Worries in Words: University, Year 13 and Exams

As I’m writing this, it’s 10:30pm and I’m lying in bed in Edinburgh – we are heading back home tomorrow. I have a lot to think about right now, especially as I am starting my last year of school next week. I know I will be as happy as Larry in the morning, but right now I’m so stressed – purely down to overthinking…

Next Tuesday, in a few days time from when I’m writing this, I will begin year 13. When I started sixth form last year, I was pretty worried but I think I’m a lot more nervous for this year. A lot of big decisions have to be made. I am 100% sure that I want to train as a primary school teacher at university but… Where do I want to study? Do I want to take a gap year? Do I want to move out? Do I want to commute? It’s such a stressful time and I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to deciding which universities to put down as my 5 choices.

As I have mentioned in a few blogposts, I am seriously struggling to make my mind up about whether I want to stay at home or commute to university each day. This does depend on which university I want to go to. Realistically, it would be a lot more efficient if I went to a university close to home as I want to become a primary school teacher. This will allow me to build up links with local schools, in turn helping me get a permanent job when I graduate. There are two (maybe 3) universities I could commute to daily. One is quite literally on my doorstep, an average person (not me) could walk there in about 30 minutes. One is just outside my local city. My mom went there also to do primary education and even though it was a lot different back in the 90s, it does help with my decision knowing that she enjoyed herself whilst she was there. Another is a bit further away (which is also my favourite – Worcester University). It’s about 45 minutes to an hour’s drive away. I loved the campus, the lecturers, the town, and the course so so much! However, getting down the M5 during rush hour to get to university for 9am is very unrealistic. And if I didn’t drive… it would take an hour and a half on public transport (2 buses and 2 trains). So, that would be a hell of a journey! However, I do know a couple of people who do that commute everyday and they find it okay.

A key factor influencing this decision is my family. I’m hoping they won’t mind me talking about this – I thought it would be best if I was honest with you. My parents are keen for me to stop at home. I think they’re worried about me getting soaked up in the ‘university life’ (which for the record, is totally not me – I’m a pyjamas on for 8pm gal!), and having to pay off huge amounts of money for the rest of my life. They’ve bribed me with a brand new bedroom if I stop at home and I’m pretty tempted. I don’t think I could go longer than a week without seeing my family – I am such a family girl! Other family members are encouraging me to stop at home too, causing me to sway more towards going to a local university. I was on the phone to my auntie the other week and we were talking about university (each family member I go and visit tells me their opinion haha) and she said (whispered) that I should move away because I’ll have a lot more fun and gain so much more independence.

Which brings me to my next point, I would love to move away and have my first chance at independence. Living in a brand new town or city would allow me to experience a brand new way of life. I have lived in my current house all of my life and have never known any different, perhaps it would be nice to move away.

But what if I got put in a student flat with people who I hate? I know I could ask to move but I find social situations so awkward, I would more than likely just put up with it. What if the accommodation doesn’t feel like home? Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting new places and staying in hotels, but there is something comforting about coming back home to your own bed. I just want somewhere that feels like home!

Another factor which is really stressing me out when it comes to university is friends. I definitely rely on other people a bit too much for happiness. For the best possible university experience, I want to have met lots of lovely people and made a few new friends at least. Of course I have all of my friends from school too, but I couldn’t bare the thought of spending 3 years somewhere if I have no friends. I feel like I would be excluded from social situations such as going out if I stopped at home and travelled into university each day. It would be a lot harder for me to make friends! Everybody would have their solid friendship groups from their halls and good old Billy no mates (me) would turn up.

I had a huge discussion with lots of people on twitter, some were my age and going through the same thing, some were going to university this year, some were already at university and some had already completed university. I found it very insightful hearing about people’s personal experiences of living in halls or living at home and it has helped me make my decision. I feel a bit more reassured now, that I’m not an idiot for wanting to stop at home.

I simply do not feel ready to sign my life away. How am I supposed to have decided which university I want to go to by CHRISTMAS? I don’t look old enough to be turning 18 next year and clearing off to university! I look at myself in the mirror and I still see the 14 year old girl I was three years ago. Even though I’m not, I’ve grown and changed since then, I still feel about 14. I’m sat here thinking about starting university and a wave of sickness runs through my stomach.

Going back onto the subject of year 13… I start school again on Tuesday and I am really not looking forward to it! I just want to feel happy and motivated to get through my A-levels and move on to pastures new, but I’m afraid I just can’t. The only thing that makes me ‘excited’ about going back to school is seeing my friends and using my new stationery! Other than that, I’m pretty much dreading it. The fact that my year is the oldest cohort of ‘students’ in the education system before university is pretty much terrifying. Normally each year, we have a year group to look up to. The year group above us are now the ones starting uni!

I don’t do well with exams. I felt absolutely dreadful before I started my 22 GCSE exams back in the summer of 2017, but the feeling of dread I am getting when thinking about my A-Level exams (I have 6) is a lot more intense. Back in year 11, my fate depended on my GCSE grades but they now seem irrelevant because my fate now rests in the hands of AQA A-Level examiners. Teachers have such high expectations off me, and I feel like they are asking for too much. They have predicted me an A* and 2 As (earlier this year my head of sixth form began discussing the Oxbridge application with me until I told her that I didn’t fancy it) and they don’t seem very realistic ‘predictions’ at this moment in time. You would’ve thought moving from sitting 22 exams at GCSE to having to sit 6 at A-Level, that I was pretty much sorted with the whole exam process – but I am not. My A-Level exams are a lot longer (one of my English exams is 3 hours long). They are definitely a lot more difficult and seem a lot more important, making my GCSE exams seem minor in comparison. At the moment, the future seems very hazy. I cannot picture myself walking into an A-Level exam and sitting it filled with confidence. This is exactly how I felt going into Year 11 so I am hoping that this feeling will disappear as time grows closer.

I feel a bit better now for having a good old ramble about how I truly feel. Feelings are definitely better out than in! I’m hoping that some of you are in the same shoes as me, whatever it is you are starting: GCSEs, A-Levels, starting year 13 or even off to university yourself (praying for you haha). I will be back with many more school related posts as they seem to be the most helpful ones on my blog – hopefully I will be a bit more cheerful!

Love, Alex


2 thoughts on “Worries in Words: University, Year 13 and Exams

  1. I start year 12 on Wednesday and to be honest i’m not looking forward to it as much as i thought because i feel like they will pile the pressure of uni on us straight away! Good luck with year 13, i loved this life update xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All the best for Wednesday – you will be fine! They will ease you in gradually with the pressure, well mine did anyway. Not to worry, they won’t start mentioning uni/work/apprenticeships etc until the year above have sorted themselves out. Good luck, everything will be okay! xx


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