Time – one of the capricious inventions of the human being, who tries to control every single aspect of life. Dominating it is one of the most complicated challenges we face as we grow older. It seems that, as this happens, our obligations and expectations increase as time itself reduces. And it is then when we realise that we cannot fight time, but only cope with it.
In my case, I believe that it was when I discovered the importance of time, when I grew up and evolved to what I am today. Looking at the apparently never-ending list of activities I carry out in a weekly basis, it may seem that, somehow, I have learned to tame time. To control it. To play with it, mould it, distribute it however I want. The reality, however, is much more complex. Time and me are a kind of partnership, a long-time couple. I have learnt about it, and bit by bit, I have adapted to it so that our relationship works. In some way, every single sixth-former has agreed to participate in this polygamy. They all give up the fight against Time and simply accept that they will have to cope with it. And that is exactly the key. Organisation. This is the basis of triumph during the two last school years.
Thanks to the A-Levels, many students in Caxton College decide to continue with the British system and study in the UK. And what do they look for in every British university? I would personally call the prospective students ‘superheroes’ rather than sixth formers. Going to the UK does not simply imply getting amazing grades and working hard – something obviously required too. It means doing a whole bunch of admirable activities: sport, voluntary service, carrying out leadership roles, speaking languages, playing instruments… Is this seriously possible if we intend to sleep a minimum of eight daily hours, attend to school, and have carry out some kind of social life? At first sight, one must give up some aspect of their comfortable lives to meet the harsh requirements these universities impose. There is no time.
Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. In our happy marriage, good old Timey and me cope perfectly together. Naming the incredible list of pupils in my year group who worth recognition for their management of time would take too long. Thus, I will speak about my case, though I want to make it clear that just as me, dozens of other students do the same.This year, I started studying History, Literature, German and Geography as part of my ALevel Course. I feel extremely passionate about these subjects, but that does not mean I
have to do a great deal of work. Coursework, fast-approaching exams, projects, essays… It all piles up if you do not work regularly. And then extracurricular activities and clubs. Mondays, piano. Tuesdays and Thursdays, voluntary work. Wednesdays, teaching private lessons. Fridays, German. Saturdays, French.
It is funny to walk around school and listen to what people think about you. Recently, something curious happened: one of the students whom I teach private lessons confessed that she believed I was some kind of bookworm without any kind of social life.That is one of the main purposes of this article, advocation, or however you want to call this: destroy the prejudice and preconceived image that many people have about hardworking students. Just because you are able to manage your time doesn’t mean that you ONLY dedicate your life to study. And what is the secret? If you want to have a successful school-life, here are the top tips!
1) Be constant. Work hard and you will achieve anything you intend to achieve. Doing a bit everyday seriously avoids you from getting saturated by the end of the course, when you’re getting close to your exams. This doesn’t only apply to sixth formers: it is something every student must understand, no matter the year in which they are in. If by Year 8 you are capable of giving up one the interminable hours of free time just to go over what you have done, by Year 13, you’ll be an expert!
2) Take advantage of the scholar ‘free time’ if you are in Year 12 and 13 (or Clubs in Year 7-11). One of the things every student looks forward to is to have the amazing free periods in Sixth Form. They are extremely useful if you do study during those, as 50 minutes is enough to get some homework done.
3) Create some kind of studying timetable and ensure it is REALISTIC. This is essential. If, for example, you play tennis every wednesday until 20:00, you will obviously not study four hours that evening. Thus, ensure that you are dedicating enough hours to your homework the rest of the week and that you keep up with your tasks.
4) Summer time = study time. Welcome to the nasty world of the students, where holidays are no longer what they used to be. Forget those long summers doing nothing if you want to sleep during the rest of the year. Getting some coursework done, starting with research… If you spend some of your holidays doing that, you’ll feel extremely relieved afterwards. And saying summer is just like saying Christmas, Easter or even Fallas! That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t have holidays – it’s just about dedicating some time
now so that you don’t get overstressed then.
5) SLEEP! This may seem stupid, but it is clearly one of the best pieces of advice I could possibly give. Studying until 4:30 and simply sleeping 2 or 3 hours won’t help you to pass your exams. It will even affect negatively your grades. Concentration is the key to get good results, and being half zombie during the exam wouldn’t be a great idea.
6) When hanging out with your friends, make plans previously. It would be even advisable to know which day you are going to go out (choose between friday or saturday) every week, and ensure you do not change any plans.
Having a life is perfectly compatible with the achievement of amazing grades. So let’s break with any ideas – it’s your time to show off!