
Mondrian's 'Composition No.III with Red, Yellow and Blue'

So this brings us back to the vital question 'what is art?'. This question has come up so often and many people have said various different answers. Many people will argue that art simply cannot be defined. I think it can be anything which expresses yourself (with an idea, view point or an emotion) through a product made with aesthetic or communicative purpose. With this said, anyone can be an artist and anyone can create art.

Friday, 19 August 2016

A Rant About Plane Journeys

Plane journeys. in my opinion, really aren't that amazing. Actually, I don't think there's anything amazing about them at all. What is there to like about being squashed like a sardine, into an uncomfortable seat in a tin can for long hours, experiencing so many irritating and exasperating things that could potentially drive you mad?

After getting on the plane, dragging your heavy hand luggage across the aisle you can finally take a seat and relax after a very exhausting few hours walking around an airport, having security checks and waiting in long queues. However, your time relaxing in your seat only lasts as long as the time to realize that you are going to be stuck in this seat for the next few unbelievably dull and protracting hours. And then you see who exactly you have the good fortune of sitting next to. It really could be anyone. An over protective mother with a screaming baby or some idiot who snores as loud as an air horn and has teeth like a burnt out fuse box. I think the most nightmarish person to be sat next to would be someone who looks and acts like Jabba the Hutt. 

Then come the fretting emergency demonstrations which suggest that there is actually a good chance the plane could crash. Let's face it, if the plane is going to crash a safety jacket and an oxygen mask isn't really going to save you. An emergency exit wouldn't either really because if you jumped out as the plane was heading to the ground to crash then chances are you would fall to your death unless a massive inflatable was waiting for you on the ground. It's at the point when your watching the safety demonstrations that you realize you probably shouldn't have watched 'Final Destination' or read about the Busby Babes crash... And then comes the take off where you suck vigorously at a sweet and then you are officially travelling in a gigantic metal bird. After takeoff you try and enjoy the journey, go on electronic devices, read, eat or sleep.

But there are many distractions, noises and irritating things going on around you in a plane. People coughing and sneezing, screaming babies, children kicking your chair and people snoring are the main ones. And then there is the plane itself which makes an awful lot of terrifying racket. It almost sounds like there is something wrong with the plane's engine... it's like a strange mechanical hiccuping sound. I find that the best way to pass the time on a plane is to watch a downloaded sitcom but you will probably find it hard to hear the sitcom due to the frequent noise of the plane and the people on it which includes the hostesses asking people if they want tea, coffee or a packet of mini cheddars. And this brings me to the food. In my opinion, the food on a plane usually looks like something which has been mushed up in a bucket. It's a mix between the classic old school dinners and the stodgy left over's from last nigh't meal. And even if the food tastes somewhat decent, you still have children who sneeze or make irritating noises and even run down the aisle. But behind the children are the parents and when parent's don't control their offspring this completely infuriates me. 

And finally, my worst hate of planes is turbulence. I've had a few bad experiences with plane turbulence. One flight I was on had such bad turbulence that people were screaming, holding each other's hands in hope that the plane would land safely and physically trying not to be sick. There was one moment when the lights dimmed down and everyone on the plane went silent, the only noise you could hear being the sound of the plane making little beeps and mechanical ticks.You hear about planes crashing or going missing every now and then on the news, and even though you know that travelling by plane is the safest form of travel, you still think about the possibility that something very unfortunate could happen to the plane you are on. But the chances are ever so small and thousands and thousands of planes safely come and go every day. But it's still such a sigh of relief when the plane lands and you get the feeling that you are quite frankly glad to be alive.

I recently went on a rather nice, interesting holiday and I must say that the flight there and back were the best couple of flights I've ever had. They were actually quite relaxing. There were still the few annoyances but nonetheless it was actually alright and there was only a small bit of turbulence. I still don't particularly like plane journeys. I don't really find any satisfaction from being on a plane. Ok, the idea of being able to travel in the air to another country miles away is truly remarkable but I hate having to be stuck, sat in a seat for hours (I'm a rather energetic person), experiencing turbulence and irritating calamities. After a plane journey, the holiday better be something special! What do you think about plane journeys? Please do leave a comment. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The truth about Grammar Schools

I have gone to a Grammar School for four years of my life. In my first year there I was  a gullible kid who didn't understand most things in life including the education system. Now, after finishing my fourth year there, I understand more things, can see how the education system works and I have realized the truth behind grammars (which is both partly good and bad) so I thought I would share with you the honest truth of what grammar schools are like because I have actually been to one and because Grammar Schools seem to be at the center of many debates such as 'should we bring back more Grammar schools?'.

In order to get into a grammar school you have to pass an 11+ non verbal and verbal test. When I sat these tests I thought they were the most important thing in my life. I thought getting into a grammar was the be all end all, the ultimate achievement. Everyone said grammar was the best school ever. And you can imagine the pressure I felt to get into grammar even though my parents would say rather supportingly 'you can only do your best, it doesn't matter if you don't get in'. Secretly I knew they really wanted me to get in and I knew they would be severely disappointed if I didn't. I was worried I wouldn't get in, especially when I realized I could have potentially missed out on ten marks at the end of the non verbal paper because I was too busy worrying about needing a wee but very luckily I managed to get in to grammar.

It's just as well I got in although at the time, many of my friends didn't get in. It was like Darwin's natural selection before my very eyes. The day we all found out if we had got in or not was actually quite tragic. At school, one girl was on her knees sobbing as if it was the end of the world. Her parents had wanted her to get in more than anything and most of her friends, including her bestest friend had got in. She felt stupid and that she had let everyone down, including herself. I felt sorry for her, having to deal with all that pressure to get in and then not getting in and dealing with all that at such a young age where you shouldn't really be worrying about things like that. She did her best, but was it good enough? No. Natural selection said goodbye to her, crossed her off the list and fed her to the angry crocodiles in the swamp. Natural selection sent her to the public school up the road when all her friends got to go to the grammar school, the amazing, impressive grammar school. That's life. You either rise up or get kicked down. Survival of the fittest at its finest. 

That's how harsh it is. I really do think its tough how 11 and 12 year olds have to go through the pressure and the expectations of getting into a grammar school. Some parents make their kids do countless hours of practice for the tests. Should a child really have to do all that work and have all that pressure to get in to a school? And what if they don't get in? What is the child going to feel like then? They will feel ashamed, stupid and like they are not good enough. A child shouldn't have to feel like this. And then the children who do get in suddenly feel this sense of 'I'm better than you'. One friend of mine started going round saying 'I go to a grammar school don't you know!'. Luckily I didn't feel the need to say this, especially when most of my friends didn't get in. What would saying that have made them feel like? Many people thought that getting into grammar meant you were ultra smart but thinking about it, it doesn't even really mean your smart! One of the smartest people I know who always got top grades in every subject didn't get in to grammar. Grammar tests aren't really true representations of smartness or mental ability. 

 In Year 8 we had a series of exams which many children found competitive and hard especially after the nice, easy work in Year 7 where most of us were top of the class. Suddenly many of us were experiencing thoughts such as 'i'm not good enough' because all of a sudden the competition had risen to dramatically high levels. We compared test scores with our friends and I even found myself getting scores which were at the bottom of the class, especially in Science which I was not very good at (and i'm still not very good at it). Everyone forgot that we were actually in the top percentage of the country and only thought about the classroom we were in rather than the country as a whole. After all, at that age you only really believe what you see. The work was a lot harder than in Year 7 and although I enjoyed the challenges that came with the new work, it was also sometimes a bit too difficult for me and the homework was a bit excessive. However many people found the homework alright if you got it done the night you got it. Thinking back, I actually realize that we had more exams in Year 8 than in Year 9 which was most probably to get us adjusted to our new school and to see what level we were really at. 

Here's a key point about Grammar Schools: They are mostly full of middle class white children. And my school backs up this point very nicely indeed. Why are there more middle class children in a Grammar? Perhaps because their parents were the ones who paid for tuition to get into grammar. Poorer families would not necessarily be able to afford the tuition to pass the eleven plus exam. It all makes perfect sense. It could also be because their parents went to grammar schools so are prompted to get into a grammar school themselves. I think there should be a lot more diversity (of classes and race) in grammar schools so the children who go to a grammar get to interact with all corners of society... and so the poorer classes can achieve potential.

Also Grammar Schools  primarily focus on the more academic subjects which makes sense really because after all as it is a Grammar school. But this obviously isn't particularly good for the more creative kids who struggle with subjects like Science and Maths. I was one of these kids and although my school really did it's best (but not enough) to help me in Science and Maths I just wasn't up to scratch with the high academic standards. The teachers would take the mick out of creative subjects like Art, Media or Graphics. I remember my Chemistry teacher once said something along the lines of 'I can't quite believe there's a GCSE for painting little pictures' (Art). Another of my teachers said that Media Studies was 'just watching films and a waste of time'. I don't think it's just watching films... We all have our opinions but I don't think it was fair of this rather idiotic teacher to say this to try and influence their students. Although my Grammar School does allow you to take up creative subjects instead of logical ones it is deeply biased and sways heavily to the more logical side with teachers disregarding the subjects that aren't scientific or maths based. 

Despite all this, the challenging atmosphere in a Grammar School did certainly make me feel powered up and willing to learn, especially in Year 8 (my enthusiasm for school was a downward slope after Year 8). Most grammar Schools also have pretty decent teachers who can actually teach (however they are all extremely left wing so they are obviously politically influencing their students, bombarding them with left wing views). Grammar Schools are also usually single sexed (which can be good and bad (but mostly bad actually)). And a key positive factor is that Grammar Schools allow students to reach their full potential (if you have potential).

Thanks for reading. Please do comment your thoughts about what I have written.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Why I Hate Shopping

You walk into Primark knowing you have to walk out with the necessary clothes for the Summer you came in for. Ok... maybe a couple of T-shirts, a pair of shorts and some sunglasses will do the job. You start to walk round the shop, trying not to bump into a flowing mass of fat women in leggings who savage the bargain rack like a pack of feisty hyenas. You speed walk straight for the T shirts. Ok... these T-shirts look pretty decent. Oh. They are see-through. Why would you even bother to make a see-through T-shirt?! This one isn't see-through, this will do. You then make your way to the shorts as quick as you can but some screaming child runs in your way, making your ears sore as the child's mother and father scream at the child 'Tyler! Tyler come back now! No! Put it back! Come here!' in voices which are certainly not the queen's English. Once you finally get to the shorts you become undecided about what shorts to get because there are so many varieties. I mean, how many different shorts do you need?! You finally settle on the rather funky looking ones then head to the sunglasses which you think should be easy enough to pick. But yet again, you don't know if you should go for the blue ones or the green ones or the round ones but you finally settle on the blue ones after a great deal of debate inside your head. You then realize you need a nice new shirt or blouse so you head to the shirt and blouse section and see one you sort of like but realize it costs an extra £5 than the rest of the shirts so you see the cheaper ones and decide you will just go for the cheaper one because at this stage you are getting tired and worn out after all this shopping and can't wait to just get out of the shop. So you go to the queue and see the long line of people waiting to pay and you think you could be there for as long as it would take to travel the whole length of the River Nile.

And that is why I don't like shopping. It's not a very pleasant experience. I know Primark isn't the loveliest of places and I only shop there when I need the necessary cheap clothes. Shopping is tiresome for me, I can go 10 minutes in a shop until I get utterly bored and tired out of my mind. However, I know that many of my friends very much enjoy shopping and the whole experience that goes with it. The other day two friends and I went into town after school and one of my friends desperately wanted to go into Primark. My friend ended up spending about £40. We were in there for about an hour. She went round the whole shop, casually picking up quite a few clothing items, not even bothering to look at the price tag. And there I was with a lone pair of 90p flip flops. 

I had enough money on me, it's just I didn't really feel the need to get a load of clothes I probably wouldn't wear... and I wasn't really feeling the 'shopping vibe'. I think that the whole shopping experience is all a bit boring for me especially when I'm shopping for clothes or boring necessities i.e. supermarket food shopping which probably bores most people to be honest. In some cases however, shopping is actually alright i.e. when your with your friends because when your with your friends your having a laugh instead of just looking at items in a shop. Also, I'm rubbish at making executive decisions which makes it a lot harder for me to pick the item I want if I need to get an item because in this consumer world there is an awful lot of choice. Which can be good and bad. If we didn't have choice then everything would be plain and boring but with the large amount of choice comes unnecessary competition, comparison and difficult decisions. Sometimes when I'm shopping I will just say '**** it' and buy the lot or just buy whatever I have to without thinking about it otherwise it gets too complicated.

Is consumerism ruining us all?
And then there is the question 'is consumerism ruining us all?' to think about. Are we all just being brainwashed into buying unnecessary things we see in adverts on TV? Buying these goods only benefit the big businesses on top who make tonnes and tonnes of money by selling us things we don't really need. But then you could argue that it is nice to buy these goods which perhaps provide us with pleasure etc but these big companies are using us as consumers to gain profit and expand globally... they don't really want us to gain happiness from the goods they sell, they just want us to buy them so they can make a profit. You have seen the adverts on the TV which scream at you 'buy me!' and make you feel as if you should be buying this and that but then another advert comes up and says they are better than the other product you just saw... consumerism is just complicating everything and making us perhaps confused, brainwashed or just trapped in a world where people are constantly shoving new consumer items into our faces saying 'buy this'. We can't escape the TV adverts or the billboard posters which advertise MacDonald's or whatever it is so we just do what we are told and buy and consume and become conformists to a consumer world. And that annoys me... just to know that big businesses are making large amounts of money because people are being brainwashed into buying their products and knowing that many people will just follow the crowd and buy all these big branded products annoys me.

Anyway... Going back to my thoughts on shopping... I think shopping can be alright but most of the time it's quite dreadful. I sometimes like buying and owning new things but it's just the whole idea of consumerism and the process of getting the items in the first place which I don't like. What do you think about shopping? Do you love it or hate it? Comment below. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Music in the Charts is Rubbish

What happened to music? Or more specifically, what happened to the music in the charts? Every time I turn on Radio1, they are always playing the same sort of song which usually has some singer who can't really sing going on about sex or having big buttocks or something. And the beat and tune of the song nearly always sounds generic and repetitive.

And furthermore, some people seem to actually like or in some cases love this type of music. It really does amaze me how some people can listen to artists like Justin Beiber, Ariana Grande, Nikki Minage, Nick Jonas or Drake without their ears physically feeling as sore as a thousand blisters.

And the sad thing about this is that I know these artists because they have got famous and are now probably stinking rich. Why have they got famous? Because people with bad music taste actually listen to their music. Do these people not know about other artists who are so much better? Or do they just want to be 'cool' and listen to these artists because they seem to be what we should be listening to because they are on Radio 1 and in the charts?
Today's chart music...

As the picture above demonstrates, the current music in the charts is all a bit 'samey'; they all have the generic beat and the same sort of lyrics... nothing about these songs makes me want to listen to them. I know all music in the charts isn't bad. Some is OK and in some rare cases I actually end up liking a song in the charts. I tend to particularly enjoy rock music but unfortunately for me there's not a lot of rock music being played on mainstream radio or in the charts. I never hear any good guitar riffs on Radio 1. But obviously, this is probably because the mainstream radios and i.e. MTV focus mainly on pop music because as the name suggests, it is popular and current. There are many great current rock songs out there but they are not as popular because it's simply not pop.

The thing that annoys me the most is the songs which have lyrics so rubbish they could have been written by a toddler. The ones where the singer who can't really sing repeats a single word over and over, for example, the repeating of the word 'baby' or 'oooh' if that is even a word. And the songs that don't have the usual repetitiveness have lyrics that sexualize young girls or talk about sexual relationships, drugs or body image. It used to be the case that most music in the charts were about world peace etc or had lyrics which were more abstract and thought- provoking. Maybe most of my generation is just stupid so they listen to songs with stupid lyrics they don't have to try and understand.

It just seems that the mainstream music is only made by artists who want more money. I think the popular music should be music with meaning, good singing, good tunes and the artists behind the music should be people who are passionate and create music because they purely enjoy making music. I simply think that the music outside the charts is better than the music in the charts.

What sort of music do you listen to? Also, what is your opinion on the music in the charts? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Truth About GCSEs

The dreaded GCSE exam hall

Weeks and weeks of teachers telling us that GCSEs are the most important thing ever in our lives, scaring students into thinking that if you didn't get good grades then you would probably find yourself with a future career working full time at MacDonald's, living in a squalid flat with nothing but a conscious that constantly screams at you 'WHY DID YOU NOT GET BETTER GCSE GRADES?'. The teachers also told us that the exams themselves would be extremely horrific and stressful.

GCSEs aren't that stressful
After completing my exams, I can say that they aren't that bad and they aren't that stressful. They are only stressful if you make them stressful. And they certainly are not scary or horrific because when you think about it, there's nothing scary about sitting at a desk in a hall writing words on a bit of paper. Yet again, the teachers exaggerated things. Two whole years of my life making notes for a few exams which are all over in a few weeks. Now they are officially over, I am left with a pile of notes I'm never going to look at again and a feeling that all that work might not have been worth it. Are GCSEs really that important? They may be important in the short term to either get into sixth form or college or maybe to get your first job but in the long term, employers and universities are only really going to look at your A level grades. You could possibly argue that if you do well in your GCSEs then you will do well in your A levels and although this is likely, it's not always the case. So GCSEs are really just the launching pad into Sixth Form and then University? Perhaps they are. Most universities will look for at least Cs in GCSE English, Maths and perhaps Science. So all you need is a few Cs in GCSE and your sorted? This may well be the case (unless you wish to go to Oxford or Cambridge). But of course, it always helps to have a few As and A*s to improve your chances.

GCSEs are not everything
If you really think about it though, many people have got happily through life and got successful jobs with nothing but charm, a good sense of humour and a good character. Many famous/ successful people in today's society didn't get good grades at GCSE. They probably just worked really hard at the thing they loved and became really good at it. They also probably had a clear career goal and knew what it is they wanted to do when they were older. So in order to really do well in life you probably need a clear career goal and you need to be a hard worker. GCSEs are not everything. They are just a starting point really and if you do disastrous in them then you can realize you made a mistake and work hard to make up for it or try and do much better at A levels. So to make the message simpler because I'm not sure how well this all translates: Good GCSEs help but they are not that important. They are not the be all end all.

You can only do your best
After completing my GCSEs I feel as if I have tried my best although I think I could have revised perhaps slightly more. I have done all I can now though and my fate is in the hands of the examiners who are probably crouched miserably over my exams, marking them now. I have a burning desire to see my GCSE grades in this very moment but unfortunately we all just have to wait until August which I think is too far away. On results day, I will most probably just open the envelope in the corner of the room hoping for the best whilst the hall turns into an eruption of shouts and cries of joy or pain as people go down on their knees as they see their GCSE grades on paper for the first time. It's a bit weird when you think about it isn't it? All that work for a few letters on a bit of paper. It's simply absurd but as I've said before in this post, GCSEs do matter to some extent but they are not everything... so just remember that if you are disappointed with your results in August.

I know that a few of my friends are currently stressing about how they need As and A*s... it's not worth the stress though because you've done all you can. I hate people who stress and say 'What if I don't get all A*s?' I mean come on! Just enjoy your holidays for goodness sake!

A quick few words from my classmates about what they had to say about GCSEs:

"GCSEs were stressful. All that revision and pressure to do well got a bit too much for me I think"
So some people did find them stressful... but then again this person really wanted all A*s.

"GCSEs were the easiest thing EVER!" 
Ok... A*s for you then.

"I messed up my GCSEs" 
Oh dear... don't worry though, GCSEs aren't everything.

"GCSEs were easier than I thought they would be. Everyone was saying they would be bloody awful but they weren't" 
Exactly my thoughts as well.

"They were OK I guess. Not too bad. I think I should have revised more though because I did procrastinate a lot"
See, they are not that bad after all. Just try not to procrastinate...

"I can't believe that's it. GCSEs are over! It feels great to be freeeeee! Bring on the Summer!"
That's right. Bring on the Summer!

How do you think your GCSEs went? Were GCSEs really that bad? I would love to hear from you so just leave a comment.

To all of you who have just finished your GCSEs (or any exams for that matter), I hope you have a brilliantly tremendous summer holiday and that you make the most of it!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Distractions Everywhere

Phones... laptops... TV... ring... ring...beep...beep...beep.

There's just so much going on in this modern world. Everywhere we look there is a distraction. Everywhere we go there are people glued to their phones, not looking at the world around them but instead looking at a tiny screen. It's simply astonishing that technology has come so far that it almost takes over our lives.

For many people, the first thing they do when they wake up is reach for their phones, maybe check to see if there are any new emails, see if any messages have come through from Facebook etc. So it's first thing in the morning and they've already glued their eyes to a screen instead of appreciating the beauty of the morning they have just woken up to. First thing in the morning and we are thrown straight into the chaotic, busy and quite frankly complicated modern world. 

But technology has it's benefits and it's not just a distraction. It can be extremely helpful in every day life, connect people and provide a source of leisure and entertainment. Technology also certainly allows us to learn more and see what is going on in the world around us. But I think it's a bit ironic that we are watching the world go on around us on a screen rather than actually seeing it go on around us. 

I know that many of my friends wouldn't survive a day without their phones. One of my friends is always asking if anyone has a phone charger, always messaging someone, switching between real and electronic conversations. Thinking about it, I probably could only just about survive a day without my phone but I would most probably be thinking 'what am I missing?', 'is anyone trying to message me?' etc. As an experiment, I may try and go a complete day without my phone so I will perhaps let you know how that goes in a later post. 

Could you live without your mobile phone?

But it's not just phones! There are also the distractions of TV. It's just a bigger phone really isn't it? (except it only provides entertainment). It's just there, most of the time on, making sound and noise whilst you go about your life. I probably sound like some real miserable person saying all this. But I'm not really! I am just trying to say that technology can be a major distraction in this world. We tend to go about our lives, not really living in the moment and not seeing the true world around us. 

Why do we always check our social media? We don't need to. Does it really matter if we know what our friends are up to this evening? It's just a distraction in our lives. I'm not saying that all technology is bad because it's not. It is actually a very good thing in some cases and it does in some ways improve quality of life... I know I would miss it if it was gone. But I wouldn't miss the distractions that come with it.

The real truth is that we can't escape these distractions. Technology is all around us and it will always be beeping. We just need to learn to sometimes take a step back, look at the world around us through our own eyes and get on with our lives without these technological drawbacks.