education · University

Uni Memoirs #2: So, what do I need for uni?

Congratulations to everyone that got their A level results today, I hope you all got the results you wanted and are excited for the future. Regardless of what you got, you should be so proud of yourselves, because I know from experience that A levels are no joke (I’m sure it’s likewise for IB students and BTEC students also).

The future may be a gap year right now, uni through clearing, your insurance, your firm, an apprenticeship, going straight into work. Whatever the future may look like for you right now, just know the best is yet to come. Everything may have turned out just as you wanted, or maybe it didn’t and you’re currently upset or confused about what to do next. Whichever category you’re currently in, be sure to count your blessings regardless and commit everything (the good and the bad) to God and he will surely direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).

For all those about to embark on the uni train and start uni next month, you may be wondering what do I need to take with me? Do I need a cheese grater, do I bring my own clock? I’m here to help! I love online shopping so welcome to my uni shopping list for freshers! (Before you embark on buying anything from this list, check what your uni already provides you with, so you don’t double up unnecessarily).

I’m going to break this up into sections, so what you’ll need in your room, stationary, toiletries, kitchen essentials and miscellaneous items you may not have thought of. I’ll try to have links to most items to help you get everything you need fast from Ebay and Amazon (sponsored). (For kitchen and/or toiletries I recommend supermarkets, Wilkos, Poundstretcher and your mum’s kitchen) – lets go!

Room:

Stationary:

Toiletries:

  • Towels
  • Bath robe**
  • Toothbrush case £

Kitchen:

  • Set of pots (3 pots are enough tbh)
  • Frying pan
  • Colander 
  • Foil/Cling film
  • Oven tray
  • Bin bags
  • Cutlery set
  • Cooking utensils 
  • Peeler
  • Cooking knives x3
  • Scissors

Miscellaneous/Other items:

*DISCLAIMER* This post may contain affiliate links, click here for more info

Key:

**recommended by ChidinmaE, but not essential

~ a girly choice, but a male version can also be obtained

$ bargin!! Thank me later

£ poundstore is best

Hope this preliminary list of stuff to get for uni was helpful, and if anything else comes to mind I will update the list and hopefully give you direct links also. Again, I want to say a big congratulations to everyone today, it’s been a hard 2 years, go and treat yourself! ~ ChidinmaE

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Uncategorized

Fear of Failure?

This fear plagues so many of us and has crept up in my life way too many times. The fear of failure is often a fear that people don’t consciously try to deal with and so many of us may not realise that it’s one of the biggest fears holding us back in life.

The other day, I went roller skating with my friends for the first time and loved it. I love trying out new activities and doing stuff like ice skating, go-karting, etc. So I was up for the challenge. I was very cautious when I got into the rink, and realised very fast, that it wasn’t as similar to ice skating as I thought (Ice skating you have more friction, less balance but it’s the other way around for roller skating). When this dawned on me, I realised that I wouldn’t be skating around as freely as I thought I would, so to the edge of the rink I went. Small small I was moving along the edge of the rink, taking my time and instead of me trying to master the basics of skating effectively, my main aim was not to fall (MISTAKE NO.1).

After about 20 minutes in me and my girls took a break and I was looking at everyone else still skating around and I realised that young children, probably around 6 years old were skating around with so much confidence and falling but getting straight back up to carry on. I wanted to go fast too, why can’t I go as fast? (MISTAKE NO.2)

By an hour’s time, these kids were skating rings around me. Obviously, some have been skating before, but I could tell that some were skating for the first time but still had so much confidence and fearlessness to keep mastering how to skate. By this time, I had only just built up the courage to leave the sides of the rink and venture skating around more freely (REVELATION NO.1). Just before we left I did a few laps of the rink as fast as I could and felt much freer to skate around the centre, but I had left it too late to progress further at skating freely without the sides of the rink to help (REVELATION NO.2).

–> Mistake no.1I had the wrong focus –> in life we’re going to fall, we’re going to fail, we’re not perfect. You’re focus shouldn’t be on not failing, it should be on trying to effectively progress and learn as you do so. If that means failing in order to learn, then so be it.

–> Mistake no.2Comparison (& also a hint of pride) –> comparison won’t help. Especially if you’re not willing to go through what others have gone through to get the success and see the progression they’ve been able to see. I also slyly noticed a hint of pride (probably why I took so many breaks to avoiding falling, as they say pride comes before a fall). Pride and thinking you know best, because of your age, gift, previous experience will keep you stagnant and unproductive.

–> Revelation no.1Fear of Failure is a crutch holding you back from progression   –> the side of the rink was my crutch that was reinforcing my fear of falling, until I left that crutch I was never going to begin to skate properly and progress in learning. We have so many crutches in life that we think are helping us to get through things and move forward, but really they are keeping you in your comfort-zone and stifling your progress. Throw those crutches to the wind.

–> Revelation no.2TIME WASTER!! –> the fear of falling had caused me to waste time being nervous, instead of me using that time to really try to become more proficient at skating. The fear of failure literally hands you an L to hold before you’ve even tried out your idea, started your plan, presented your pitch or expressed your goal. Why? It becomes a mindset that lowers your confidence and tells you to sit tight in your comfort zone. Don’t listen!

 

This analogy expressed a fear of me falling, which was still linked to failure in my mind. Falling to me was me failing to skate. Completely wrong mindset! Those kids showed me that falling was learning, and in life failing really is learning. I’ve heard this said so many times that failing is learning, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail, fail fast, fail early, fail big. But it’s all much easier said than done. Failure is often followed by disappointment, discouragement, embarrassment, possibly low self-esteem, lack of confidence, so it makes sense that we shy away from failure. The other side of failure has life’s greatest lessons, that can’t be taught but only experienced. Failure teaches us tenacity, patience and may just be the trigger you need to spark more passion in you to keep trying, keep learning and to keep going.

So many people we know as successful today, failed multiple times before they got the breakthrough they needed. People like Oprah, Bill Gates and J.K. Rowling had many rejections and failed ventures before they became the big names that we know right now. However, if they hadn’t failed at some point, would they just be a regular civilian behind a desk today? If they didn’t push through the failure they experienced and had put to bed the goals and ideas they had, would we know them?  Many of us have gifts and ideas that we’re sitting on because we’re afraid of ‘failing’, but that gift is your key to greatness, as expressed in Proverbs 18:16 ‘A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.’ (KJV)

As a semi-retired perfectionist and an academic the fear of failure has always lingered around me and the only way I’ve conquered this fear at times is by monitoring my mindset. If you don’t see failure as a pitstop for growth on your way to success, it will remain a stagnating fear that holds you back.

So how can we begin to break away from the fear of failure?

  • Reclaim your time – the fear of failure robs you of your life, because it robs you of your time. Take that time back and use it to develop your craft fearlessly, read books, learn from mentors, refine your gift.
  • Pray, plan and execute – cut out the overthinking and worrying from your process, it naturally incites doubts, fears and causes procrastination. Just leave the outcome to God and let him take you through the process and teach you through the process.
  • Detach your self-worth/identity from your achievements – we can often get caught up in having successful outcomes, causing us to view doing things right and doing well as a part of who we are. So much so, that failing seems like it would destroy who we’ve built ourselves to be. My first ever blog post outlined how I used to place a lot of my identity in my academic results, which made failing detrimental to my self-worth (Where is your Confidence and Self-Worth residing?). So detaching who I am, from my academic achievements was one of the healthiest things I ever did for my well-being and growth as a person.
  • Build your confidence – there is a confidence and boldness needed to fail and get back up, build that. Build resilience that will keep you going even when you’ve fallen. Sis, bro, you’ve got this, keep pushing!
  • Develop a growth mindset – I am a firm believer that a growth mindset will see you through and help you come out on top. See the failure as a lesson, a stepping stone, a challenge meant to grow you, failure shouldn’t hold you back. Failure should teach you a valuable lesson, that propels you further.

 

By the way, I didn’t fall when roller skating, but as you can probably tell by this post I feel like falling would have got me learning faster. So maybe it’s time we started to fail fast, grow more and succeed in due time.

Thanks for reading this post, hope it was useful and you were able to take something from it. If you’d like to answer this question and let me know your thoughts that’d be great, as I was just finishing off this post a question came to mind that I’m going to leave with you. Are we afraid of failure? Or do we fear how people will perceive us because we have failed? ~ ChidinmaE

 

 

 

education · University

Uni Memoirs #1: First Year, done!

First year is over. It feels so weird to say that, I can literally remember moving into my accommodation like it was yesterday. Everything is still so vivid, from finding out I made it into Warwick on results day to my first lecture – I remember it all.

Anywho, I thought I’d share a few things I learnt in first year and how I found it overall, hope you enjoy it, can relate or learn from it if your preparing to go to uni after this summer then get a pen and piece of paper handy.

 

  • Uni is a massive cashloss

This point is self explanatory. Everything swallows your money. Uber. Just Eat. Train tickets. Takeaway. Eating out. Going out. Online shopping. ‘Books’ (the library was my best friend sha). Societies. Events. Ball. Accommodation. Fines. Deposits and Agency fees. The list actually goes on, but university will empty your pockets, and alot of the time we do it willingly and then look at our bank statements and shake small small, but God is really on the throne. University in itself is £9.25K/year, its not chicken change and its an investment I had to remind myself about in times of laziness. But in general uni is an indirect financial lesson, in budgeting, saving, spending and thinking about your financial choices or suffering the consequences of those choices. Student finance was not my best friend at all, I got the minimum maintenance loan, so I had to budget what I got from my parents every few weeks which taught me alot about living independently, enjoying my time at uni and paying for expenses all on a budget which I was able to do without ever having to go on an Indomie diet – yayyy me!

  • Met so many new people

I have met so many people coming to uni. Made so many friends over the year and gotten to know people that I have now come to love. I knew that university would be a time where I made new friends, but I had no clue that I would be making friends even in the last term, friends ranging from first year to people in their fourth year. I’ve met such a range of people from different backgrounds, walks of life, internationals from different countries, the list goes on. Honestly I’m so grateful for all the friends I’ve made, people I’ve met, banter I’ve had and things I’ve learnt just from conversations and debates in people’s accom kitchens.

  • You won’t attend all of your lectures

I was one of those people that came to uni shouting ‘I will go to all my lectures, if I can wake up at 6/7 am for school why can’t I make my 9ams?’. Half way through term 1 I came to the realisation that I won’t make all my lectures and its okay. But to be fair I can say with my chest that I went to at least 75% of my lectures and I lecture captured missed lectures straight away, so I wasn’t wayward about missing lectures. But being realistic about which lectures I would attend really helped me to be more intentional. As an undergraduate student you learn very fast that uni is very independent, so some lectures, for a lack of a better term, are a waste of time. Especially if you learn better reading things by yourself or focus better at night then lectures aren’t a must. However, it doesn’t mean don’t go to any lectures, no. I’m saying know yourself and how you learn and what you need to do, so you can do well.  But let’s be real, 9ams are tasking to say the least, so I understand why many lectures are often missed. 

  • Housemates

People are detty (not just dirty, but detty)! First term was probably the best term in terms of my flat’s harmony and cleanliness. By term 2 bins are overflowing, sink is dirty, plates have been sitting there for days and I can only find one of my spoons (but I left my drawer full last time I checked). I had to just learn to meal prep when the kitchen was clean and keep it stepping to be honest, I didn’t come to uni to clean up after grown adults. But on the other hand, apart from cleanliness and my things disappearing here and there, I was blessed to have some of my flatmates become family and great friends – wouldn’t change my flat 7 experience for the world.

  • Time management

This is a big theme when you get to uni. You have so much free time and so little structure that you can really waste it or misuse it. The way I misused my time was through my sleeping pattern. I definitely had uni induced insomnia throughout first year, and especially in term 1, I was ALWAYS tired. Sleeping at 5am kekeing all night and going to a 10am the same day, then coming back to my accommodation to have a 4 hour ‘nap’ then repeat the cycle wasn’t healthy. I wish I could say that it got better, but it didn’t – sleep deprivation was just a part of my first year experience. My time management wasn’t great this year and I will definitely have to fix up for second year, but I enjoyed every single keke-session I had!

  • Overwhelming

This university experience can definitely be overwhelming in terms of demands on your time, academic abilities, finances, social situations, deadlines, finding housing for the next academic year and various responsibilities. There were so many times this year when I felt like I was being stretched in every direction and one more demand would cause me to break, but I just kept going until I felt completely overwhelmed and eventually forced myself to just take time to breathe. Uni requires so much from you not just academically, but as an individual and you’re really put through your paces in some situations. I feel like it’s a season that gives you a sneak peak into adulthood and a time to really build character, but it’s far from easy. It was so important for me to learn to protect my peace and watch my mindset in times when I was overwhelmed because without doing that uni could have easily chewed me up as an appetizer, but we thank God that wasn’t the case. At times uni did push me to my mental limits, but simply taking breaks to go back home, praying, watching sermons, taking time for myself to relax and watch some YouTube videos and just talking to friends all helped.

  • Your mental health is important!

Like I was alluding to in the last point, uni will highlight your mental health and it’s often not a comfortable thing to go through. I remember starting term 2 and I was just down – from the jump. Nothing had triggered it, I just got back to uni in January and was not fully myself. I preferred being alone more often, I was more emotional and everything felt overwhelming. I felt guilty about not checking up on friends in other unis, not calling my family, but i felt homesick at the same time, deadlines and tests were coming up and I just wasn’t myself. But the friends, more like sisters, I have around me at uni noticed and spoke life into me and encouraged me to take time for myself, and they were there to listen I appreciated so much (girls you know who you is xx). I could have easily stayed in my downstate if I didn’t accept the support, which alot of ‘strong’ friends do, but its so important to understand that everyone needs support and time to explore their mental health in order to understand themselves better.

  • Deadlines, Reading, Exams

Workload in first year didn’t feel too much when I was managing my time effectively. Deadlines were normally set at least a month before they’re due, so there was time for research, reading and writing up assignments. However, being a first year we think we can control time and get assignments done within days – which we did. Doing assignments late is an extreme sport and many of us got a lot of experience at doing it. For me though, I can’t have that stress on my head, I have to start assignments early, I may leave it for weeks and come back when it’s nearly due, but I had to start early so I knew that I had something down. The one thing I always did too late was my reading. Reading while doing your assignment seems efficient, but it’s not great if you’re trying to actually take in the information. So hopefully I will do my reading before starting my assignments next year.

Exams, exams, exams. Well let’s just say this exam season showed me exactly why I’m not the type of person that handles cramming well. Anywho, I got through it and I definitely know how I won’t handle exam season in 2nd year, but I thank God for the peace I felt throughout term 3, Exodus 14:14 ‘The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’ (KJV) was my exam season verse that I held tight to. God really saw me through each exam and I wasn’t feeling any anxiety which I’m so thankful for. 

  • GROWTH!

Overall 1st year was full of growth for me, in every single way possible. I’m so grateful for all the ups and downs this academic year has brought, it all helped me to develop in one way or the other. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially I’ve developed for the better and I couldn’t be more pleased (I left out physically because uni for me equaled sleep deprivation and half a term of freshers flu). The events I attended during the year, things I’ve been a part of, friends I’ve made, church I’ve joined, assignments I did well in and others I flopped, they all put me through a growing process that has put me in better stead for the person I’m destined to become.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed first year, even the hard times brought something of value to me and taught me alot about myself and others. For me to even be able to say this, shows how I’ve changed within myself in a year (compared to how I saw my sixth form experience). Uni taught me so much and one thing that I started putting into practise is seeing challenges as an unknown adventure that may not produce exactly what you want, but it will ALWAYS teach you the lesson you need!

Hope you enjoyed this post and receive the grades you desire this year. Have a blessed summer guys. ~ ChidinmaE

Faith

Strike the Ground!

Sorry for the lack of consistency guys, exam season tried to finish me but I’m here by God’s grace and shall be free in a few days. Thank you so much for the continued support, love and feedback (even people that have been coming for my neck, wondering when I will put out another post) I appreciate it all. This post is something that has been a lingering theme for me lately, and I hope it’s a blessing.

I remember so clearly when I was younger I used to  come close to tears whenever we drove past a graveyard. I’d sit in the car thinking, wooow so many people are dead and one day I’m going to die and that will be it. A stone with my name on it, and a simple dash between the years I lived to express my life. Now that I’m older, things have changed. If I see a graveyard now, I still get upset but for a different reason. I now have the understanding that the wealthiest places on this earth are graveyards. So many ideas, unfulfilled destinies and world changing characters that didn’t manage to actualise are buried. Many people don’t develop and grow into the person that lives their life to the fullest on earth, in order to die empty. Many people stop striking the ground!

Both my home church and my church at uni were doing series’ (Rediscovering Life & Don’t Hold Back) that were emphasising living life to the fullest and not withholding your passions, talent, gifts and ideas back – what you have can truly bless others and yourself. So why do we hold back?

I feel like we’re all very good at talking ourselves out of things and some of us are natural excuse makers (I’m definitely guilty of this, so I’m triggered), but we can achieve so much and impact so many lives if we start to nurture what God has given us. A lot of us know that we have a bright future ahead of us, but the pathway between now and then is so unclear that we decide to sit on our hands and just wait for things to fall on our laps. I’m just putting this energy out there, nothing is falling on your lap sweetie. That 1st you want, was never falling down and just descending onto your Tabula, that business you’ve been wanting to start was never making its own domain name and starting it’s own 5 year plan, your relationship with God wasn’t going to become more intimate by spending all day kekeing on your socials, sis, bro we need to fix up. Potential is NOTHING, without action. Potential is a dormant component that is only activated by faith and action, even then your faith and action is only translated into progress with consistency.

In 2nd Kings 13:14-20 Jehoash was given arrows to defeat the Arameans. Elisha instructed Jehoash to shoot an arrow as a prophetic statement of victory, knowing the battle is out his control but in the Lord’s hands. He was then instructed to strike the ground in verse 18, Jehoash took the arrow and struck it only three times and stopped. Elisha was so frustrated that he stopped and explained that a few more strikes to the ground would have defeated Aram completely, but now its been capped at only three times. This scripture when broken down to me, TRIGGERED MY WHOLE LIFE. Let’s break it down:

  1. What’s in your hand? What have you been armed with to succeed, to overcome, inspire, progress and bless others with? You have gifts, things about your character, your in positions that can be a direct or indirect blessing to yourself and others.
  2. If/When you know what’s in your hand, do you have enough faith to shoot that arrow? Put yourself out there, start a plan, say yes to that offer to perform, apply for that internship, agree to lead a group at church, be confident in your gifts and the character God has given you, enough so, that you can shoot your arrow and know that the rest is in God’s hands.
  3. Are you prepared to strike the ground? Not only strike the ground but to keep striking it? Don’t quit, keep being consistent in what you are doing, if God has willed it for your life then couple that endorsement with vim and faith and DON’T STOP! Have the tenacity to keep on going, of course it’s not easy, but nothing is easy and victory isn’t given to those that are the CEOs of bare minimum twitter. Let’s start to build ourselves up in the Word to understand the strength that we have to succeed, don’t forfeit your victory in this season. Keep striking the ground. Keep working hard, keep building your character, keep being authentically you. Strike the ground and don’t stop!

Lately, I realised that I was suppressing parts of my character (an arrow I should be striking) to appease other people, when really God would want me to keep being me. In a way striking the ground with my character. Let me explain what I mean. My character, when I’m comfortable with you is very practical and straight talking in nature (in terms of when I’m supporting friends and giving advice). One thing that coming to uni has shown me is that not everyone is going to understand you. I’ve known for a long time that not everyone will like you and that is fine. But I never really considered the fact that not everyone will understand YOU. You as a person, your heart, your intentions, the way you act, talk or carry yourself. This has been a learning curve. While learning this, I started to automatically hold my character back and became more neutral. In a way, I was holding my arrows and just dusting them off, instead of striking the ground with them.

Really and truly, you don’t know who your blessing by being you. It turns out that how I carry myself has affected people around me positively and I didn’t even know it. The same characteristics I was doubting are the same characteristics that have made an impact, the principles/values I’ve tried to not push down people’s throats are what have been showing Christ to other people indirectly. I’m not saying this for the sake of filling up space on a page, I’m speaking to anyone that is doubting their gifts, their character, their temperament, anything they’ve possessed from God that seems like a burden, inconvenience, unpopular but you know it’s aligned to your purpose or what God has willed for you. DON’T STOP STRIKING THE GROUND WITH THAT! We need to stop watching how other people see us, and start living for an audience of one. When we are doing what is in line with that audience of one, we will start to impact other people around us through God’s plan for our lives. We need to switch from the mindset focused on impressing others, to impacting others. One option keeps you popular, the other keeps you steadfast.  

Just want to put the energy out there, I’m not perfect, I don’t have my life figured out and I’m on my journey just like everyone else is, but when you have an understanding of where you want to go in life, whether that be career wise, relationally or in your journey with Christ you just naturally start to become more direct and intentional with the way you express things, do things and relate to people. And striking the ground is an intentional process that isn’t always smooth sailing. 

When you start striking the ground, it will get tiring, you may get fed up, you will feel misunderstood, you will face resistance, but keep doing it. We’ve not been sent to this earth to be complacent or achieve only a partial victory. Come with vim and leave everything you have been given to use on this earth and leave them in the form of your efforts, successfully executed plans, the lives you’ve impacted, the light of Christ you’ve been able to show to this world. Leave a meaningful legacy on earth and die empty, in the sense that you’ve not wasted any of the gifts God gave you when he first formed you. So let’s start to strike the ground this summer, have a fun, relaxing time but be consistent in doing things to build yourself up, succeed and secure the victory. I pray we all leave a lasting legacy on this earth when it’s time.

Thanks for having a read if you’ve gotten this far, hope it was a good read. Hoping exams went well for everyone and you’ve began to enjoy summer. Just a side note: I didn’t actually plan the second half of this post, but I feel so strongly that so many people need to start striking the ground. This isn’t the season to hold back. Some people will understand what you’re trying to achieve and others won’t get it. Regardless keep pressing on.  It may feel redundant, useless, futile but you are defeating battles before you’ve stepped into them, your encouraging people around you, your building character and you are slowly but surely fulfilling purpose. So enjoy your summer and thank you again for reading. ~ ChidinmaE

A levels · education

A level Psychology

Hey guys and girls. So exam season is truly here and I’m trying to get back into the flow of revision and being productive. However, let’s just say I tried small small to get work done over Easter and it’s been quite hit and miss, but my God is on the throne sha.

This post is specifically for anyone doing A level psychology, as that’s the main focus (I may do a general revision post but we’ll see).

When revising you need to go back to the beginning. What I mean by this is the beginning in terms of why you are studying what you are studying. Without a why, motivation often becomes a distant cousin to your success. So why did I study psychology at A level (and also now at degree level)? I’ve always been interested in human behaviour and wanting to know why people behave in certain ways. My first realisation of this interest was seated in my love for crime documentaries, investigation shows, Crimewatch, shows like Criminal Minds and The Mentalist. I realised that I didn’t just watch the shows and leave it there, I would find myself thinking about why a criminal would act the way they did, why did the crowd not respond the way you’d expect them to or why did the victim react like that? So when it came to picking my A levels Psychology was a clear choice and my genuine love for the subject (and God’s grace) helped me to get the A* I was able to achieve.

Even if your why for studying psychology isn’t a passion for the subject, still find a why. Whether that be, so I can get into my firm choice uni, so my parents are proud with my results, so I can be proud of my results and myself or so I can get an understanding of a new subject. Just have a why and keep that in mind when revising. Once you have your why let’s start getting organised.

A level psychology is a dense subject. From novice concepts, case studies with dates and et als, theories, models, experiments, A01s (key points/details) and A03s (evaluation points) – there’s a lot of information to digest, understand and remember. Organisation is key, so here are some steps to organising and getting on top of your (psychology) revision:

1) Print out your specification 

Your specification tells you exactly what can be asked of you in your exams. The backbone of your revision should be your specification. Everything you write down when revising or condensing notes should correlate to a specification point. This helps to keep your revision focused, concise and hopefully accurate.

Psychology TopicsFor AQA A level psychology this is just the list of topics, but print out a physical copy of the specification and also use it as a checklist to monitor your progress through your revision. The specification will also help you understand the structure of your exam, in terms of what topics are in what paper and what information you need to know for each topic. So from this topic list, 1-4 are Paper 1, 5-7 are Paper 2 and 8 plus one topic from each option makes up Paper 3 (so in my case I did topics 8,9,12 & 15).

2) Condense your notes

Reading straight out of your dense class notes will most likely won’t help you take in the information you need, its way too passive. Whether you do it by hand or typed up, condensing your notes will help you when your exam is closer and you need key points to look over.

For me personally I condense my notes in stages and the amount of times I condense it depends on my initial understanding of the topic, how dense I perceive that topic to be and how much time I have. So I remember for topics such as social influence and memory, as they were the first two topics I learnt I condensed the notes many times. I typed up the notes, made mind maps, key word lists, listed experiments and case studies and finally made revision cards. Psychopathology I made a summarised PowerPoint and made mind maps and revision cards. While topics such as research methods I only did revision cards.

So my general advice for this point is to get to know what materials you need to revise effectively and condense your notes accordingly.

3) Practise your exam techniques

With practising exam techniques, I found it effective to be progressive when doing this. So my first way of practising exam techniques was simply recalling facts and key points using summary questions  (given by my teacher, I’ll leave them below) that I answered. These questions are quick and cover the breadth of each topic.  

My next way of using recall skills needed in the exam, was by answering questions in my textbook (the textbooks I used were The Complete Companion for AQA A level Psychology which can be bought from Amazon, year 1/AS & year 2). These questions were weighted with marks, which would occur in the exam. At this stage weighted questions help you to know what kind of question you’re dealing with. So 1/2 markers requiring short/one worded answers to be answered in less than 2 minutes, while 6 markers may require 2 extended A03 points or detailed A01 recall. With 8 and 16 markers showing that you need to spend between 8-20 minutes structuring an essay using both A01 and A03 points (possibly needing A02 points if it’s an application question). This helped to develop my skill in structuring different answers for differently weighted questions.

The best practise you can get are past exam papers  under timed conditions. Timing myself doing past papers, got me into the habit of answering the paper like I would need to when my exam came around. You put everything you’ve learnt into practise, timing, structure of answers, recall of facts, reading and understanding the question then answering accordingly.

At all of these stages, getting your teacher to check over your answers, mark your practise runs and give you feedback is very useful. They are there to support you, so don’t feel like your bothering them (this has always been what I thought, but really and truly they’re paid to help you through your studies and I was lucky that my teacher was super proactive in supporting us). Some of your teachers may have masters in the subject or better yet be examiners that can critically help you navigate how to answer the paper, so don’t waste their expertise by not utilising it.

4) Do as many essay plans or practise essays as you can!

This helps to ensure that you get used to evaluating, which can often be the most tasking part of the essays. It also just helps you to feel more prepared for the extended questions that may not be essay questions, but may appear as 6 markers instead.

Go to your exam board website and go through the past papers and answer the 8 markers and 16 markers or make detailed essay plans for them. As you are writing these essays and essay plans get your teacher to mark them and then you can improve them until they are model essays. Then compile them onto one Word document and coming up to your exams, you can read over these essay plans and highlight key points to help you remember what’s needed in the essays.

I found this step very helpful once I had all my revision material, actively writing up essays kept me recalling information and structuring them effectively the more I did 8 and 16 markers. (At the end of this post I’ll leave a link to my essays and other revision material I could find to share x)

I hope this has been useful to anyone in year 12 or year 13 studying A level psychology and I hope anyone with their psychology exams coming up (and exams in general) is feeling a bit more equipped. Below will be some general tips that you should already know, but hopefully work as reminders. I will also have some revision materials you may find useful.

Tips:

  • Remember research methods can be asked in any paper
  • A02 questions are questions that require you to link concepts to the context of the question (e.g. a question including a name gives it context, so ‘Ben may have schizophrenia because he has shown signs of having 3 positive symptoms for over 6 months’). So extended/essay questions will reward some marks for linking your answer to the context of the question
  • Try to answer a mark a minute or be a bit quicker for shorter questions so you can give yourself enough time to do your essays justice
  • BECOME BESTIES WITH YOUR SPECIFICATION –> http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/psychology/specifications/AQA-7181-7182-SP-2015.PDF
  • Mark your practise papers to see what the examiners want and also get your teacher to check it over
  • Know key names such as: Asch, Milgram, Ainsworth, Bowlby, Zimbardo, Moscivici, Schaffer & Emerson, Lorenz, Harlow, Van IJzendoorn & Kroonenberg, Baddeley & Hitch, Atkinson & Shiffrin, Ellis and any other key names from your optional topics (Disclaimer: there are hundreds of names in psychology you don’t need to remember them all, remember key ones and what they did)
  • 30 minutes per section of a paper (AS papers = 1.5 hrs, A2 papers = 2 hrs)

Question structures:

  • 1/2 marks: tick box, one/two worded answers or one sentence answer –> (1 minute)
  • 3 marks: short answer –> (2 minutes)
  • 4 marks: 2/3 sentences – A01 descriptive paragraph or 2 in depth A03 points –> (4 minutes)
  • 6 marks: detailed A01 paragraph or 3 explained A03 points (6 minutes)
  • 8 marks: 3 marks for A01 points & 5 marks for 2-3 explained A03 points (8-10 minutes)
  • 16 marks: 6 marks for detailed A01 & 10 marks for 3-4 explained A03 points ‘OR’ 6 marks A01, 4 marks A02 & 6 marks 2-3 A03 points (20 minutes)

Revision materials:

Attachment Revision – List of Names

Memory notes & revision

Psychology A level Essays

Social Influence notes & revision

Test your knowledge Psychology Questions

Everything in this post is just to help any A level psychology students to feel a bit more prepared and is just a rough guide based on what I did. Wish everyone the best as exam season is now upon us. We can do all things through Christ that strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).

If anyone is considering taking psychology at degree level and wants to know what my course is like or wants something explained a bit more in terms of A level psychology just let me know xx ~ ChidinmaE

Mental Health · Self Care · Wellbeing

Protect your Peace

Protect. Your. Peace. What does that even mean?

To me it means alot of things, but it can be encompassed into one main theme. That one theme being mental health and wellbeing. The other day I heard someone say you can’t keep giving to people from a half full or empty cup, you have to be overflowing within yourself before you can give to others. This simple analogy spoke volumes to me. I have often been guilty of depleting myself to help others, to achieve a goal or just be the Chidinma that everyone expects me to be (when I say this I don’t mean a Chidinma that isn’t who I really am, but the version of me that is always working at an optimum level) in terms of being there for people, staying motivated, constantly achieving and staying consistent in general. Whether we like it or not, different people expect different things from us and we are consistently giving to our family, friends, colleagues, bosses, lecturers, teachers in terms of our time, emotions, money, love and energy. By the time you take a step back you’re not coping and your one incident away from having a breakdown. That’s the main issue, we wait till everything has piled up before we take time for ourselves. Taking care of yourself and taking time out needs to be a consistent thing that we implement more often for our own wellbeing.

Mental health and your general wellbeing is so crucial to understand. This becomes VERY clear when you get to university. Anyone that knows me, knows that in my spare time all I do is watch YouTube and before uni I was watching videos about university and everyone kept saying ‘Mental Health’, ‘Wellbeing’, ‘Counselling’, ‘Depression’ and I knew about these concepts on the surface but thought I understood them. However, the gravity of these words is evident in university. Regardless of if some of these words don’t relate to you, you will see the effect of them around you in other people. University is a great time to discover yourself, develop and grow as a person. People often say ‘uni is where you discover who you are’. If this statement is true, I think it can be linked to mental health and wellbeing because who you are, the best you, is hinged on you understanding your mental health and how to take care of your wellbeing.

One word to describe university is overwhelming. This can be viewed both positively and negatively. The Oxford Dictionary defines overwhelming as an adjective to mean ‘Very great in amount.’ Whether this is a great amount of studying, a great amount of time with friends, a great amount of time going out, a great amount of time doing that assignment last minute, it’s all overwhelming. With the nature of university being an overwhelming experience it will eventually have an effect on you, it might be minor it could be major but self awareness and understanding yourself, your character and how you function will all help you to understand your mental health and what you can put in place to protect it.

Self care and being reflective is so important for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Say it with me now, 1-2-3, “It’s not selfish to take care of yourself” AGAIN for the ones at the back that didn’t hear you! But seriously this is something I still struggle with sometimes, I feel like I always need to be doing something for uni, for a friend or for my family and I don’t want to let myself or others down. At the end of the day when I don’t take time for myself I simply burnout and crumble under the pressure I put on myself. As a result I’m of no use to myself or others because I can’t function as I normally do, but most importantly it’s not healthy.

Right now it’s the end of March, which means that exam season is now knocking at your door, whether you’re preparing for GCSEs, A levels or end of year university exams, revision time is fast approaching. Exam season is often a stressful time that can take a toll on your health, both mental and physical. So balancing taking care of yourself and doing well in your exams is the next hurdle most of us are about to face, yet again (or for GCSE students possibly for the first time!)

Here are 5 ways in which we can protect our peace in this coming exam season and in general:

1. Pray

One thing that always helps me especially when I’m stressed, but also on a regular basis is prayer. Reminding myself that I’m not here by my own strength or power and knowing that my burdens aren’t mine but they’re the Lord’s helps me so much. Through praying, the Word and watching sermons I can put things into perspective better and clear my mind when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Here are some scriptures that may be useful and can be used as prayer points:

  • Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety [burdens] on him because he cares for you”
  • Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”

2. Reflect

Just reflect. Reflect on how you feel, why you feel this way, when you started feeling this way. Ask yourself candid questions. Try and get to the root of your current state in a place of solitude and stillness. This life comes at you fast, and with too much vim alot of the time, so you have to make the conscious decision to be still and think. Go to your room, put your phone on airplane mode and think.

3. Talk It Out / Write It Out / Get It Out

Without this step, step 2 may become redundant. Especially if you are already a person that overthinks. So please try to utilize this step, even if you don’t do any others.

This step is so crucial for your mental health and getting from a place of being down to having a release from what’s going on in your head. Everyone deals with issues in their own way, but when it gets overwhelming that issue shouldn’t stay in your head, it has to come out in some way. Talk to someone you trust, a friend, a parent, counsellor just express what you need to get out so you can either start to move forward, whether that’s by getting help or finally feeling free from being overwhelmed.

If you don’t want to talk about it then write it all out. This could be in the form of a journal or a scrap piece of paper it doesn’t matter. The aim of this step is to GET IT OUT! However your feeling, whatever is on your mind get it out in words by speaking about it or writing it down. If you are a fan of writing then I would say get a journal that you can write in regularly, after a few months you can literally read back and see how much you’ve grown mentally and it’s great to keep track and possibly figure out your triggers.

4. Treat Yo Self

Treat Yo Self

Go out. Take a break from revision for an hour. Watch your favourite YouTubers. Go and have ice cream. A bath. Face mask and a movie. Go play fortnite (I got you boys). Just do something for yourself that you enjoy and can help you to de-stress. No degree, relationship issue, exam, family problem, financial issues should come and rob you of your joy. Live your best life and live it abundantly.

5. Repeat!

Yep. Repeat every step on a regular basis. Whether you are having a poor mental health day or your good, cultivate these habits so you can maintain a stable one for a longer period of time. Regardless of what you do, you will have low days, a low week could be longer but knowing how to deal with these times effectively can really help to keep you at bay even when life is coming with too much energy.

I really want mental health and wellbeing to be a conversation people, especially of ethnic minorities are having more often. As a black African woman, I know that mental health isn’t often an open discussion, but it should be. I’d love for people to feel free to interact in the comments about mental health and wellbeing and give any extra tips or steps they may take which could also help others. Any contributions are welcome. (I might do a series on mental health at some point because I am passionate about it and have alot more to say, feel free to get in contact with me if you’d like to contribute to the mental health posts in the future.)

Anywhooooo, hope this post has been useful. I’m always here to talk if anyone needs to just do a cheeky cheeky Step 3 and get it out and I’m here to pray for anyone as well if need be. ~ ChidinmaE

(Title inspired by Nissy Tee, great YouTuber and an amazing woman – be sure to check out her channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NissyTee)

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The Comparison Game has no winners…

I don’t know about you guys, but one thing that can cause me to feel inadequate at times is comparison. Comparison can creep up at any time and can take so many forms. You can compare yourself in terms of accomplishments, possessions, academic achievements/grades, physical appearance, and the list goes on. But the bottom line is it’s detrimental to your personal growth and progression. Sprinters can’t win by looking behind them or looking to other people in different lanes. Even if you do look at someone’s lane and desire their path, running in their lane gets you DISQUALIFIED! How many of us are disqualifying ourselves?

I’ve only lived a fraction of my life so far, but I’m quite sure that comparison is never completely eradicated from our lives, but how we deal with it should be modified early. But as you grow up you realise that no matter what stage you are in, what you have attained or how you appear, the grass is always greener on the other side. But as you grow in wisdom, you understand that you need to cultivate the habit of watering your grass so it becomes greener, regardless of the shades of green you can see around you. The key word being habit! The Oxford dictionary defines a habit as ‘A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up’. Not a momentary action or sporadic practice which causes you to focus on yourself for a moment and then get to a point where you review your progress against other people, AGAIN. It’s easier said than done, but learning not to compare yourself is so important for you to live a fulfilled life and remain content.

My friends and I are experts at teasing each other about what our “age mates” are doing and achieving, compared to what we may be doing. In times like this it can be so easy to be monitoring someone else’s progress, instead of nurturing our own plans and visions. But really and truly, comparison will kill your joy!

At my age, this is the first time in which everyone around me are clearly paving different paths. Throughout school, we were all put into sets doing the same subjects, same tests, same coursework and comparison was a normal thing. In secondary school your getting back your year 10 mock results and everyone in class was asking each other what they got. It was the norm, and many people (including myself) indulged in it. Now people are knocking at the door of adulthood, at uni possibly, and everyone is doing a different course, some 3 years others 4 years, some may have a year in industry, year abroad, plans for careers related to their degree, others unrelated, but yet with all these differences we can still find ourselves making comparisons. As soon as we do this, we devalue our own path and self doubt creeps in.

As cliche as it may sound, we are all unique and valuable in our own ways and this will only be brought to fruition if we stay committed and true to our own lane. Everyone has so much to offer and needs to believe in their abilities to succeed in the way God has destined. However, we see someone else’s successes and feel insecure about where we currently are. This can easily breed jealousy and envy, because your focus is in the wrong place and as soon as you begin to compare yourself you automatically start comparing your flaws to someone’s polished end result. It’s even more detrimental when we do this via social media. We are all on social media constantly, throughout the day looking at other people’s lives, achievements, with everyone posting the highlight reel of their lives. However, we compare people’s social media version of themselves to the real life, real time version of ourselves. Whenever you decide to do this, you will always come up short because it’s already comparison on an uneven playing field. Social media usage, its purpose and its effect on us is a whole other blog post in itself, but don’t get me wrong, social media is a great tool when used effectively and in moderation. Regardless, we cannot deny that social media has played a big role in increasing the avenues in which we can use to make comparisons.  

I’m not a stranger to comparing myself to others, but remembering to go back into the Word and reaffirm who I am in Christ always sets me back to focusing on my own life that I’ve been blessed with for a purpose. Romans 12:6a “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” We are gifted differently, because we are all put on this earth to fulfill a different purpose. The truth of the matter is that the longer you compare yourself to other people, the longer you delay your purpose being fulfilled. Indirectly, by me comparing myself to someone else I’m making them a standard that I want to live up to. This is backwards in every way possible. My standard is and should be the Word. How can we compare ourselves to another flawed human being, but aim to feel fulfilled and content?

So what steps can be taken to combat comparison? For me, the most important thing is my identity staying rooted in Christ, Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”. If we are made in God’s image there is no reason for us to feel inadequate, ugly or inferior because you’ve been made and crafted in the best way that God saw fit. For you to disregard how you’ve been made and engineered, and then compare yourself to some else, in some ways is an insult to who created you. Believe in your slay, believe in your abilities, your talents and the purpose that God has for you. We need to get to a stage where we focus so much on ourselves that we have no time to compare our journey to another person’s. Also, develop a strong sense of self. Develop your confidence, your craft and build a belief system that helps you to progress each and everyday to become a better version of you, compared to the you you were yesterday. Lastly, trust in the plan God has for you. Your journey will always be different from the people around you and in the long run making comparisons will hold you back mentally, which will ultimately slow down your progress down. Your plan from God is personalised and tailored for you and you alone. 

Let’s stay in our lanes in 2018, because this Comparison Game truly has no winners ~ ChidinmaE

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Take Hold of 2018

We’re now 3 weeks into the New Year, 2018 is truly here. Have you made any progress with any of your goals yet though?

A new year is that time when people are up for change and self development, everyone is hyped and ready to be the best version of themselves for a whole 2 weeks then we’re back to our complacent selves again!! But let’s really make 2018 our year. (You are probably thinking New Year’s is gone, the year has started, it’s been 3 weeks. However, this is a  perfect time to get a reminder to make positive habits in order to have a fruitful year – so let’s do it!)

I don’t personally make New Year’s resolutions anymore, but there are a few things I do try to do to get ready for the New Year and lay down the foundation of the year ahead. First of all, I let go and let God (Let go… Let God) with everything that has transpired in the previous year. Whether positive or negative, give it all to God in prayer and thanksgiving. Even the hardships I went through in 2017 I had to get to the point where I’m thankful for them, they all played a hand in my growth. Likewise don’t forget the things you achieved and accomplished in the past year, too often we focus on what’s gone left but don’t recognise what went right.  So come to God on a grateful level and give thanks, if you’re not a Christian still reflect on both the positives and negatives of the year you’ve left behind and take in those lessons (we don’t have losses).

I usually welcome in a New Year by giving the new year a theme, this theme works as a continuous prayer point throughout the year, which works to be the foundation for my year. When I say theme, for me I write down 3 words that work to be the backdrop for the year ahead. For example, my theme for 2017 was ‘Growth, Faith and Peace’. I found that having a theme for myself in 2017 really helped me to hold on to an optimistic view of the year. My theme for 2017 was definitely tested during A levels, but also became evident that it was becoming my reality even though it was a stressful time. At times when you have no words to say in prayer, can’t explain how your feeling or your not a Christian just speak over your life positivity in the form of your theme for the year. It honestly becomes the backdrop for your year if you really keep speaking it over your life. 2017 was my year of growth, I grew in faith in terms of understanding that God was never going to bring me this far to leave me and that same reasoning brought me peace even if I was at my lowest point. So I would recommend trying out giving your 2018 a theme, it’s never too late. Right now as I’m typing, my 2018 theme is written on my whiteboard in front of me, so I literally and figuratively don’t lose sight of what my year will hold for me.

I also, write down my 2018 goals and put them up where I will see them daily. However, as I’ve gotten older, I learnt to make my goals more detailed and specific so that they’re measurable and I know exactly when it’s been reached and the steps I need to take throughout the year in order to achieve every goal. I do this by breaking every goal down into actionable steps that I take either daily, weekly or monthly. This keeps me accountable to my goals on a frequent basis, keeps them in focus and helps to make them feel less distant. Often what can happen is, we have a goal, write it down and say “yep by the end of the year I will have saved £1000”, but no small steps are planned out to get there. So by December of 2018 you may have a cheeky £97 in your savings because you didn’t outline any small steps to take frequently throughout the year to save that £1000. Instead, a goal like this needs to be worked on at least monthly, but weekly is better. For example, you would set out your main goal to save £1000 and then on another sheet of your goals split into daily, weekly and monthly actions write under the weekly category ‘transfer £20 to my savings’. This keeps you accountable each week and if you stick to it that’s  £1,040 in your savings by December 31st 2018. This is how ALL of your goals need to be broken down if you are serious about achieving them. So if it’s academic, spiritual, socially break each goal into actions you will take frequently till those goals are reached later in the year.

Lastly, my favourite thing to do is a vision board for the year. It ultimately helps to translate your goals into visions, as it’s a visual cue for what you want to see in the year ahead. It’s a great motivational tool, that can include pictures of things that you want for your future, things you want to achieve in 2018 and people that inspire you. If you are a visual person, like me (I have pictures and quotes all up on my wall), a vision board may be a perfect source of motivation to keep you going.

So take that step in 2018 to make habits that you will thank your future self for. 2018 is your year to be better, do better and live effectively for your purpose.

Things to remember for 2018:

  • Readers are leaders (have a goal to read a certain number of books this year, even if it’s just 1 or 2, just start) Claud Williams founder of Dream Nation was speaking at an event at my uni yesterday and has a great list of book recommendations https://dreamnation.co/book-club/book-recommendations/
  • Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business
  • My ideas will be put into action
  • Excellence is a habit, not a one off act
  • Water is your best friend
  • Secure the bag now, so henjoymentttt can follow later
  • Not everyone will understand or support your vision, be your own cheerleader
  • Your network will determine your networth!
  • Seeing other people’s success, doesn’t mean you’re failing
  • You can do all things through Christ that strengthens you – Philippians 4:13
  • YOU CAN DO THIS xx

Linked below are resources to help you write your goals, break your goals down and examples of vision boards.

Vision Board Ideas and Examples!

2018 Goals, Theme and Habits Template

As a side note, I just want to say thank you for the support I’ve received so far I appreciate it so much and see it all. From the subscribers, likes, promotion on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter it means the world to me that people support and enjoy this blog, your support didn’t go unnoticed in 2017 and that won’t change this year xx ~ ChidinmaE

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Let go… Let God

‘Let go and Let God’ is a phrase that’s easier said than done. Regardless, it’s a powerful phrase, if you take heed to it.

I’m a professional over thinker, and as I’ve grown and developed more worries and responsibilities have become more evident. Many things can lead people to feel overwhelmed and snowed under, but how much of that do you present to God to take charge of it instead? We often live our lives like we’re an island that can sustain itself without external help. If you’re an independent person like me, that takes pride in doing things by themselves then I’m sure you can relate. However, a downfall to this somewhat ‘strong’ character is that you take on everything without attempting to ask for help when its needed.

This world will bombard you with so much to do, think about, try and organise or figure out. Overwhelming is an understatement, but somehow becomes the norm. So to be able to let God take on your worries is something as a Christian that you need to be able to cultivate. What we can often find ourselves doing is being presented with a situation, then instead of going to your secret place with God, we go full steam ahead make decisions for ourselves, say certain things to certain people, do something that wasn’t well thought out. Then finally when everything is truly pear-shaped we remember to pray and now ask for help, but everything has been done in the wrong order – nonetheless it’s all a learning curve. No one is perfect.

Not being perfect is really highlighted during your late teens and into your twenties, which is proving to be an overwhelming transition of seasons. This period of life may seem to have no clear direction or predetermined path that you should follow – that’s scary. Starting university just a few months ago, this became a reality. (Hence why I’ve been MIA, but I will fix up). This is the time when people are growing in so many aspects, “finding themselves” and discovering what they want to go into career wise, learning to live as an adult and juggling everything simultaneously. Everything is at our doorstep at once, which is great but it’s still a lot to handle. However, as soon as I start being consistent in prayer and seeking God for direction I always find peace as Psalm 29:11 explains ‘ The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace’ (NIV).

God can provide the lasting peace and direction that you seek, the peace that surpasses anything people around you have ever seen. In Mark 4:34-41, Jesus was at peace even during a storm and the disciples were stunned, verse 38 ‘Jesus was in stern, sleeping on a cushion…’ People around you may be stressing about an upcoming exam, money and other worries, but the peace they’ll see in you will have them questioning how you stay so calm. Your faith in God will keep you worry-free as expressed in Isaiah 26:3 ‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you’. This doesn’t mean you won’t stress out at things, but it means you will have sustained inner peace that will never let you lose sight of who is keeping you. There will never be a point in our lives when we have it all together and perfect, but that’s normal and why we continue growing. So remember to put your pride down, let go and let God, humble yourself in the presence of God daily and let him take your burdens and worries. You were not made to be a perfect entity that can sustain themselves through tough times on their own or not have any at all. Nothing of value is brought forth from a place of ease. Child labour is full of pain and a diamond is produced under immense pressure. Pain and pressure is often needed for something of value to be birthed. Don’t shy away from challenges that may involve pain or pressure, these situations will be the environment for your best to be brought out.

Nonetheless, leaving things to God, doesn’t mean that self evaluation becomes redundant. So many times we want to point fingers at people, situations and external circumstances for the issues we encounter. But have you asked yourself what hand you had in it. What habits do you have that is leading to issues or stagnation in parts of your life? ‘You have to be willing to kill any habits and die to the old form of you. So that God can birth in you the woman/man you are becoming’. When I heard this profound statement, it really hit home. We often want to see a change in our lives for the better but we hold on to old habits, people and routines that don’t help us grow and we don’t allow God to work in our lives to change us for the better. Also, to burst this fantasy that God working in your life is all sweet and fun times – it often isn’t. When I refer to God working in your life it’s often going to be through hard times that you’ll be moulded and develop from. But you have to be willing to let God work through you in order to birth the great purpose he has within you. The season for your growth may be a lonely time, it’s often a time where you need solitude. You need time in his presence, time reading, meditating, studying, watching sermons, time with a mentor, etc. Take that time and stop trying to find loopholes. Something brought into fruition before it’s time often won’t last or will have foundational issues. So take that time, build that foundation through action and prayer, be patient, be content in solitude, take every hardship as a lesson that is refining you into something of value and watch yourself blossom in due time.

We all want to be great, but often don’t want to put in the ground work to manifest the greatness within us. Let go of worries, the old you, and let God work through you. In 2018 let’s remember to truly Let go and Let God, have a blessed ending to your 2017 ~ ChidinmaE

 

education

GCSEs, A levels, lets start well so we can finish well…

GCSEs, A Levels, revision, school… As this academic year just started about 2 week ago for many people, hopefully this will be helpful, as you start your studies for this year. Just wanted to do a post giving small small advice on how to do the best that you can in your A Levels/GCSEs, but I’ll probably make more reference to A Levels because it’s still fresh in my brain, unfortunately. However, whichever qualification I make reference to can be applied to either of them, so be sure to pick and choose things that you can implement in your studies to help you.

Personally, for me to be motivated and focused from the beginning of an academic year I write down my goals. Being goal oriented can be very helpful to get you through both GCSEs and A Levels, simply knowing what you want to achieve is a great start to doing well. Another thing I will say is, don’t let your target grades gas you or discourage you, take them with a pinch of salt when you do get them, but put your goals at a higher priority. Honestly, if you let most schools dictate what you are capable of getting you will end up not working to your full potential. I can’t remember a time either at GCSEs or A levels when I was content with using my target grades as my goals, I always had to make my goals higher to push myself. So when writing your goals, have a summary of what you want to see on results day, e.g. I want 5A*’s and 5As, then go on to list all your subjects and what grade you want with each one. (I understand that the grading for GCSEs have changed and are now 1-9, so maybe your goal may be to get 10 GCSEs that are all 7s and above for example, but the principle for goal setting still applies). So be sure to make your goals, write them down and stick to them.

Another important thing to put in place, especially by the time you get to A levels is being organised. Being organised spans across your time management, ability to prioritise work, get tasks, coursework and classwork completed in time, etc. Both in school and sixth form I know that you usually get a planner, make use of it effectively. When you get work, WRITE IT DOWN. I know too many people that would get work and just say I’ll remember to do it and not make use of their planner and it just didn’t help at all. They would end up forgetting and then when people are talking about the homework on the gc, they were there baffed. Don’t be that person guys, because it gets long for you. So use your planner and then at home have a weekly and daily to-do list. So you can transfer tasks from your planner onto your to-do list and also any extra curricular activities, personal revision or things you need to get done can be included. Also, be sure to be specific on your to-do list, so don’t just write down revise chemistry and do ICT coursework. Instead have two separate bullet points, which might be ‘Complete section 2B, questions 1-10 for chemistry’ and the other bullet point may be ‘Finish off logo on Photoshop and export it onto website for ICT’. When you make your tasks more specific you know exactly what needs to be done, and you have a clear understanding of when it will be done so it can be crossed off the list, as you will know that the task is complete as you specifically outlined what needs to be done.

In addition, prioritising your work is key for both GCSEs and A levels. To be able to do this effectively you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. For example, at GCSE my weakest subjects were French and English Language, so if I was going to have a long revision session I wouldn’t plan to do 3 hours of maths and 30 mins of french, because I’m better at maths then I am at french. A lot of the time we like to improve and work on what is easy for us or what we enjoy, but you need to discipline yourself to spend more time to bring your grade up in the subjects you might hate. I learnt to prioritise during GCSEs, so when it came to A levels I was able to put this into practise. When it came to my AS’s my weakest subject at the beginning was maths and best was psychology, so when it came to prioritising work I did more maths then psychology revision. However, when prioritising work don’t neglect a subject that you think you’re good at, especially at A level, because at AS, biology was going well for me, so I did more revision for maths and chemistry but ended up dropping in biology. So when prioritising have a balanced thought out plan of action and know what parts of subjects your weak and strong in and then go from there.

I honestly think that to be successful in anything, you need to be consistent. Consistency more of the time can outweigh and outperform talent and natural intelligence. I say this because you may not be the smartest person in the world, but if you stay consistent at getting your work to a high standard and doing little sessions of practise or revision you will do well. For example, with my maths A level it was an uphill battle. At the beginning of year 12 my report said D/E, and I don’t remember my report ever going above a D in year 12 for maths. This was discouraging, but I made a decision to stay consistent at getting my work done, and especially with maths, being consistent at practising will help you to improve your grade. Whether that’s doing questions out of your textbook, using bitesize maths, MyMaths, Exam Solutions, Khan Academy, etc. Just be consistent at practising and working on improving your skills on different maths topics (or whatever subject). By being consistent I was able to finish my A level maths course with a B, which was not easy but made it in the end.

Lastly, making use of resources you have access to will help you throughout your academic year and by exam time a lot of these resources become essential. There are a range of textbooks, revision guides, websites, past exam papers, YouTube videos/channels and often your own school’s virtual learning environment (VLE) is split into departments and your teachers can share resources that will help with your subjects. If you use a range of resources alongside your class notes, you can expand your knowledge and understanding for a lot of your subjects. From sparknotes, bitesize, Khan Academy, ExamSolutions, Get Revising, My Maths, s-cool, simplypsychology.org and forums like the student room are God sent for everything, these websites can often be used at both GCSE and A levels. While YouTube channels like MrPollock and Rich Thompson saved me with A level biology, but in general there are thousands of useful revision videos on YouTube if you just search for what you need. However, when it comes to using resources don’t be passive. What do I mean by that? Don’t just play a YouTube video about photosynthesis and say your revising for biology. When using any resource, be sure that your making notes during using it or answer questions after using it, to see how much information you’ve retained. Because honestly, passive revision is as good as no revision, especially by the time your doing A levels.

I hope this introductory educational post was helpful, I’m passionate about school and academics so I plan on posting for specific educational topics for maybe certain subjects and individual ones pertaining to GCSEs and AS/A levels. If anyone wants specific advice for subjects I can try and help by making a post or by email (see Contact page). So to be specific on what I can later be helpful on talking on I will list what I got at GCSEs and A levels below:

GCSEs:- 5A*s & 7As ~ (A*s in RE, Resistant materials, ICT, Geography and Physics; As in Maths, English Language, English Literature, French, Biology, Chemistry and PE short course)

A levels:- A*BB ~ (A* in Psychology; B in Maths; B in Biology)

Hope you found this post helpful, and I pray that everyone has a successful academic year in which you will reach and even surpass your goals. ~ ChidinmaE