The day I ran out of my English A-level…
Now here’s a story. Just to give you a bit of context, I was a studious kid. English was always my favourite subject, I’d been top of the class in my secondary school and I was desperate to become an English teacher one day (spoiler alert: that bit did come true eventually).
I moved to a large sixth form college to do my A-levels and found the transition tricky. Everyone seemed effortlessly cool, confident and clever. Not quite sure where I fitted in, I kept my head down and focused on working hard to get the grades I needed to get into Warwick, my first-choice university. As the exams got closer, I worked even harder – and then harder and harder still.
This all sounds sensible on paper, right? Well, what I learned the hard way is that too much, unmitigated hard work can be damaging. By the week of my first exam, I was overwrought to the point that I literally couldn’t sleep. My poor parents took me to the GP where I sobbed like a baby and pleaded in vain for a sleeping pill.
Looking back, I realise I was consumed by stress and anxiety because everything seemed so desperately important: my whole future seemed to hang on those results. Things came to a head on the day of my first English A-level exam where I sat down, looked at the paper and thought I was having a heart attack. I was in the grip of my first and only panic attack and – without a conscious thought in my head – I ran straight out of the exam room.
I am eternally grateful to my wonderful English teacher who followed me outside, gave me the pep talk of my life and compelled me to, ‘Get back in there and make us all proud’.
Today’s take away tip:
Remind your child that there’s a smart way to revise and there is a world away from their studies. I always recommend the Pomodoro technique of 25 mins. max revision followed by a break and a treat. Make them a cuppa, take them a cake and reassure themthat little and often really is best.
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