February Feelings

It’s not the last day of February! I never understand leap years, but they’re kinda cool. Just a random extra day. It’s like when you travel through time zones and you technically have a 36-hour day or something.

I don’t like February to be honest – on the whole, it’s just dreary. Every festivity is over, it’s not spring, the weather’s crap, particularly in Britain. And it’s the point when school seems to become suddenly all about exams getting closer, which is not great. Usually the only good thing about February is that it’s shorter than the other months… Damn 29th day.

You know, it literally only occurred to me the other day that leap years and the Olympics always occur the same year. I don’t know why I only just realised that, but I guess there’s only really been four leap years since my birth, so it’s not that bad.

I’ve recently hit that point where I’m no longer interested in wearing jumpers & thick clothes with dark colours. Enough of that, it’s been about five months, I’m done now. I’ve started bringing back the strappy tops (‘tank tops’ if you’re from the US, I think) and jackets instead, despite the lingering cold. I went shopping in Essex at Lakeside the other week for a friend’s birthday, and if you don’t know, that’s a massive shopping centre, and I only looked at brighter, lighter stuff. I am definitely ready for spring to come. I’m also so grateful for the days getting lighter, because it just makes such a difference – I’m so much more productive and happy when I’m not constantly in the dark (literally, not metaphorically). Dark, grey days drain me of all energy. Honestly, sometimes I just think I should up-and-move to somewhere sunny, like Florida.

Thinking about sports, though, F1 comes back in March – I’ve never really been one to watch sports of any kind, other than watching a bit of stuff when the 2012 Olympics were going on – though because of school, I didn’t get to see too much. This year though, two of my friends (F1 fanatics) are planning on getting me into it. I’m mainly just agreeing to meet up every weekend for something to do, and I’ve made them agree to explain to me what on earth is going on! It’s not that I don’t like sports, I just never happened to have anything to do with it.

On a different note entirely, though, I think it’s been about six weeks since my last Short Story Sunday. I didn’t do one today because I’ve been so consumed with revision and coursework – I spent most of yesterday doing work at the library. I’ve not done any proper writing writing, like on my book, for a while either – I’m hoping I’ll fit some in somewhere soon, but at least I’m keeping up with my blog. I’ve sort of got a suspicion my posts are becoming increasingly school-orientated, which I don’t want to do, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable to be thinking about it all the time. I’m thinking of trying to expand what I write about, hence the last post about the EU. I think I’ll try to do a few more recipe ones as time goes on, hopefully, and maybe more about stuff that’s going on in the world. It’s good to have wide horizons.

Anyway, that’s about all for today – I’m writing this literally the hour before it’s going live – because I need to get back to thinking about school. Unfortunately that’s the way of things for now. Thanks for sticking with me!

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Opinions on the EU Referendum

Okay, so I may not know where you are right now, or where you’re from, but I’m British. I live in England, somewhere a bit north of London, and as I turned 18 last year, I’ll be voting in the referendum as to whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.

Firstly, I’d like to point out something: I’m both a history student and a geography student. As a result, I know not only a fair deal about current events, but I also know a heck of a lot about the last couple of hundred years – around the world. And let me tell you something else – we, the UK, are extremely different from America. Not to say America’s bad in any way, but you’ll see why this is important if you read the rest of this post.

If you don’t understand what exactly the points are that David Cameron has persuaded the EU to agree on, in terms of benefits for Britain – kind of ‘perks’ that we’d have, which are different to the other member nations – check out this BBC article.

Now we can get down to it.

I think there’s a lot of people who are thinking something along the lines of “if we vote no, the EU will spring out a better deal for us to take last-minute.” That’s not true. This vote should be taken seriously – if we vote to go out, that’s final: we’re out. And that would leave Britain in a very precarious position. To put it in perspective, this is where America comes in: America is, on the whole, isolationist. This means that, and this can be traced throughout its history, it is a country who prides itself on being independent, and keeping its attention away from world affairs. Where it doesn’t have to get involved, it doesn’t. This happened in the early 1900s, when Britain lost the Gold Standard and during the depression years, America could well have stepped up to become a controller of the world economy, but it decided not to. It’s the reason they didn’t involve themselves in either of the World Wars until they had to.

In stark juxtaposition, Britain has never been isolationist. We are the country who have been involved in just about every single major world event that has ever taken place. We communicate freely with other countries, we are the strong, stubborn little island who has pretty much always had a say in everything. More than this, though, we’re a small country – relatively. We don’t have the resources to keep ourselves going as an isolationist nation. We need the trade, the co-operation and the information from other nations, we need to keep up links with other countries in order to maintain our strength. And as such a historically influential country, we need to keep these relationships because our country has a duty that comes with our strength and reliability.

We vote to leave the EU, we vote to leave behind our strength. That’s what that equates to.

More directly relevant, though, is this: as a member of the EU right now, and with the deal that Cameron has reached with the EU, Britain won’t become part of the “ever closer union”. This is good for us – we keep our currency, we keep our trade links, we keep our freedom of movement, of communication, the co-operation, and we aren’t bound by the tighter legislation and rules that the majority of the EU’s members are (and will be). If we vote yes, we ensure our safety.

Interestingly, everyone I’ve spoken to about the EU referendum who is around my age has been dead-set on voting we stay in. Everyone over the age of roughly 35 has either been unsure, or decided to vote out. This isn’t just a narrow observation, either – there are statistics about it here. And – you may have guessed it by now – I’ll be voting to stay in. And I’m hoping that everyone else decides the same. So please, if you’re 18 or older, and you’re able to vote in this referendum, vote to stay in. I’m not a politician, I don’t have any ulterior motive, I’m just an A Level student who pays attention to the world. And, to sound really patriotic, for the sake of our country, we can’t leave the EU.

And don’t forget – feel free to leave your opinion in the comments!

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Other articles regarding the referendum:

Home

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32793642

Boris Johnson’s influence over the outcome of the EU referendum is highly overstated

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12167851/eu-referendum-david-cameron-faces-mps-after-boris-johnson-backs-brexit-live.html

Life of an A Level Student

I may have had the last week off of school, but time off never really means a break from work. Being an A Level student means you never escape the deadlines.

I’ve mentioned on here before that I study English Literature, history and geography at the moment, and I’m planning on studying English Lit and history as a joint degree at university when I leave school. I won’t undermine other subjects saying they’re any less difficult (mainly because I know that isn’t really the case), but studying three humanities subjects can be unbelievably hard.

In an average week, I write anywhere between two and six essays, spending around 57 hours per week studying in and out of lessons (bear in mind a full-time job is only 40 hours per week), and still I struggle with my workload. Now, students’ experiences with higher education (in this case meaning anything past GCSEs and standard education) differs, because some people really just care less about their qualifications, but for those who do care, it’s a real slog.

At the beginning of the half term (which actually started a day and a half early for me, because school experienced a technical fault and lost all its electricity) I was faced with the prospect of two standard essays, research for a piece of coursework stretching 100 years, reading and analysing a twenty-page story, doing catch-up for the last few history lessons, a lot of reading, and revision. And that was actually a ‘light’ workload compared to normal, despite taking up hours and hours of my time.

I consider myself quite lucky this year, because I have study periods on a Monday morning – which means from 8:40am to 1:40pm I am in the study room, with a friend of mine, and it’s a time when I can really focus and get any work I haven’t done for the week already out of the way, before lessons start and I get any more. I also have study periods Wednesday afternoons (one hour), Thursday afternoons (one and a half hours) and two hours on a Friday morning. This amount of study time is actually very unusual for my sixth form, because most people have the hour on Wednesday and the two hours on Friday taken up by an enrichment activity – but this year, mine is twenty minutes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is really beneficial for me.

Sometimes I think people who are out of education, and have been for a long time, really fail to understand what the average student life is like these days. I remember being in Year 11, and doing my GCSEs, and I was taking roughly 11 subjects at this point. I had 25 hours of lessons each week, which was 5 per day, and I didn’t get study leave. Not a day went by where I wouldn’t have a test or assessment for the entire year. Now, I have far less in the way of formal tests and assessments, but every essay I write is graded.

March is going to be a busy coursework month for me – my courses this year mean I have 5 pieces of coursework to complete. I’ve got two out of the way already, but now I have my first draft of my second history coursework due on the 9th, my final draft of my second English coursework due on the 15th, the final of the second history due on the 23rd, and somewhere in between I’m starting my geography coursework with my field trip. I’m so annoyed about the placement of this trip, because it’s a Friday-Sunday trip, so I’ll have a full twelve days without a free weekend.

If you’re a fellow student reading this, I’m sure you can relate. It’s actually difficult to have a social life unless you try really hard. If you’re someone older, perhaps a parent to someone going through school right now, please give them a break. They have it harder than you may think!

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