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    #1: Reborn from the ashes


    My name is Hannah, nice to meet you.:hello:

    I'm 20 years old and after 2 years of A levels, I decided to do another 2 years of a BTEC Extended Diploma in sport and exercise science. Sounds weird, right?

    Well buckle up and get ready because on my GYG I'll be delving into my past, what I learned, what I'm doing now and all the highs and lows along the way.

    Like a phoenix, I am reborn from the ashes of my past (Shout out to Fawkes) and I am really excited to bring you along on my journey.

    A level grades

    AS Psychology - U
    BTEC Health and Social Care - M (equivalent to A Level grade C/B)

    AS/A2 General studies - E
    BTEC Health and Social Care - N/A (I didn't complete the year so instead of getting 2 A level equivalent grades I only got the one from year 12)

    As you can tell not great, a lot of things went on in A levels, which I will go into more detail along my journey and hopefully my experience will help others in a similar situation

    Predicted grades

    So for my Sport and Exercise Science extended diploma, I'm predicted a DDD* (this is assuming I achieve the same amount of Merit's and Distinctions as the first year). If you don't do BTEC's, this is the A level equivalent to AAA*

    The university course I have applied for (Biological Sciences at Nottingham Trent) only requires a DMM so I feel confident I'll achieve this, but I want to reach my potential, which is why I'm starting a GYG.

    A lil bit about me:
    One thing you should definitely know about me is that I LOVE dogs. My dog is called Snowy, she's a springer spaniel/labrador mixed breed. She's called Snowy because she was literally born in the snow and boy does she love it. Here's a pic:
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    Another super important thing is that I'm obsessed with a lot of TV shows and movies. Specifically Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Office (US), Doctor Who, Disney films ( I mean I can't just pick one!). I could go on for hours about everything I love (also shout out to comedy panel shows I love those so much) but I'd like to think there's more to me than watching things (or at least try and make you believe that haha).

    I'm passionate about mental health so there'll be quite a few posts about that and balancing health and work which will hopefully educate and maybe even help people.

    I LOVE music! I think I enjoy quite a variety of music but my general vibe is anything that will get me dancing. If I can dance to it, I'm gonna love it.

    Every time I hear the word aspiration, my mind just goes straight to the Beyonce Pretty Hurts video haha

    On a serious note I do have a few hopes for the future, some are a bit random but just go with me:

    • Do the splits -I would just really love to be able to do this at least once in my life, just to say "oh yeah I could do the splits" haha)
    • Play the keyboard - I used to play piano, I don't have a piano anymore but I do have a keyboard and I would love to get back into it
    • Get at least a DDM in my course
    • Start a Youtube channel - I know, I know, it sounds all very cliche but since around y8 I've always thought about doing a channel just for fun. Why not right? This isn't a major aspiration, it's just something I'd like to have a go at.
    • Get into university - Something I never thought was possible whilst at 6th form, and now it's slowly, maybe becoming a reality? AHHH!

    If you got this far, thank you for reading my very first post! I'm so excited for you to follow me on my journey
    • Thread Starter

    #2: Snow day

    It's a snow day! My college is actually closed - this never happens!! I'm only in 3 days a week (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) which doesn't sound like a lot but I actually feel like I need an extra break, even though we've just been off for half term :laugh:. I just feel like holiday's always need to last longer, can anyone else relate?

    My 'plan' is to catch up on work and do some assignments with this extra time off. However, I've never been very good at sticking to plans.

    A few weeks ago, I left all my work to the last minute (past last minute to be completely honest, I was about 2/3 months behind) and I did 6 assignments in 1 day. 6 ASSIGNMENTS. 1 DAY. :facepalm:
    Most stressful day of my life. But I did it. It took me from 2pm Sunday to 6am Monday. I do not recommend, seriously. No amount of coffee will prepare you for that. I've realised I work well under pressure, but I'm not sure I'd want to be doing anything like that again.

    Now, obviously because I was doing my work for so long, and not to a great ability (I was really tired and a bit fed up of typing), I was so sure I would either fail these assignments, or scrape by with a pass. Half term came, the emails of feedback were coming in, I prepared myself for the worst. I clicked on the attachment for the feedback forms and to my shock...


    I GOT MERITS AND DISTINCTIONS!! :happy2: (Merit is equivalent to a B/C, Distinction is equivalent to an A)

    Sure, it's quite impressive but I can't help but think in the long run, this might reinforce me to leave everything to the last minute. Not a good idea if I'm going to university.

    Last year I had a great study timetable, I'm just searching for some motivation to actually do one this year. It wasn't just a normal study timetable. I had planned out my whole days, but each time I did work there would an option to overachieve, achieve as much as I wanted or achieve a little less. This is incredibly helpful!! I have depression and anxiety so when I was having an off day I would aim for the lower aims, these were still achievable and I wasn't so stressed out. On days I felt better or really good, I'd go for a higher aim. In the end it all balanced out and I did all my work on time. So if you're struggling with the stress of revision or assignments, give yourself a little leeway. (I'll post a picture of mine once I've done it, this will give me some motivation to actually do it!)

    I also discovered the study resources on TSR. I'm thinking of doing the study planner, I've been told my brain will thank me for a bit of routine so I will definitely give it a try and share it with you guys.

    Something that made me smile today: Someone gave me personal rep with a comment saying I was understanding and nice

    I'm gonna go build a snowman now (and maybe later do a study timetable :innocent:)
    • Thread Starter

    #3: Procrastination and (finally) doing a study timetable/plan

    Ahh, good old procrastination. What would we do without it?
    Probably some work.

    I think I've always struggled with procrastinating, there's something in me that literally cannot do any work until the night before. I have NO idea why. I just wish I could start work early but my motivation levels just don't kick in.

    One thing I've been procrastinating for is... this. I've been putting off writing my next blog post because I really wanted to make a good study plan to share it and to help others (and myself) with their studying but I've just had a MAJOR lack of motivation this week (shout out to depression). Bit annoying but I've done it now yayy!

    It's not the best, it's very much my own simplified thing, it makes sense to me, it's not very detailed or even has much of a layout but it worked really well for me last year. First though, I'll explain some of my tips and what I do when creating a study plan that might help anyone reading this

    1. Write down ALL of your work or revision that you need to do (Usually within a certain time frame) - I've done mine from now up till the end of the Easter Holidays. THIS HELPS A LOT. Honestly, just writing down what work needs to be done in bullet points and actually seeing it written down is so useful, especially before you do a study plan because you can actually work out what you need to prioritise (something I find really difficult when thinking off the top of my head)

    2. Assign your work to different days -I find doing this before doing my study timetable, just gives me more of an idea of how to spread my work out and you can always change this when doing your actual timetable

    3. Doing your timetable - Here's the tricky part. Well what I find tricky anyway. The most common method of doing a timetable is literally creating a week plan in word using a table and putting in the days, times and filling in what work to do. This is a great method for many people and super organised. I discovered this is not the method for me. Doing an entire week plan (when as you know I already have a severe lack of motivation) is way too much for me. I know, I know, I sound really lazy and just not bothered but having depression can be kind of debilitating and as many others with depression will know, motivation doesn't come easy.
    It is so so so important to not overwhelm yourself and to do a timetable that works for you.
    So my way, is just to do one day at a time. It's really quick, I have a basic template that I just fill in every night before I go to bed and it's the only thing that's actually worked for me. However, before I actually show mine, here's some more tips whilst doing your study plan.

    4.AIMS- Give yourself something to aim for. Everyday. Write down something you want to have achieved by the end of the day. This could be an entire piece of work, maybe just half of it, doing some research yadda yadda yadda, you all know what aims are. But don't just have 1 aim, leading onto my next point.

    5.Give yourself some leeway- Some of you may be wondering, what the hell do you mean? Well, I know I have off days and sometimes I have really good, productive days. So within my plan/timetable, I'll give myself 3 different aims for a piece of work. An aim for when I'm having an off day (so do less work or spend less time on work), my main aim (basically the middle ground, what I'd like to achieve that day) and an overachieving aim (if I'm feeling particularly productive or if I feel I can catch up on work I didn't do on an off day). This relieves some guilt if I'm having an off day and don't manage to achieve my main aim and when I used this method last year, the off days and overachieving days balanced out so I was able to finish all my work on time. Also, when you manage to reach your overachieving aim, it feels amaaazing! It's a great motivator for the next day.

    6. GIVE YOURSELF BREAKS- I cannot stress this enough, if you don't break up your revision or course work etc, you'll become way too overwhelmed and overworked and you'll actually be less productive. Figuring out what study:break ratio doesn't take as long as you might think, I find that once I've started work I can go for 40-50 mins without being distracted. Once you start getting distracted easily, that's when you need a break. Just to chill out and refresh your brain so you can get back to work again giving it your full attention. My general rule is work for 40-50 mins (depends how I'm feeling) have a 15 minute break. After about 3 hours of doing this, or depending on the time, I'll have a 1-2 hour break (usually around lunch and tea time but honestly it just depends on how much work I have left to achieve my aim).

    Here is my study plan/timetable:
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    The blue days on my "Work Due" are for what day(s) I want to do that work on, I tend to change it up though when I'm actually doing my work just depending on mood and when things are due.
    Now this plan is really really small, my assignment isn't that big and I have a lot of time so tomorrow's timetable is pretty tiny.

    I have my 3 aims (off day, main aim, overachieving)

    Also, you've probably noticed my time for a nap hahaha (It's not laziness I swear...maybe a little). I am a very tired person and my medication makes me even more tired, so in my study plans, like the aims, I give myself some leeway. I wouldn't nap for that entire time but I do need the leeway. Sometimes I'll change it to "if not feeling productive" and I'll put in things that I know make me more motivated so I'm more able to start the work then or do the work later.

    Also note, I don't do work 3 hours straight (I'd die hahaha) but I do my breaks based on how I'm feeling and how immersed I am in my work at the time so I don't really put them into my plan.

    In a regular plan where I actually do have a lot of work, I'll wake up early in the morning (8/9), ease myself into the day, start work at 10/11, lunch, work at 2-5, chill out and have tea then if I still have more work I'll start that at 7, finish at 10. I don't have that much work to do that at the minute and I don't really want to overwork myself, so yeah this is a small, light work day.

    It doesn't take long to do at all, it's really easy to go in and edit whenever I've finished work or need to add work to my work due. But I find this a lot easier to just fill in each night for the next day and it worked really well for me last year when I had to do 2 weeks straight of work all day because I left it all last minute hahaha. I do not recommend doing that

    Procrastination and having a lack of motivation is really infuriating when you have work to do. Try and learn what motivates you (for me, it's good music, coffee and a bit of positive self-talk) so when you're not feeling productive, you'll (hopefully) be able to motivate yourself to do something
    • Thread Starter

    #4 Exhaustion

    This will be a kind of vulnerable, in depth post just about how I'm feeling and the effects this type of thing has on your studies and things. Hopefully it'll shed some light on how difficult managing daily life is with a mental illness and sometimes, you just need a day off.

    Today I took a day off college. Last night wasn't a great night, you could describe it as a mental breakdown. Annoyingly, there was no direct cause or any signs leading up to it, which is kinda frustrating to be honest. People and medical professionals will always ask "What do you think caused it" and similar statements assuming that SOMETHING must have happened to lead to that moment. And the truth is that there wasn't one 'big' thing that happened, which is a pretty recurring theme in my depression as a whole. I could link last night's breakdown to have been caused by numerous things but really even all those things don't feel enough to validate my feelings. That's a common theme in depression. You just feel like your feelings aren't valid and there's no reason for you to be like this. When you feel like that though, you have to take a step back and realise, wait. This is an illness. It's a disease of the brain. Whether it's caused by something in particular or not, your feelings arevalid and it's not your fault.

    It was incredibly difficult for me to even leave my bed this morning, it took me 4 hours to actually leave my bed. I've never fully experienced this kind of depression. I've found it debilitating in the past and other things have been severely affected but this is the worst I've had it for actually getting out of bed. Normally it takes me an hour to get up, which I find quite normal, but today was just different. I don't know, I just feel very weird today, it's not something I can describe to myself let alone anyone else so apologies for the poor descriptions hahaha.

    Now, this is a GYG blog so I can't ignore the impact this is having on my studies. Now, in my second year of 6th form (2 years ago), a similar sort of thing happened with the breakdowns and things but academically I was doing a LOT worse back then than I am now. I'm basically redoing 6th form (I'm at college and doing a different subject) so this 2nd year is proving difficult (just like the first time) on my mental health. But academically, I'm doing so much better and I'm really proud of that. I'm not afraid to say that I'm struggling, because I am. Completely and utterly struggling. It's not a weakness, it's not my fault. It's simply an illness and there is support and help. My college aren't great with the support, but they do allow me to have extensions if I ask which is really helpful if I haven't done the work due to my depression. If you're struggling, ask for support, either from a GP or your school or college because sometimes you just need some of those pressures lifted off so you don't overwork yourself.

    I've felt exhaustion before, physical and mental, but today it was just on another level. You're always going to find another level to something, I think that goes for anything in life so this is just a new level I haven't experienced before. It's weird, new and a bit scary to be honest but I've made it through and slowly I'm getting back to my normal state. My normal state isn't exactly healthy and happy, that's something I'm still striving towards, but I have a much better ability to function than right now so I'm looking forward to getting back to that state.

    Having a couple days off will hopefully reset my brain so I can focus and be able to function like a normal human again hahaha. It's difficult not to feel guilty when taking a day off but I know I need it, and I know that if I went back straight away, my brain wouldn't have had enough time to repair itself and would probably just make my mental health deteriorate more.

    This is a super unorganised, messy, probably doesn't make sense post. I guess that kind of resembles my brain right now.

    I just wrote this post so if anyone else is struggling out there, know that you're not alone. Don't feel guilty if you feel like you need a day off. Always remember your feelings are valid. It's so easy to compare yourself to others and yes, someone will always have it worse, but why has society decided that because you're not the worst off, your feelings are no longer valid? Finally, please please please tell someone. Help yourself and relieve that pressure, let someone know you're struggling. It's going to be okay.

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