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Thursday, 2 June 2016

"Overwhelming Horror"

36.

I'm about to write a single word that causes me deep fear and anxiety... Exams! Yep, we all saw it coming. I'm writing this because I'm trying to do something, anything to distract me from the overwhelming horror that I have towards the thought of my first A2 exam, which is in just 8 days time. On the 10th June I will be expected to write 2 years worth of knowledge, learning tools and useless information down onto paper in the space of 2.5 hours. Why am I crippling with fear at the prospect of these few hours? Failure. Society has embedded into me that school means I can't fail, exams are necessary for me to succeed in life. Am I a hardworking, moral and switched-on individual? The education system tells me that this is irrelevant. Whether I can well-articulate myself when writing under immense pressure in answer to complicated, unseen and sometimes irreverent questions in only a small snippet of time, to the Government is a better way of measuring my personal ability, compared to observing my 2 year contribution and improvement in the course. Whether I agree with the educational structure we have in the UK is unimportant, that's the way it is, it's wrong, but the Government don't care about that.


The real reason I am writing this is to help those that are in a similar position to me currently. I now have nearly 5 years worth of exams under my belt (thanks to the lack of care the Government and Educational minsters have towards teenage mental health), and as such I may have a few tips that could possibly be helpful to a few of you reading this:

  • Start revising early (I like to start before Christmas), that way your brain can retain the information easier, as it isn't trying to absorb too much at once.
  • When revising, ensure you are in an environment that you feel comfortable in, that it is well-lit and away from distractions.
  • Turn your phone off, put it on silent, or leave it somewhere where it isn't distracting you.
  • Have a bottle of water with you both when revising, or when in an exam.
  • Colour-coding specific topics in your revision material can be helpful when you need to remember something specific in the exam, its also much prettier and exciting to re-read.
  • Every half an hour or so give yourself a quick reward (I allow myself to have a game on quick play mode on the app Dragon Land).
  • Switch it up with subjects or modules, don't try and revise one whole module at once.
  • Make sure that your hair is out of your face in both exams and when revising, this will stop you from getting irritated by it, therefore you don't become unfocused.
  • Eat before the exam, avoid things that contain a lot of sugar, stick to carbs as they release energy slowly.
  • Avoid caffeine right before an exam (especially coffee as it causes a sudden increase in energy and may prevent you from staying calm and focusing).
  • Don't try to cram loads of information in right before your exam.
  • Most importantly relax, don't think the worse, if you've revised and have a good comfortable mindset, you'll be fine, so don't fret too much (I know, easier said than done).
Good luck to everyone going through exams currently, and I hope this was even slightly helpful to someone reading.

Thanks
Lauren xx

Friday, 4 December 2015

"I was always worried that outsiders wouldn't like me"

35.

Growing up means change, and one of the biggest changes that teens go through is a heightened sense of insecurity. The media makes us feel obliged to change ourselves, in order to fit their specific mould of what's considered to be ideally "beautiful". I've spoken before about my view on this and today I will explain how this has affected me...

The disappointment I had for myself not being "good enough" made me put up a wall towards others. I was always worried that outsiders wouldn't like me. Being a people pleaser I tried my hardest to prevent this by putting on a facade as a confident person. Around large groups of people I didn't know, I would act in ether of two ways; I would become incredibly introverted and not say a thing except when I had to (many then thought I was rude or an "ice queen"), or I could put on a brave face and transform to this eccentric, over-confident being (many got the wrong impression of me being self-assured). Regardless to which way I acted, I wasn't being myself!

It's been a long journey of self-improvement on my part, but to finally be myself around others I've learned that I need to be happy and comfortable in my own skin. I've started to expose myself to situations that I didn't use to; such as going to parties, or being a school representative. Now I feel like I have gained a lot more and have found a new passion of mine which is meeting new people. I've started to approach others I don't know in conversation as I no longer feel concerned that they will judge me, and compare me to this "ideal" that the media tells me I should be. 

I'm finally happy with who I am and it's not because I've changed myself to look or be a certain way. I'm happy because I'm myself, and I feel people like me because of this! Never feel forced to conform to societies impossibly unrealistic expectations of a teenage girl, it won''t make people like you any more!  Be proud to be yourself and with it should come confidence to talk and meet new people...

Thanks
Lauren xx

Thursday, 3 December 2015

"I have a secret..."

34.

I have a secret... Something about myself that is often eating away at my mind... I have a constant obsession with being perfect. Many people perceive me as being slightly uptight, which they would be true to think so...

Over the past few months I've given myself a target of chilling out more. And its worked! My friends have told me that they've noticed that I'm more laid back; I've been a lot happier in myself and overall I've had more energy.

I've always put unrealistically high expectations on myself to be the best; to get great grades, always be on time, look immaculate, and to always appear a well put together person. But the thing is; I wasn't happy. Although everyone thought that I had everything figured out and I never got stressed, they would be wrong. I didn't have this indestructible skin that everyone thought I had. I just wanted it to seem like I was self assured and confident in myself. I was so controlling over how people viewed me, that I wouldn't let anyone see the real me. I hid my vulnerabilities from people around me, to the point that people thought that I had no vulnerabilities at all. I was viewed by others to have such great self esteem that they could take banter to a whole new level. I privatised my feeling and gave off an impression that I enjoyed having insults thrown at me, that I could shrug everything off as a joke (even one that was at my expense). I would go through my days being constantly insulted for my small 5ft1" height, my awful abilities at art, my passion and far fetched desire to be an actress and any other idiosyncrasies that make me who I am.

I can't blame my friends for causing me to have such a degrading view of myself; they aren't the reason that I went home most days and cried to my parents... I let them treat me like this because I was too afraid to admit that I had vulnerabilities and that I was hurting. I was so wrapped up in making sure that they all thought I was self assured and that nothing could get to me. I wanted to be perfect...

...But I'm not. Nobody is perfect. It took me too long to realise this, and it took for me to despise everything about myself before I could admit to myself that this person that I was projecting wasn't me. I'm sometimes late, I don't always look so pristine that I'm constantly ready for a job interview, sometimes my grades aren't great, and I have to try really hard to do well at school. I easily get stressed and most importantly I'm a very sensitive person. I'm no longer ashamed of showing my feelings. My friendships with people have never been as genuine as they are now. So my advice is, don't be afraid to show others your imperfections; we all have them. Chill out occasionally, you'll be surprised to find out how much fun you can have when your not constantly trying to control your outward appearance. We are coming up to a new year, so show people the real you!

Thanks,
Lauren xx

Thursday, 30 April 2015

"All around us we are constantly reminded that looks are important"

33.

Recently I've become more aware of the amount of teenager that suffer with body image issues and low self esteem and thought it's a topic I should address. 

Why are so many teens feeling like this? why do we struggle with self confidence and find ourselves feeling insecure with our body image? Many will say the media is what caused this epidemic in our society; seeing skinny girls in magazines where they are shown the be idolized, but hearing songs about slimmer figures being "skinny bitches", it's understandable that so many of us are left feeling confused and with an irrational and unachievable idea of what's attractive. All around us we are constantly reminded that looks are important and that a teenager's normal mindset should be to worry about their looks and try and cover-up their flaws and change what they can... Why should I have to remember to paint my nails ready for school? Why do I feel the need to waste 20 minutes in the morning curling my hair? And why do so many girls feel the same way; insecure and not good enough, despite spending a fortune on make-up and cosmetics?


Some people may feel they need to look good to impress boys which cold be a proportion of this anxiety and need to look perfect. However, I believe the reason behind these feelings are that we are scared of being judged and being vulnerable to others. We try and hide our imperfections out of fear that others will reject us because of it. How many of you will walk past a girl of a similar age in the street and notice them seizing you up and judging your appearance? I've had this being done to me many times and I feel this is what has effected my self esteem the most. 

But why should a strangers opinion on me affect me? I shouldn't! We all have insecurities, even those who make you feel like this will have something about themselves that they don't like. This is normal, but the way we judge others for their appearance is not! 

What I'm trying to say is; embrace your differences, we are all unique and the people that truly love you will see through your appearance. Also think in the future about how the way you look at people and behave around them can influence their self confidence. Maybe even try complement someone who you think could be feeling vulnerable? We are so quick to judge faults in those around us, yet sometimes don't notice the implications of this. If you have felt down today and lacked in a bit of self esteem, try to remember that we all feel like that at some point but the important thing to remember is; you can't change how you look, but you can always strive to be the best person you can be, afterall it's what's on the inside that matters!

Thanks xx
Lauren.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Fifteen Quick Facts about me

32.

Fifteen Quick Facts about me:

1) I drink WAY too much tea (about 6 cups a day), my 2 favorites are Tetley and Yorkshire 
2) I'm quite short (5ft 1")
3) I nearly got the role of Head girl at school
4) I did get the role of House Captain at school
5) I've never broken a bone, or had a nose bleed (touch wood!)
6) I was in a very short documentary for ITV where I interviewed and spoke to asylum seekers in the UK
7) My favorite colour is green
8) I love chocolate although am not too bothered by sweets
9) I used to have braces (purple and blue train-tracks)
10) I am obsessed with Pretty Little Liars (Sidenote: I think Wren is Charles/A?) 
11) I wear strange outfits, very girly and slightly vintage (I only wear dresses) also I wear knee-high socks a lot
12)  My favorite film is Annie (the original- I wasn't a fan of the new one)
13) I'm an awful speller (you've probably realised that by now)
14) I love films; my favorite film genres are Horror, Superhero and Musicals (a weird mix I'm aware)
15) I get very inspired by people and most importantly I love being around others

Thank xx
Lauren.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

"I Feel Like a Failure"

31.

Ever feel lost?
I'm currently in sixth form and the truth is that I'm not enjoying all of the subjects that I've taken. Last year I decided after much deliberation that I will go to sixth form, the main reason being that I wanted to achieve good grades in a variety of subjects; I guess it was so that I could prove to myself that I can do well at different subjects. However things aren't going as planned...

My love is for drama, I hope in the future to study it at university but in the meantime I audition for parts at local theaters. I made the (now regretful) mistake of staying on at my school despite them not offering the subject Drama, the truth is; I'm comfortable in my school environment. If I could give advice to anyone it would be; don't just do something because you are used to it, take risks and do what you love, not what you think is practical. I thought as I wasn't doing drama I will take English Literature... It turns out that English Lit' is dead boring... Who even cares about Alfred Lord Tennyson's complete obsession with death... I don't! I'd rather focus on what is happening with the LIVING! (No offence to those who love Tennyson's Poetry; if you do, take ALevel literature!) I feel like a failure, I wish I could just turn the clock back. I'm now looking at universities and it's upsetting knowing that I could have achieved much better grades if I followed my heart...

I guess it's too late for me, so now I have to deal with it (I'm still going to continue moaning about it though). My aim is to revise as well as I can, if I don't study and don't do well then I will be stuck in the same situation in a few years time; at a University that I don't want to be at... That is not somewhere I want to be. Yes things didn't work out the way I wanted them to but I think it's taught something worth more; follow your heart and no matter where you find yourself, always try your best!

Thanks xx
Lauren.

Monday, 1 September 2014

''Starting Afresh''

30.

Starting afresh. Some of you will soon (or you may have already), gone back to school, college, etc.  Each new year gives you the opportunity to have a fresh start; forget what happened the year before, you are able to mature, learn from your mistakes and achievements, and hopefully better yourself for what lies ahead. 

In a couple of days I too embark on the next milestone in my life; AS and A Levels, I am moving onto sixth form. I am a bit worried about things changing, I know this is where my education gets more intense and things get harder. The main thing that upsets me is knowing that some of my other friends are going elsewhere and the thought of us going our separate ways is a bit upsetting and nerve-racking. 

I do however know that I'm not the only one going through this, as I know my friends also feel the same way. We all get scared of change; it's completely normal. I think, however, that when we start to over-think things we should sit back and try to rationalize it all; yes, sometimes change can be daunting but really it's not the end of the world, things always get better eventually.

So if you are about to start secondary school, then it may help to know that there are others in the same boat as you, and therefore it's nothing to be too intimidated or worried about.
Likewise, if you are about to start sixth form or college then try to remember it just the same as going into year 7; we all have to do it and we all eventually get used to it. 
And finally, if you are going into the next year of school then enjoy it!!! Every new school year allows you to develop as a person and find more and more things out about yourself that you didn't already know! Good luck everyone and enjoy the new school year!!

Thanks xx
Lauren.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Getting GCSE Results

29.

Results Day! Yay? Nah? There are mixed views on this particular subject. As some of you may know, yesterday was GCSE results day for England, Wales and Northern Island. I was one of the many whose legs were shaking with nerves, what will it be; good news or bad? 

What I realised yesterday was how much pressure us teenagers put on ourselves to succeed, the pressure of our future rests on one key moment in our lives. I ask myself; why do we do this? Why are our expectations of ourselves so high, that if we don't succeed its the end of the world? The truth is I don't have an answer to this, it's just what we do, its human nature; the need to do well in life. 

When heading home yesterday with my results in my hand, still waiting to open them at home, I sat and in my head thanked my family, friends and teachers for all their support and guidance. I knew that whatever grades I got that I am a very lucky person to have such a great support system who cares about me. While doing my exams I often got annoyed at my parents for forcing me to revise, or fed up with the teachers for going on and on about how important this stage of my life is, and I even got frustrated with my friends sometimes because instead of going out, we were stuck inside doing homework. However all I thought at that moment was 'thank you', because without all of that I wouldn't be sat there knowing honestly that no matter what grades I got, I tried my best; and that is all you can ever do in life.

If you are sitting at home thinking how disappointed you are with your grades, ask yourself; did you do your best? If you did, then you should feel satisfied knowing that yes, there may be some people out there that didn't revise and got A's or A*'s, but YOU did your best and therefore you did better than them!

However, if you're thinking no I didn't do my best and yes, I did get bad grades, then remember when re-takes come around you CAN put MORE effort into revision. Things are always possible, don't loose hope!

Congratulations to everyone who got their results yesterday.  My advice would to be to say thank you to your friends, family and teachers because they care about your well being and will appreciate a little recognition.

Thanks xx
Lauren.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

"How to deal with the unexpected news of finding out, and dealing with bad health"

28.

As I have previously said in one of my posts, I have a few health problems that are under investigation. This post is about how to deal with the unexpected news of finding out, and dealing with bad health.

Recently, I have gone back and forth to the doctors and the hospital, often having days or weeks off school, due to me being in a lot of pain. This is exceptionally frustrating as no-one knows what's wrong with me, or how to help me. I will often get told one thing by one doctor, then another by a different doctor; it’s incredibly tiring and annoying to go through. Having to deal with the pain and shock of being ill is hard enough as it is, not knowing what to believe from the people who are supposed to be helping, is the final straw. 
There are many times when everything has got too much for me to deal with, and I have just broken down in tears. I HATE BEING ILL! That's exactly what goes through my head every time I get sharp pain go through me. However, I have to remind myself that there are a lot of people who are worse off than I am.
It's not the end of the world!

My point is that to anyone who is going through the same as me, you are NOT alone! We all know that it's a pretty rubbishy thing to have to go through, especially for someone so young, but try to remember, there is always someone who is in a worse situation than you. I know it's such a cliché, but look on the bright side; it's no good feeling down all the time. Try distracting yourself and play games, read or watch YouTube videos; do something that's fun to cheer up.

Another tip is try to keep on top of school work if you are off, email your teachers and ask them if they have any work for you. This means that when you do go back, you won’t be so far behind!

Also inform your close friends of the situation, and update them with what’s going on, therefore they won’t be as worried about you. Do not however tell people you do not trust, because when you do go back to school you may not want everyone knowing all your business. It's probably best, to tell your friends to keep it a secret.

Dealing with doctors I find is the biggest problem, my advice would be ask your parents or guardians (whoever takes you to the doctors,) to be quite persistent with them. I went to the doctors yesterday and my mum was exceptionally thorough, asking why after 5 months nothing has improved, why the doctors still don’t know what to do for me. Yesterday was also the first time we started to get somewhere and got given some useful advice!

There’s one other thing that’s down to you… Try not to be afraid, eventually you will get to a point where you won’t be as scared, and all you will want is things to get back to normal. So try not to worry about what the future holds, because that’s what I used to spend way too much time worrying about.

Good luck and keep well!

Thanks xx
Lauren.

Monday, 19 August 2013

"Having a family member who is ill is a very hard and upsetting thing to deal with"

27.

Having a family member who is ill is a very hard and upsetting thing to deal with, especially as a teen. When someone you love is suffering, all you want to do is help them, when you can't it causes a lot of worry and hurt, and can potentially lead to depression.

Like all of the things I write about, I have a personal experience of this; my Mum is very ill. I always try to look on the bright side and think about all the amazing memories our family has together. I talk to my Mum about it, because I feel it's important for me to know what's going on with her health. I used to get confused as to why my Mum can be forgetful or over-emotional, after talking to my Mum I realised that these are a few of the side affects of her medication, I feel much better now that I know this.

Talking is a great way to unload your worries and put them to bed. Keeping lots of emotions stuffed down inside is not good for anyone. If you don't feel comfortable talking to a family member about your worries, try talking to a school teacher, friend, or councillor. I spoke to my form tutor at school; I was then set up to see the school councillor. It helped a lot to talk about things, and slowly I learnt how to cope with it. I no longer need a councillor because she taught me how to deal with things by myself. I would definitely recommend it because it helped me so much, and anyone that's in my position would benefit from it.

Try to keep your spirits up; the member of your family who is ill will appreciate that. I know that my Mum doesn't like it when I'm upset, so for the benefit of her and to keep her from feeling guilty about me being upset, I try to be happy. Looking on the bright side of things can really make you feel good.

Also you could try helping out at home if you can; this will relieve some pressure on the others in your household, and will make you feel good for putting the effort in.

Telling the person that you love them is the best cure that you can give them! 

Thanks xx
Lauren