Student Life

Ambassador Stories: How to balance working, studying and enjoying yourself

3 min
October 27, 2021
Hi, my name is Louis Storey, and I’m a Year 13 student at a sixth form in the East Midlands. It was always an easy decision to choose my A levels. From the outset of education, I had always been a fan of literature, history, and culture. Therefore when the time came to craft my future, it was, to some extent, easy. I study English Literature, History and Spanish. I did have some difficulties finalising my choice of Spanish because I recognised the risk in maintaining the study of a foreign language, but it has been useful regardless. Even now, it still impresses me that I am studying a completely new language at such a high level. English Literature is by far my favourite subject because of my passion for reading, analysing and critiquing set texts. 

I’m currently working for Morrisons on a part-time contract, which helps me earn money, enriches my retail knowledge and builds upon my many different skills. When I first began working, I was stressed and anxious about falling behind, but this didn't happen as I learned the art of time management. I had previously taken on the lead role in two musical productions, which meant that I already had experience in balancing school with non-curricular activities. Therefore I want to tell you that it is possible. Working, studying, enjoying yourself - it can all be accomplished if you do it right. Make timetables or type in reminders on your phone. It’s worth it, I promise. 

If I were to give you some tips coming from a student about revision, then try to stay engaged for just a little longer for me. One of the biggest tips I can give is to make the most of your time in Year 12. Without a doubt, the effort you put into your studies will be vital for your A level success. I understand that revising is incredibly hard as it’s so vague and feels at times like a dark abyss. But this won’t hinder your progress at all. My revision techniques consist of cramming, flashcards, getting my father/and or friends to test me. This forces my brain to recall knowledge that might have left my head. Also, it’s important to take time for yourself because revising for hours on end will not be productive. 

Want to know the difference between sixth form/college and your years in secondary school? Well, fear no more; I am here to help! Sixth form has been an incredible experience so far: staying in bed, having frees, no uniform. Academic studies do become more tense because they are more content-heavy with longer exams. From my personal experience, history has been the most draining due to the amount of content needed to answer the questions to a high standard, but the subject is fascinating nonetheless.

Moreover, the teachers treat you as adults rather than children, which means their attitudes are more relaxed towards you, as long as that level of respect remains. The teacher-student relationship only improves every year you progress up the school; therefore, when sixth form starts, you feel a level of respect that goes both ways. One thing that you will encounter is a lot of homework, coursework, and deadlines that must be met. Unfortunately, you can’t say, “Sorry Miss, my dog ate it”, because that assignment has the potential to make or break your career. Everything matters when you study A levels. 

You’ve probably heard enough about school - want to know more about living as a sixth former? Well, it’s simple really; you are given lanyards, spend your time in the common room or library either revising or having a laugh with your friends. No matter the circumstance, you will never be alone because everyone is in the same boat.

I hope this blog gives you some insight into the world of academia and student life when entering Years 12 and 13.

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