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Sixth Form Student Blog

Perspective - Orly Stephens, Year 13

February 2021

Mocks. Who knew one word could have so much power? The word has almost morphed into profanity amongst Year 13 students throughout the past few weeks, with many of us opting for the word ‘exams’ instead. Whether this seemingly subconscious choice is to soften the word’s threatening blow, or simply to convince ourselves that they’re not that important - mocks are on the horizon and they’re real.

I, for one, was at first extremely stressed about the prospect of mocks: with history coursework deadlines, university choices and the mental strain of lockdown to think about, the prospect of revision seemed not only tiresome, but impossible. Finding a solution to this problem seemed equally impossible. No matter how many times I restructured my revision timetable, I couldn’t fit everything in. What I did not see, however, was that this solution to my mock-orientated problems wasn’t a magical ability to work through revision as fast as the government change their decisions about Coronavirus. It actually a different, even more powerful word: perspective.

Perspective has allowed me to realise that - in the overall scheme of things - these mocks are not the be all and end all. The fact that they are spread out between February and April provide us with checkpoints and goals, ways for us to stay motivated despite us not really knowing what will be in place for us this summer. These mocks mean that we can do some much needed consolidation on topics we might not know much about, so if Gavin Williamson somehow miraculously changes his mind come exam season, we’ll be prepared. Also, every ALevel pupil in the country is going through the same thing as us right now. The online learning provided by SGGS is a privilege not many Year 13 students have right now, so if anything, let’s try and utilise this the best we can. We just have to keep perspective. Lastly, and most importantly, we need to consider the bigger picture. We are in a lockdown that we weren’t expecting, weren’t wanting and weren’t mentally equipped to deal with: it’s simply unrealistic to put immense amounts of pressure on ourselves about these mocks.

So, don’t.

Be kind to yourself and be realistic about what you are able to accomplish. Whilst we should work towards these mocks, they are not the end of the world and if you get a mark you weren’t hoping for, so be it. If you know that you tried your best for the circumstances, there is no way that you can truly be disappointed with your mark. You tried your best, and that’s all you can do.

This is the attitude I’ve been taking with me for the past few days, and I hope it can help you guys too. We will get through these mocks, we will get through this lockdown and we will return to normal life again - you just have to keep perspective as best you can. You are trying your best, and that is good enough. I understand that this mindset is hard to maintain, so I’ve integrated some new habits into my life since the beginning of this year that have helped me build a healthy, strengthening routine. This has been tricky for me in the past, but I found that these have been particularly helpful:

Daily Journaling - doesn’t have to be long, anything you feel that day! It could be one sentence. I always used to give up with a diary but as soon as I stopped seeing it as something scary, it’s become something I look forward to as opposed to a burden.

Running - not for everyone, but I started running back in April and now I love it. It’s great for getting outdoors and clearing your head and I’m not sporty either! I was the girl who used to keel over midway through the 1500 metres from a near asthma attack. You don’t have to be a professional. The NHS Couch to 5k podcast/app is a really good place to start.

Yoga/Meditation - again, not for everyone, but I find it keeps me grounded and has allowed me approach stressful situations in a more calm, practical manner. It allows you to keep perspective! Yoga is also good for you! Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is a common favourite.

There are many more things I could name, but these are my main three. Getting enough sleep is also important! Either way, I hope this little article/post has been somewhat helpful - it’s funny how once you get perspective, the word ‘mocks’ loses its power, and doesn’t seem so scary after all. We’ve got this: we’re all okay and we can all support each other - I’d be happy to chat any time if you’d like to reach out.

All in all, we just have to keep perspective.