A Bipolar's Journey To University Watch

StrawbAri
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Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my A Level study blog!! :wavey:















This blog is going to document my journey to my A Level exams and University. The ups, the downs and the challenges of being home schooled and struggling with Bipolar Disorder (As seen in the title :lol:)



A bit about me


First off, I'm StrawbAri.
Most people know me on here as Strawbs or Ari.
I'm 18, I suffer from Bipolar Disorder (Not medicated and Diagnosed in 2012) and PTSD (Accident related).

I wrote my AS Levels in June this year but did horribly in them. It was like my world had come to an end. My hopes and dreams of applying to the best unis and going to Oxbridge were dashed in a matter of seconds. I had worked so hard for those exams but for some reason my efforts were all wasted. It sent me into a horrible depressive episode for close to two months.

My AS Levels were in Maths, Physics, Computer Science and French. I re sat Maths and Computer Science (Just finished them this Monday actually) and my A2s will officially begin next week which is daunting and exciting all at the same time.
For A2s I'll be doing Maths, Physics and Further Maths on the CIE exam board. (Further Maths on CIE doesn't have AS).

I am hoping this blog will help motivate me to work as hard as I can whilst managing my disorder. It's not going to be easy and I have a habit of starting big projects and never finishing them because of mood changes. Fortunately, I am in a bit of a level headed mood now so I know deciding to start this isn't a brash idea made in the throes of mania.
Hopefully this works out!


My Current Results and Achievements


My IGCSEs
Spoiler:
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3A*s, 3As, 2Bs
Not amazing by TSR standards but given the situation I wrote them in, I'm pretty proud of them







My AS Levels

Spoiler:
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Grades after resits:
Maths: B
Physics: B
French: B
Computer Science: B







My Current Achievements
Spoiler:
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I don't have very many of these because I don't really have access to placements and stuff like that because of where I live and I plan on working on a few projects + reading books + doing courses over Christmas to add into my PS

Also I will add to this list as I go along.

So far:
- Built a functioning Tesla Coil for a school science fair that came first place
- Built a remote controlled mobile robot named Tobor (He has now been donated to my old school's science lab for younger kids to mess around with. Gonna miss him :emo:)
- Raspbery Pi project (home security system + retro game)

- MIT OpenCourseWare courses










My Career Aspirations

I want to study Electronic + Electrical Engineering at Uni. I love technology and figuring out how devices/computers work. I also really like robots and I'm really interested in specialising in the field of Artificial Intelligence.



My Goals + Results


Goals + Predicted Grades for A2
Spoiler:
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Goals:

Maths: A
Physics: A*
Further Maths: A

It'd be nice if I got all A*s but I want to be realistic based on my strengths. My mental health is a big factor and I know these grades might be a stretch but I want to push myself and see

Predicted:

Maths: A
Physics: A
Further Maths: A







A2 Results
Spoiler:
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Will be filled in on results day 2017

Maths: C
Physics: B
Further Maths: U







Uni Tracker


University - Course - Requirements - Status

University College London - Engineering (Electronic and Electrical) - AAA - Offer (03/03/2017)

Imperial College London - Electronic and Information Engineering - A*AA - Rejected

Loughborough - Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering - ABB - Offer (21/03/2017)

Southampton - Electronic Engineering - AAA - Offer (30/03/2017)

Nottingham - Electrical and Electronic Engineering - AAA - Offer (31/01/2017)


Applied On: 13th January 2017
Firm: Southampton
Insurance: Loughborough


Key

Black - Not Yet Applied
Orange - Pending
Green - Offer :woo:
Red - Rejection




My Game Plan


I'm not going to send my UCAS off till I receive my re sit results on the 10th of Jan meaning I have a bit of time to work on my application and PS. I will be applying as a private candidate and my tutor will write a reference for me.
Like I said I will be home schooled and will see a private tutor for my subjects four times a week for 2 hours meaning I have to do the bulk of the work on my own.
In addition to the Tutor time I'll be working 6 hours a day, five days a week so two hours per subject and will adjust it as exams get closer. I know it seems much but I've lost so much time already and hopefully this blog will serve as motivation.


I plan on updating twice a week on Mondays and Fridays
My first post will be on Monday


Links to Blog Updates



Feel free to ask questions about studying, tips, my mental health and everything in general

Hope you all enjoy reading this!
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by StrawbAri)
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Subbed lovely :lovehug:
keep me updated by our usual method :cube:
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10cking
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Loved this post! Can't wait to see how it all goes for you and hope its amazingly well! Subbed
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StrawbAri
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(Original post by 10cking)
Loved this post! Can't wait to see how it all goes for you and hope its amazingly well! Subbed
Thanks so much!!
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bulgylau
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Good luck for this year, I can't wait to see how you do!
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Airmed
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Good luck! :hugs:
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StrawbAri
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(Original post by homeland.lsw)
Good luck for this year, I can't wait to see how you do!
(Original post by Airmed)
Good luck! :hugs:
Thanks guys ! :hugs:
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username1533709
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Goodluck :yy:.
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Roshany
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Good Luck!!! Ive applied to nottingham and loughborough too
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StrawbAri
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(Original post by Kadak)
Goodluck :yy:.
(Original post by Roshany)
Good Luck!!! Ive applied to nottingham and loughborough too
Thank you !
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StrawbAri
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Week One





Blog post 1
07/11/2016





An introduction to the life of a Homeschooler





"What school do you go to?"
"I don't go to a school lol. I'm Homeschooled."
"Wow that must be hard. Aren't you lonely?"

This has been how pretty much every conversation has gone between me and a friend since the decision to complete A2 at home. When you think of a typical homeschooler, the first thing that comes to mind is a lonely sad kid with no friends and possibly quite pushy parents. In my case that image is pretty much accurate. I guess I don't feel too bad about the decision. Probably being alone for a bit is what I need at this point. Time to focus on myself and my mental health.
I won't lie, it does feel a bit daunting. The thought that I'm going to be cooped up in my room, hunched over a desk for the majority of the day for the next 6 months. It doesn't help that most of my friends are either at uni or doing sixth form in another city. I'm completely closed off from social interaction now.
It's scary because I've never really been much of a social person before.Quite introverted and shy. This might drive me further into my shell and make the experience of going to university even more nerve wracking because by then I'd probably have become completely out of touch.
I'm glad I have this blog to document my experiences as a homeschooler. Maybe it might help some of you on here that are going through the same thing. Who knows?
Today was my first day. I got up, had a class with my maths tutor for 2 hours and did some work on my own. Sounds so dull I know but I'll try to mix it up and add other stuff to my day like catching up with TV shows (Any suggestions on what to watch?) or reading or practising guitar or maybe even... working out :afraid:
So far so good I suppose. It will be interesting to see how I cope with it.


Study Update

Maths: Began chapter one: Algebra. The class today was quite interesting actually. I enjoyed it. Worked on modulus functions and polynomials and compiled some notes from different sources. I'm going to have a series of blog posts on how I compiles my notes and put them all together.
Further Maths: N/A
Physics: Started on chapter one as well. Motion in a circle. I'm following the same process as with maths with a few differences. Fortunately it's not a very long topic so I'll be done with it before the end of the week hopefully.


Life Update

Wasn't able to get to my goal of six hours today :sad: I've done four productive hours though which is quite positive as I'm never actually able to do more than two before crashing. I have been feeling quite tired lately. Not too sure why. Probably haven't been sleeping properly due to recent nightmares. I'm pretty sure it's not my eating habits as I'm working towards fixing those. I'm definitely going to phone the psychiatrist and ask about certain problems I've been having with distinguishing dream from reality. I know it's not a replacement for an actual physical consultation but he is in a different city ( I moved) and MH support is particularly bad (and expensive) where I currently live.


Woo first blog post! :woo:
Bit long but meh

Next post is on Friday
Feel free to ask questions and hope you're all having a nice day

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StrawbAri
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Week One











Blog post 2
11/11/2016







The search for Study Resources




The thing about being homeschooled is that you have to find pretty much all your study materials on your own. Yup, that means you're going to have to get your textbooks, revision guides, past papers etc by yourself. It is a stressful (and expensive) experience. I spent the past few days madly searching for textbooks to fit the subject specifications and ordering them online. Believe me it was't easy. Then there was the task of searching online for all the revision resources I could find on each of my subjects and my exam board (CIE) is fairly obscure so it took quite a lot of research.
My advice is to find all you need ahead of time. You will thank yourself for sorting everything out before the start of the course.
First thing to do is to download the specifications for each of your subjects. I downloaded all of mine and saved them in a special folder on my laptop. It's really handy to have it on hand as a guideline for what you're supposed to be learning. Next is to download loads of past papers for as many years as possible and then make a past paper checklist so you can keep track of all the past papers you've completed and your marks. It's a really tedious task not going to lie because it took me five hundred years to make the list in the first place. :bricks:
Once you've got all your resources it's important to organise them preferably according to subject because I haven't and I'm suffering the consequences :facepalm:


Study Update

Maths: Have started putting together all my notes for chapter one of maths. I quite like how they've turned out actually. Was playing around with different styles and trying to make it look tumblr-y :emo:
Further Maths: Had my first fmaths class on Thursday. we worked on roots of polynomials and today, oblique asymptotes. At first I was struggling with it but now it's really not as hard as I thought it was. I really like my maths teacher.
Physics: Also started with putting all my notes together on motion in a circle. Doesn't look as neat as the maths ones because of the huge size of my handwriting but meh. Practice makes perfect.
One day my notes will be tumblr ready :moon:


Life Update

This week has been quite stressful tbh. I've been really tired because my paranoia and nightmares are acting up again. Smh why can't I catch a break brain?
On the plus side I got new stationery on Tuesday and I have an unhealthy obsession with acquiring new stationery. It's my favourite part of the school year. Also started filling out my UCAS form. Quite tricky because I want to make sure everything is perfect. Fortunately for me there are loads of guides on here to help me out. Won't be getting my predicted grades till my re sit results come out in Jan. :sad: So so nervous.



Okay another fairly long one today
Hope you're having a nice day whoever is reading this! (If anyone even reads this that is :emo:)
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StrawbAri
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Week Two









Blog post 3
14/11/2016








Study Plans are important guys!








If there's one important thing I've learned in all my years of being a student, it's that making a plan of attack for the new school year is insanely important. Especially for your GCSE/A level years. It's much much better to have a feasible plan for success than to piss away the year watching YouTube and drowning your sorrows in pringles then frantically cramming all the information two weeks before the exams. It won't end well. Trust me. The first thing about it is figuring out what works for you and how many hours you're able to put into doing work daily. I've learned that quality is most definitely better than quantity so don't go into it thinking doing 8 hours of work a day will get you that A*. it's much better to spend 30 minutes a day doing productive work than staring gormlessly at your text book for 500 hours.
Asides from figuring out how much time a day you want to spend studying, you should come up with a system for effectively learning a topic.
For example, I have started this new system where I start off by reading the material in a chapter just to get a feel for it first, then compiling notes from different sources (this can be from classes, textbooks, revision guides, internet resources, videos etc), then putting them together into one concise revision guide and finally answering questions on the topic before moving on to a new one. it's working well for me so far.
Another thing to factor in to your study plan is doing past papers. Making a plan for how you're going to do them is important is helpful as I've said in the last post.
It really is different for everyone but do whatever you feel works for you and you'll be set for your exams!



Study Update

Maths: I'm a bit behind in maths this week Need to finish up with my notes on partial functions and solve some questions on it before moving on to logarithms
Further Maths: This really isn't as hard as I thought it would be starting out. I'm honestly surprised that I'm getting it so quickly. I hope this lasts :moon: Currently making notes on rational functions
Physics: On chapter two now. Gravitational fields. Happy with the progress I'm making in this


Life Update

Was listening to classical music whilst studying today. It really really helps omg :eek: Vivaldi is my favourite composer by far :love:
It made me want to start practising piano again but I haven't got access to one anymore
Will just have to express my musical urges via guitar
Nothing really happened over the weekend tbh. Was quite boring.


Okayyyy and that was post 3
Hope whoever reads this has a lovely night and if anyone wants me to tag them in for new posts then feel free to say.


[img]blob:http://imgur.com/81e6036e-38d7-43a4-a4e9-047e54539dd6[/img]
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StrawbAri
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Week Two







`
Blog post 4
19/11/2016











A (not so) Comprehensive Guide To Making Notes (Part 1)







I decided I'd do a three part blog series on how I take notes. I've played with different styles since my GCSE years and I think this system works best for me. I've already spoken about my study plan in the last post and touched upon my general approach to note taking but I thought I'd go a bit more in depth with the process in these next few posts.
My note taking system for maths and physics aren't all that different since they're both within the same realm.
This post is going to be about how I get information from textbooks, online resources, videos etc. Since I'm homeschooled, a lot of what I learn is my responsibility so I have to make sure I've gotten all the information I possibly can about a topic in the spec.
The first thing I do is actually learn the topic. I read all the resources I can find so I have a basic knowledge of the topic before I start the note making process. Next up I get out my sticky notes. For textbooks I go through the chapter meticulously looking for important information and then copying it into a sticky note and pasting it in the order I want it to appear in my final notes. I colour code this so for example green sticky notes for formulas, pink ones for definitions. I do this for information I get from videos and online resources. I put the info on the appropriate sticky note and paste them in my textbook next to similar information so when it's time to put it all together I don't get confused about what goes where or the order of everything.
And that's the first stage!
The next post will be on notes I make in class and I'll include pictures of the process in that one.



Study Update

Maths: Still behind on maths notes Hopefully I can catch up next week. I'm starting to enjoy logarithms in class now. But still a few bits I'm confused about. I'll try and go over it again and ask my teacher some questions then I'll attempt some sample problems from past papers.
Further Maths: Still going well so far Sketching polar graphs looks quite tricky but I'm sure my teacher will explain it properly on Monday. Behind on notes though. Hopefully I can catch it up before the end of the week.
Physics: Still on chapter two gravitational fields. Starting to get less confident in my knowledge of it though. Hopefully this will improve



Life Update

This week started out good in terms of productivity. But as it went on I kind of lost all motivation to work which is sad because now it feels like the work is piling up on me. Hopefully I can catch up with it but idk. Just feel so alone this week. The insularity is getting to me. Doesn't help that all my friends seem to be having a great time at uni/college on snapchat. Feel like deleting all my social media but that'd make me feel more insular than ever. Hope this doesn't trigger a depressive episode :sad: I just want pringles and a hug rn. I've been getting panic attacks at night more frequently now which is ****.
On the bright side I've got my exam timetable now Also thinking of switching out Warwick with Southampton because I've read it's better for my course but I'm not sure.



Okay so that's the end of week 2
Sorry this update came a day late
I'll be back on Monday with another update



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StrawbAri
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So quiet in here :tumble: :emo:
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by StrawbAri)
So quiet in here :tumble: :emo:
:danceboy:
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DamnDaniel2
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Will you not try out for Oxbridge?


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StrawbAri
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(Original post by DamnDaniel2)
Will you not try out for Oxbridge?


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Missed the deadline for applying
Plus my current AS grades aren't good enough
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IFoundWonderland
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I hadn't done any work experience or anything like that before applying. I watched lectures online though and did a couple of courses on futurelearn.com which I think really enhanced my application -- just something in case you're worried about filling your personal statement out
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StrawbAri
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(Original post by IFoundWonderland)
I hadn't done any work experience or anything like that before applying. I watched lectures online though and did a couple of courses on futurelearn.com which I think really enhanced my application -- just something in case you're worried about filling your personal statement out
Ah thanks for the advice. It's reassuring
I will check out futurelearn.
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