Year 13 experience
My experience of year 13 so far: predicted grades, personal statements and lots of exams.
So this September, we all finally went back to school full time. Who knows how long that will last but so far (touch wood) I have been there every day. It’s been a crazy few weeks so I thought I would share my experience with you for entertainment or for any other year 13s- you’re not alone!
The first challenge this academic year has presented is obvious in these times: safety or lack thereof. Having spent the past few months shielding, this was incredibly overwhelming to deal with and I even considered moving school (I’m now very glad I stayed). I am not going to bore you with the details since most of you will probably have experienced the same lack of social distancing etc. To overcome this, I faced another challenge: finding the courage to be different which is harder than I’d like to admit. For me this meant being the only one wearing a mask in lessons, the one who stays away from others and at the start of the year, the one who had to have awkward conversations asking to sit on my own. Reflecting on this, I have realised having the ability to do things differently is a good skill to develop and applies to so many things, like saying no to an event because you need to study (I’m still not perfect at this one though!).
The next challenge medical applicants (and all early entry applicants) are facing is the looming October 15th UCAS deadline. Suddenly the deadline seems to be upon us so I have spent lots of the last week changing my personal statement and overthinking incredibly minor details. I even had to start my personal statement again because my drafts were simply too long. I’m happy to say that I have finally submitted my application so I won’t be spending any more time questioning one word in a sentence. Trying to get my personal statement in the UCAS box was another big challenge. Despite being under the character limit on google docs, according to UCAS I was still over. I was very proud of myself when I managed to cut it down and then it told me I was 3 lines over the line limit. 3 lines! In the end, I took out the empty lines between paragraphs in the main body and it was all okay, if a little chunky looking. But be warned, just because a word processor is happy, it doesn’t mean UCAS will be. However, despite being challenging, you can make it work (even if you spend some of the time wanting to throw your laptop at the wall). I’d really recommend starting to fill in the UCAS form now if you haven’t started yet because it takes longer than you think.
The final challenge so far has been having exams with not much notice to decide our predicted grades. Due to missing so much of year 12, many of us haven’t been able to have mock exams in the summer, which would have been a big deciding factor for our predicted grades. This meant my school still needed that data so we needed to sit exams, quickly. So, a couple of weeks ago, I spent all of my free periods but one doing exams whilst still trying to do all of my work for lessons. It was a hard week which I was very glad to see the back of but it has made me very grateful for free periods! I hated not having the time to prepare as much as I would have liked. I’ve also got more exams next week so yay for me.
Overall, despite quite a lot of work, I have really enjoyed year 13 so far. I am liking having a routine again and content taught again. I hope everyone else is finding this year ok too. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Written by Aimear Wolstenholme (student who has engaged with Medsimple programmes)