What I learned from my first year at sixth form

Recently, I finished my first year at sixth form (equivalent to 11th grade). Towards the latter part of the year, especially after my exams, I began to reflect and realise that I have learned a lot of general life lessons along the way. I have also learned a lot about myself and how to better myself as a human being. Using the knowledge that I now have, I can hopefully use it positively to excel academically and as a person in year 13 and further on in life.

So, here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way:

Be yourself

This first lesson applies especially to people that have moved schools to go to a new sixth form or college. You will certainly meet new people, make new friends and maybe even form new friendship groups. My advice for this would be to be yourself. Theoretically, at the start of the school year, you can really reinvent yourself and start presenting yourself in a way that reflects you as an individuality. When going to sixth form, I feel as though you can really be who you want to be without being judged. In school before, everybody had to wear the same uniform, study the same subjects, have the same hairstyles etc. Whereas in sixth form, it’s an opportunity for you you to express your individuality and differences to everyone else. With being yourself, you will automatically have a happier lifestyle and positive outlook on things as you won’t have to worry about conforming to social norms.

Stay in contact with old friends

Staying in contact with old friends is so important. These are likely to be friends that you have had friendships with for years at your previous schools. It wouldn’t make sense to loose contact with them simply because you don’t get the opportunity to seen them as often as you used to. Your old friends will also be great for when you’re feeling down and need somebody to talk to. They are the friends that will know you better than any of your new friends that you have made. Furthermore, they are likely to be the ones who care the most about you, so letting go of those particular old friends would be a silly mistake.

Let go of old friends

Yes, this is a complete contradiction to my previous point. However, when moving to sixth form, you will need to let go of some old friends. My advice would be to loose the ones that don’t support you as much as you would like, the ones that have a negative outlooks on life and the ones who were only your friends because they attended the same school as you in the first place. These “friends” will no longer benefit you in life and as savage as it may sound, you will have to cut them off at some point.

Your mental health is important

Mental health is always something that is brushed under the carpet. It’s rarely ever spoken about for no logical reason what so ever. Yet, your mental health/state is probably the most important thing that is going to get you through year 12. Being able to grow as a person, learn new things and deal with the workload will be so much easier if you are in a good mental state. Having a huge work load can undoubtedly cause stress and if you are one of those students that is able to keep a positive attitude all year round then I definitely take my hat off to you. With that, just remember that your well being is important and it isn’t something that should be ignored. I advice discussing your problems (if you have any) instead of hiding them away to try come across as strong. It’s also okay to feel down or cry. Take a day off sick if you need to. But remember, you’re not the only one going through the same thing and many have been in your position before. You’re not alone.

Don’t feel obliged to get into a relationship

By all means make new friends, have a crush on one or two people but don’t feel as though you need to get into a relationship. If you feel as if you have found someone that you can have a future with then by all means get into the relationship (but don’t rush it). I would also advise not to get into a relationship for the sake of it. If you know it’s right then go for it. Besides, boys/girls ain’t shit.

Time management

Year 12 has been the most challenging year whilst in education for me so far. I would definitely say that time management is crucial. Time management will determine on whether you hand your homework/coursework in on time, whether you get your revision done in time and whether you are doing equally as well in all of your subjects as oppose to failing one and getting A’s in another. Try and stick to a schedule. I myself do athletics at a high level outside of school which means that I have to train/compete several times a week.  Sticking to a schedule is honestly the best way to get your work done in time. Wiring a to-do list will also be very satisfactory once everything is ticked off.

These were just a few lessons that I have learned over the past 11 months that can be used as tips for anyone going into yer 12. Hopefully, I will be able to go onto year 13 and learn many more lessons and use past ones to my advantage.

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Author: Tré X Thomas

17 | Athlete | Student

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