Productivity after school

Now, I don’t know about you but my first day back at school is tomorrow, so I thought today would be a good time to write a really short post on how to stay productive after school. It’s hard I know! But the method I use is really simple to create and makes you a lot more likely to do what you need.

I find to-do lists so helpful, and this is what I use every single night! As an example, the one in the photo was from a day in the holidays, and as you can see I had a fair amount to do that day.

The way I create these lists is to just write everything you need to do down on a piece of paper in a bullet point list, then go through the list and colour in the bullet points if I absolutely must get it done today. I also add little lines to make them look like suns, but that’s completely up to you ๐Ÿ˜œ

Although I haven’t done it on the list shown (because I had a full day to complete everything), I normally then also number the order in which I’ll complete the tasks, and I’ll just put this number to left of the bullet point. And that’s it! This is a really simple way to ensure you do everything you need – if you have it all written down in the order you’re going to do it, you’re much more likely to actually do it because you’re trying to meet your targets. That said, be careful to be realistic, because you also need to have some time to relax.

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eighteen things to do in 2018

Welcome to 2018! 2017 was one heck of a year and I learnt a lot from it, but I’m kind of hoping this year will be a liiiittle more steady…

As is tradition, I’ve compiled a list of my resolutions for the year and I’m actually going to try really hard to stick to them – I’ve put a fair amount of time into reflecting on last year so I know that if I stick to these resolutions, hopefully 2018 will be a good one.

  • Read more, instead of spending time on devices – something probably a lot of people can relate to! I realised how much time I waste just scrolling down Instagram or Pinterest and how much more productive I could be if I just put my phone down!
  • Complete my reading list – linking on from the previous resolution!!!!
  • Spread more positivity – there can never be enough happiness in the world, and it doesn’t really take much to compliment someone, does it? ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–
  • Utilise free periods in school – the more work you do at school, the less you have to do at home ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ
  • Know when I’m taking too much on.
  • Limit the amount of procrastination – I could really do with a lot of motivation this year, haha.
  • Continue learning French and Spanish.
  • Record the best part of each day – I don’t know yet whether to film a second of each day and then make a video at the end of the year or just write down my favourite part? I could do with your advice!!
  • Exercise more frequently – ok, this must be the most common New Years resolution EVER but it’s so so easy to just sit on the sofa and do nothing. This year I’m going to change that and try to run weekly and do a little exercise routine every night at home (or maaaaybe start going to the gym, although that might be pushing it a bit far ๐Ÿ˜‰)
  • Watch more films!! – contrary to my other resolutions haha, but I’m always that person who’s not seen the latest film yet and that needs to change!
  • Remember I’m stronger than I think.
  • Drink more water – my poor little kidneys are shrivelling up (probably).
  • Blog weekly (I’m sure you’ll all thank me for that haha)
  • Save 75% of the money I earn – because university is ridiculously expensive!!!
  • Start youtube again – my original plan was to film a few videos and get them uploaded so that I could officially start my channel today but I haven’t got around to it… in my defence, I have over 300 clips from my trip to New York so it takes a while!
  • Be more confident within myself.
  • Stop overthinking any decision – the amount of worrying about any possible outcome of any decision I make is extremely unhelpful.
  • Be happy.

Do you have any New Years resolutions? I’d be really interested to hear to be honest, I think people’s reflections on life say so much about them! Wishing you all the best for 2018,

Cara xx

2017 year review

Since this is ~probably~ going to be my last post of the year (or at least, one of the last posts) a summary of 2017 seemed like a good way to end another year of blogging.

I don’t think there’s ever been a year with such massive highs and such huge lows, however cringey and cliche that sounds. I started my Instagram account on the 19th December 2016 and this now has 765 followers, which is insane – who knew that amount of people were interested in what I post?! I restarted my blog, the one you’re looking at right now, and this is already more successful in the 3 months or so that I’ve had it than any other blog of mine so far. Some of the people I’ve made contact with online are amazing and so inspirational, and when they notice your account that feels pretty damn good too!! James Gulliver Hancock, whose beautiful illustrated architecture books make up 70% of my feed liked and commented on one of my photos, and I fangirled. A lot.

I also took my GCSEs this year, and wow. I was very worried about these for a big part of the year but, as things have a habit of doing, everything worked out in the end and I was beyond happy with my results. Getting these results meant that I could study my 4 favourite subjects for A Levels, and I couldn’t be much happier at school. And speaking of education, I recently went on a masterclass in Cambridge?! Cambridge?!!

I’ve started work this year! I’m on my second Saturday job now, the first being in an ice cream kiosk and my current one working in a retail shop. I love it! I’ve also done lots of volunteering this year, particularly with children who have special educational needs and disabilities, and I find it so rewarding to see them smiling and happy.

Of course, 2017 was a long way from perfect. In March, a friend of mine died. She was only 16 and she was one of the first friends I made at high school. I miss her a lot but it showed me how precious and short life is which makes me appreciate also how beautiful life actually is.

On a cheerier note, I’ve done so much travelling this year that I’ve not been at home for more than 3 months at a time and HOW COOL is that?! โœจ all the places that I’ve visited this year (Edinburgh, London, Spain, Holland and New York) have been so memorable for different reasons and I’m forever grateful to my parents for enabling us to visit them and experience different cultures and ways of life.

I’ve realised this year that some people are not who you think they are, and that’s okay. The best thing you can do is think, ‘if they’re not bringing me any happiness, why should I be with them?’ Your self worth is an extremely valuable thing.

At the start of the year, I used to wash my hands a lot (as in, a lot), but the long summer holiday we had after completing GCSEs gave me time to really work on this problem. Now I’m much more relaxed and I wouldn’t describe myself as a germophobe anymore; compared to this time last year that’s a huge step!! My self confidence has grown massively this year too, partly due to this and also due to starting work and sixth form, which require you to be sociable and engaged. Generally though, I’m just happier in my own skin and next year, I want to spread this message of positivity on all of the social media platforms I own.

I really hope your 2017 has been lovely and filled with positivity ๐Ÿค— the bad times are inevitable but they do make you stronger, which is another thing I’ve learnt this year. Thank you for reading this, your support means the world to me, and if I don’t post on here again this year, have an absolutely wonderful Christmas if you celebrate and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Cara xxxx

How to revise.

This is obviously a huge, huge topic to cover in a blog post (I think there was some sort of irony in there) but I recently asked on my Instagram story if this would be a post you guys are interested in or would find helpful – I think that even if you don’t have any exams coming up, finding new ways to revise is definitely useful and will help in the future.

The best way to revise is start early. I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation where you’re in an exam and thinking “hmm, maaaaybe I could have/should have done some more revision” so the easiest way is to just get on with it! There may be so many other things you’d prefer to be doing but education is extremely important (and something I’m very passionate in, haha).

My first tip is, as soon as you get home from school/college/university, write a list of all of the homework tasks or revision you need to do, and write them in order of due date. I put all of mine in my planner which literally has my soul in, it’s honestly like a horcrux ๐Ÿ˜‚

Then, I’ll write a to do list for the night, with all of the revision I have to do broken down into manageable chunks. The last thing you want to do is have to spend 4+ hours on revision after school, so make sure you’re realistic in what you can actually achieve in one sitting.

I find rewriting or summarising notes the most effective way for me to remember information but flash cards, mini quizzes, drawing out key point etc also help. I like to use a lot of colour too, hehe, because the brain works in patterns so it helps. When I was studying for my GCSEs I found writing little songs with information I need to remember in the lyrics very helpful, but I’m not so sure my family were as appreciative of these *songs*…

Motivation is the real struggle I think – it’s really hard to revise efficiently if your heart isn’t in it. For a levels and degrees I’m sure motivation is more abundant than for GCSEs, because let’s face it, if you hate maths you’re not really going to be that interested in doing another 2 hours of it after school. What you have to remember is:

  • Education is very important
  • But exams aren’t the end of the world. Take a break, don’t forget to enjoy life too – but balance it properly with revision ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • You’re likely to need whatever subjects you’re taking in future, so if you don’t put the work in now, you’ll just have to later.
  • It could be fun – ok, I’m sorry, maybe not fun, but bearable perhaps. If you find a way of revising and stick to a revision timetable, things do get easier and much more routine.

I hope this helps! Let me know what sort of revision techniques you use, I’d be really interested ๐Ÿ˜Šhave a good weekend!!

Self Confidence

Self confidence is definitely a concept that is much easier to say than to adopt, but it’s an issue particularly prevalent in today’s day and age. I’ve struggled in my younger teenage years with low self confidence, so I know how it feels, but I’m also really happy to say that there is a way to become more confident in yourself and everything you do – the living proof is writing this post, haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

The reason I’ve always been a bit low in confidence is due mainly to my body; I’ve always had a fuller figure than my friends and other people I’ve been surrounded by and I felt a lot of pressure especially when I was younger to fit in. I have gingery hair (which I’ve learned now to absolutely love!), my thighs touch, my legs are relatively short for my height and I used to have braces, so I was exactly what I what I didn’t want to look like.

I’m lucky in that I didn’t get a smartphone or any social media (apart from facebook, which I set up when I was 10 and used solely for chatting with my friends – wow, did I think I was cool!!) until I was 13. I think, had I been younger, I would have felt even more pressure to change my body because, you know how it is – you immediately follow the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, every Victoria’s Secret model in the world and see only the very posed, photoshopped images that they portray as real life. However, I think by the time I got Instagram and snapchat and everything else, I’d heard all of my friends worrying about their bodies and talking of diets they were following which they’d seen online and realised that it’s very very easy to believe what you see on social media. Saying that, you can’t help comparing yourself to these images but they’re damaging to your perception of yourself – I remember when I was in Year 10 I frantically tried to find ways to lose weight from my glutes and thighs because I felt so ugly and unworthy, and just uncomfortable with the way I looked.

2 years on, I’ve accepted that this is my body and I should be proud of it. Obviously, that realisation didn’t just come one day – I had to work to make myself believe it.

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Top tips for self-confidence

  • Tell yourself you are beautiful. Truly, you are. Look in the mirror at least 3 times a day and focus on your beauty.
  • Don’t listen to what other people tell you. If you want to do something, wear something, like something, don’t let anybody else’s views stop you from doing that. Remember you’re the only person living your life, and you need to enjoy it.
  • Everybody is different!! Individuality is what makes us…individuals. You’re perfect the way you are.

I’m going to be posting regularly about self confidence because as I’ve already said, it’s something that needs to be worked at and I admit I’m still not 100% confident with myself, so hopefully it’ll help me and some of you guys too!

sixth form life

Well hello there ๐Ÿ™‚

I recently received an email from The Student Room (which if you don’t currently subscribe to you definitely should – they give some really good tips and insights from students experiencing UCAS, sixth form etc) about starting up a ‘grow your grades’ blog on their website. Basically, that means a thread where you post pretty much anything to do with school and education so I thought I’d give it a go, and write it actually on my blog too. Anybody who knows me will know I’m really passionate about education and I have a very strong work ethic but I’m hoping doing the Grow Your Grades blog will help me even more – every little extra bit of motivation is so helpful!

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For newer readers, I’m 16 and I’m in 6th form studying English literature, English language, geography and art. Although I did well in all of my subjects at GCSE I’ve always been a more arts-based than science-based person (although I really enjoy linguistics which is arguably more science) which you can probably tell by my A Level choices! At GCSE, I was awarded 3 As, 3 A*s, two Grade 8s and a Grade 9, and based on this I’m predicted to get As in all of my A Levels – but my aim is to get at least two A*s.

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The dream – my goal is to get to Cambridge, either to study English literature or linguistics. I’m in Year 12 at the moment so although I’m starting to look at universities, I don’t have a solid shortlist yet as I haven’t been to any open days – all I’ve really done is looked at the courses online and some Google Images of the cities! Saying that, Nottingham, York and Durham are definitely places I want to research more as I think they may be potentials…;)

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So, in this series on my blog and on The Student Room, what am I going to be talking about? I’m going to be sharing my revision plans, timetables, best textbooks/extra reading books, revision spaces and tips, as well as progress and maybe examples from any assessments. If it helps anybody, I could share some GCSE prep work, but bear in mind I took the old GCSEs lol (apart from in English and maths, I took the newer, numerical graded exams for these subjects). I’ll also cover the best revision tips, balancing school, jobs, extra curricular activities, socialising and all that jazz and of course, making a few jokes whilst I’m at it.

Cara xx

(just a little sidenote – I’ll probably upload to this series once a week or once a fortnight!)

31.10 – a day in Cambridge

Hurrah! Finally, my last Blogtober post, even though it’s being written on November 18th!! I loooove my time management skills haha.

Saying that, I know my time management actually is the problem – I try and fit too much into my life so something has to give and it seems to be that thing is blogging. I’ve been busy recently so I haven’t had much time at all to write, but starting this week I’m going to get really organised and hopefully I’ll be blogging more consistently ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, last night my family and I drove down to Cambridge as I had a linguistics Masterclass at the university today, which is the uni I’ve always dreamed of going to. It felt so weird to actually be there because I’ve only ever seen the city on Instagram and google but the architecture is so beautiful it feels almost surreal! (haha, if I’m successful and I get into Cambridge uni, the amount of architecture photos on my Instagram will increase exponentially lol – and that’s saying something, since every other photo is already a pretty building to be honest.)

The class itself consisted of two lectures – an introduction to the linguistics course and psycholinguistics – and another session on applying to Cambridge. The psycholinguistics lecture was so interesting, and I also met some really funny people who share similar interests to me which was really lovely (hey, if you’re reading this ๐Ÿ˜)

After the sessions had finished I had a quick look around the city centre although by that point it was starting to get dark – I don’t know how it is in other countries but in England in winter it goes dark about 4 o’clock?? I really hate the dark and cold of winter, haha, but we warmed up in a restaurant before driving back home.

30.10 – blogging for the mind.

Do you ever get that really weird and sudden overwhelming sense of loneliness? When the trigger is your own imagination? Because same, me too, I’m having that now.

Let me fill you in on a little secret (disclaimer: I have a feeling I’ve actually already got a post up about this so it’s not so much of a secret, haha!) – when I started blogging, I did it because I was lonely. I’d had an argument with some of my closest friends, our group was broken apart and I needed somewhere else to confide in, so (obviously) I had to be as extra as possible and I chose to confide in the Internet.

But the weird thing is, writing actually calms me down. As I’m typing now, I can feel the sudden tensions and anxieties lifting, rationality being instilled again; I didn’t realise when I first started how therapeutic writing is – I’ve always enjoyed it but as I’ve grown up and become more independent (heck, too independent sometimes, I feel) I’ve subconsciously restricted myself in what I say out loud, whether to fit in with the crowd or what, I don’t know – but blogging enables me to say what I like and to get my thoughts in order.

I’m fully aware that in the morning I’ll read this post and wonder what the heck does this mean… I feel like I’m in one of those moods where nothing I say really makes sense, literally or grammatically. I’m also aware that this is just a mood swing and it’s not real, so I think the best solution to this would be to go to bed. Goodnight friends, hope you’re all well ๐Ÿ™‚

(I’m also unsure whether I like the thumbnail photo or not…I’m swaying more towards not – it looks like Matisse, a unicorn and a 3 year old child obsessed with poster paint collided and came up with it…)

29.10 – room.

“Let’s have a productive day,” she said.

“If I get up at 9 I can tidy my room, take some photos and write some posts” she said.

It is currently 12.12pm, and I have just had a shower. Great.

Anyway, for today’s post I just thought I’d show you guys my favourite areas of my room (although due to it now getting dark at 4 o’clock I can’t take very good photos because the sun doesn’t get to my room very much any more ๐Ÿ™ƒ)

My desk is my second-favourite part of my room (after my bed of course, but I thought it might be interpreted somewhat weirdly if I took a photo of my bed? I don’t know, I overthink things) as I work best so I do my school work here, I can read and draw and it’s quite photogenic, if I do say so myself. I also love my wall display which features tickets, postcards and posters I’ve collected.

Cara xx