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    Hey everyone,

    I'm not sure if the 'Grow Your Grades' accepts uni entries, but oh well, I might as well do one of these for the craic.

    Secondary school background
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    I went to a high achieving grammar school in N.Ireland, where I ended up with 11 GCSEs (2011-2013) (ranging from A*-C - all but 2 of them are A*-A, let's say one subject I'm **** at ) and 3 A Levels and 1 AS, AABa (2013-2014).

    I had a really crap time during my A Levels (especially the last year) due to mental health, which means to this day I am still kicking myself over my grades. Even though I am in uni.
    I'm a second year student at Dundee University, and probably from the title you've guessed I am a Politics student. The 'ish' is because I am also studying an English module this term due to the Scottish uni system.

    However I am what is termed as a 'direct entry to second year' student as I skipped first year. So unlike many people in the uni accommodation I live in, I only really have one year to faff around in uni instead of two.

    But me, faff around? :laugh: No. Thanks to the aforementioned mental health, I'm nuts when it comes to my academics.

    Last semester I did 3 modules in the following:

    Comparative Politics: B3
    The First World War: Debates and Perspectives: A5
    Reading the Screen: An Introduction to Film Studies: A5

    Roughly, I am currently sitting on a 2:1. My own fault really for attempting to write both my Comparative Politics essays while ill.

    This semester I am studying:

    International Relations - 50% coursework, 50% exam
    Devolution in the UK and Beyond - 100% coursework
    Romantic to Victorian Literature (with some dates that I can't remember ) - 100% coursework. (NB I am taking this module at night, Wednesdays 6-9pm. #PrayForCesca)

    So far in terms of work this semester I have:

    -Completed my first Devo essay (due 24th February)

    - Completed my first Literature essay (due 24th February)

    - International Relations essay (due 9th March)

    I am currently working on:

    - Reading Charles Dicken's Great Expectations.

    I will update the above as I go along.

    In my next post I will outline my methods of studying, grades I hope to get, and any other stuff that comes to mind. Links will be placed in the OP for all 'blog' updates, so people can find my progress easily.

    Links to 'updates':
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    I'm currently in the middle of updating the OP. Silly TSR post only a little of what I had written.
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    My note technique:

    As an university student, I attend lectures and tutorials/seminars. While the lecturers upload the PP slides onto Blackboard (basically online) after the lectures, I take my own notes.

    Sometimes I'm lucky and I have the lecture slides emailed to me beforehand (due to circumstances which will be mentioned throughout this journey), however I usually convert these to a Word doc, take my laptop (nicknamed Gary) to lectures, and type any extra stuff the lecturer says.

    From DSA I got a Livescribe pen which I use for about 80% of my classes. It's this special pen that converts my handwritten notes to Word. That's the theory. Half the time it doesn't recognise my quick handwriting so usually I just print out the notes in handwritten form. I can show you printscreens if anyone is interested.


    Grades:

    This semester I would love to be sitting on a first class, even if it's a low first class. This is because in third year I will be starting to specialise my politics degree, and I already have chosen a module that I know I will love - Politics in Ireland. The catch? It's limited to 24 freaking places, so I need to show the uni that I am capable and willing to study Politics.
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    I hope your revision goes well!
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    I hope your revision goes well!
    Thank you. Luckily I have only 1 uni exam in late April/May!
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    (Original post by Airmed)
    Thank you. Luckily I have only 1 uni exam in late April/May!
    Then I hope that exam goes amazingly for you
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    Then I hope that exam goes amazingly for you
    That would be a miracle. It's for IR and I'm not a big fan of IR!
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    (Original post by Airmed)
    That would be a miracle. It's for IR and I'm not a big fan of IR!
    I'm sure you'll do well as long as you prepare enough
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    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Please forgive my ignorance- but in the Scottish system do you have to take an elective in a different subject to your degree? What made you choose Romantic/Victorian literature? ..Or did you not really have a choice?
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    (Original post by Tank Girl)
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Please forgive my ignorance- but in the Scottish system do you have to take an elective in a different subject to your degree? What made you choose Romantic/Victorian literature? ..Or did you not really have a choice?
    It depends on your subject. But for things like Politics, Economics you take electives.

    Basically in the first two years you do 6 modules per year. Two are in your degree subject (they're compulsory) and the other four (usually 2 each from 2 other subjects) are optional. You usually do your optional subjects based off what you did for Highers or A Level. This allows you to have options and see if you actually like your degree subject. If you don't you can always switch to one of your elective subjects in third year when the specialising kicks in.

    I did History, Politics, English Lit and Religion for A Level. So it was nature I'd take my electives in those subjects.
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    Worries about failing an essay:

    I've probably failed that English essay I submitted on Wednesday. Mainly because I didn't actually finish it until Wednesday 4pm. Never mind the drumming and the voices I've been hearing on and off all week.

    I shouldn't be worried: my track record shows that I have probably passed (B3 with the politics essays from last term), but all the same I still worry.

    So here's some advice (based on my week):

    - If you go to uni, get good night sleeps. Seriously. Those things are amazing, and will thoroughly improve your concentration for lectures and tutorials.

    - Take notes. So many notes. In said lectures and tutorials. Those things are also amazing and will save your ass when it comes to essay writing/revision. Don't rely on friends' notes/lecturer notes alone. Develop your own method.

    - If you have any personal issues at all, please, talk to someone. Whether a tutor or your academic adviser, a friend or a uni counselor. I'm slightly hypocritical in this point since it take me a damn lot to do this myself, and I know I should, but I have issues with it. But it's not good to stew in your own thoughts and make things worse.

    - Plan ahead for essays. Make a schedule and stick to it!

    If anyone has any questions, please, go ahead and ask.
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    University Mental Health Day, 2016:

    So it is University Mental Health Day today, and so I thought I would do a repost of what I have posted in Deysey's University MH Day thread.

    My university experience with mental health has been...interesting, to say the least.

    My current diagnosis partly doesn't actually have a name. It's a mix of cluster A and B personality disorder traits, dysthymia, and dissociative symptoms. While I have bi-weekly meetings with Disability Services, whether or not they are helpful are up for debate. Neither through such meetings or my NHS meetings have I been taught any coping techniques or the like. While I can talk to them and get stuff off my chest for a brief while, like I said, it's brief. It doesn't last.

    I have DSA, which is great: my own laptop, a fancy Livescribe pen, and a printer, with an allowance for all the pads and ink etc. I have Read and Write too, which I have just discovered has an extension for Chrome (the essay reading I need to do online now becomes much easier ). I also have arrangements for exams: rest breaks and a smaller room, but already I have been shown that such arrangements aren't read through properly - I was lumped into a room with the extra time people for a Film Studies exam, and the assessors assumed that I had extra time. Great.

    However, it is the academic side of things that have let down my mental health services at uni. While lectures aren't compulsory, that's fine, I can skip those if I am feeling unwell. However, tutorials and seminars are compulsory and at my uni you have to fill out a form if you miss one -and give a reason. I have missed a few due to my health and have had to fill out such forms: there is no sympathy given really if you miss a tutorial due to mental health. The forms are handed into the School reception and the receptionist reads them in front of you! I have received some very curious, sometimes insulting looks when they read about me hearing voices or struggling badly. It's as if they don't believe me because I have managed to make it to hand in the form.

    On top of that, the two Schools I am associated with (Humanities and Social Sciences) don't have extensions for essays: you have to hand in the essay late, be penalised, submit a mitigating circumstances form (with evidence), and then wait a few months until a committee decides whether or not the penalties should be lifted. That's extremely stressful and while I understand why they have such a policy in place, I still believe it is incredibly unfair in some aspects.

    So overall, ups and downs for me - and I still have another 2 years to go!
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    I feel like not many people will read this as it is an undergraduate blog and TSR does love GCSE and A Level students.

    Currently writing my IR essay on hard and soft powers and their effects in the contemporary international system - while nursing a headache and a sore stomach. FUN (!) However I have found out when my only exam is.

    It's on the 29th April!

    To say I am annoyed is a bit of understatement. I wanted May to revise! And now I don't have it, instead having an extra month to doss around. (Yes, some people will think I'm mad. IDGAF).
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    Livescribe pen.

    So earlier I mentioned that I use a Livescribe pen. (Here is the model on Amazon. It's expensive, I know.)

    Anyway, I did promise to show some print-screens of the Echo Desktop that uploads my handwritten notes so I can transfer them to Word or just print them out like so. I usually just print them out as it would take an age to correct the 'mistakes' that occur when MyScript attempts to convert handwritten to typed notes.

    Echo Desktop:



    Classy realist notes there, Cesca.

    EDIT: Yes, my pen is named 'Tom Riddle's Diary'. C'mon like, it's a magical piece of equipment! It even records lectures!



    MyScript and its attempt to translate the same page:



    My expression every time I see a stupid translation mistake by MyScript:



    Followed by:



    Yes, Natalie, yes, I must be.

    And in dire cases:





    As always, questions are appreciated!
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    Update on grades received:

    So this week I received back the grades for my Devolution essay and my English Literature essay.

    Devolution essay: A5 (80%)

    He said it was an excellent essay and yet he marked me down for forgetting to justify the text and that he prefers students not to use brackets. Postgrad students (my Devo tutor is one of them) tend to be harsher markers at Dundee for some odd reason!

    English Literature essay: A4 (85%)

    This was the essay I didn't finish until 4pm the day it was due because I was bordering on becoming fully psychotic (thanks voices) though happily I didn't. I was so shocked to have scored so well, and during the break in the class the tutor actually congratulated me on the essay, said it was excellent and that he was really pleased. I had missed the first week of his module due to a switch in modules and he knew that I was ill.


    I'm currently working on my second Devolution essay. We only have 2 more teaching weeks left until the Easter holidays. This means that in 3 weeks I will be in Europe! I'm extremely excited. :woo:
 
 
 
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