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Is it normal to feel like this

(47 Posts)
Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:02:29

I'm not sure how to put this, but I'm feeling quite confused although it shouldn't be a big deal...There are much larger problems in the world.
Firstly, to clarify, I'm a sixth form student.
Basically, my dilemma is that I've always wanted to do a really competitive course (think medicine) and my GCSEs indicated I could do it. My school isn't used to capable people and pushed me into 6 AS levels and I've really struggled this year. Royally fucked up, in fact.
Only 2 count next year which are the 2 I'm dropping (maths and Spanish) but I'm now worried that means I'll have to declare my worst grades for the rest of my life. Anyway... I've recently been accepted to 2 summer school type things, one of which I got the only scholarship from everyone who applied to the UK (Summer School is held in another part of the world) and this has made my school erupt with joy. In in their newspaper on their website, all sorts but I can't help feeling that it's a little bit arrogant of them. When I applied I filled in the huge personal statement type form and they told me I shouldn't have done it without the assistance of our diabolical 'futures adviser' and that I'd never get it by myself. I was very happy but now I feel just overwhelming pressure to be accepted into university. After my AS grades I probably won't make it and I can feel the watching eyes of the whole school on me now. I'm their first ever applicant to this type of course. Sorry it was very very long and my typing is terrible.
AIBU to feel pressure over this and does it show I'm not suited to this type of course?
Please be nice!

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:03:23

And my paragraphs seemed to have disappeared...Brilliant.
I wouldn't blame anyone for refusing to read that. I can't do anything right.

VioletBam Fri 10-Jun-16 08:08:19

YANBU to feel pressure but I PROMISE you that even if it all went totally wrong over the next year and you didn't sit ANY of them or pass one, it doesn't matter.

You are so young and you can do it all again and go to any uni you bloody well want to.

Is there anyone you can talk to about this feeling of pressure?

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:10:58

My parents understand the pressure but don't understand what I want to do about it.

I personally want to take a gap year, having done my A levels with the pressure off (as no uni offer to meet) and then apply to where I'm likely to be accepted.

It's just I don't know how I'd fill the time. I'd have to work for a start and it so hard to find jobs nowadays.

CurbsideProphet Fri 10-Jun-16 08:11:04

I'm rushing for work (education!) so just want to clarify: you feel your AS Level exams have not gone well because the school pushed you into 6 AS Levels. You'be been accepted into a v prestigious summer school and the school is maybe taking the credit. You now feel the weight of everyone elese's expectations?

I would take some time to think about what you want. Repeat (fewer) AS Levels elsewhere? Wait until results day to see how things have actually gone?

I went to uni at 22/23 when I really knew what I wanted. Remember you are not on a conveyer belt and do not have to keep rushing onto the next stage, if you are not sure it is what you want.

Well done for getting the scholarship for the summer school! That is a huge achievement. You should feel so proud of yourself smile

Nannawifeofbaldr Fri 10-Jun-16 08:12:31

Well done on the scholarship.

The school is proud of you and celebrating your success - that's fairly standard stuff to be honest.

Feeling pressure over exams is also very, very normal. It absolutely doesn't mean you aren't suited to the course. As you go on and stil further exams you'll get used to it and find ways to handle the nerves but they don't really go away.

Don't give up. You don't know yet that you've messed up - wait for the results.

However, IME successful people always have a plan B. So if you don't get enough for medicine what are you going to do instead - there are a whole world of options out there - it's not medicine or nothing!

No one care (at all) what school exam results you get once you've got your degree. They are only a key to the door into uni. They don't matter after that.

Keep calm and don't give up - whatever happens with your results.

Nannawifeofbaldr Fri 10-Jun-16 08:15:05

Re the gap year - lots of people do them now. If you are planning on doing medicine your year should be carefully thought out though. Make sure you don't waste it.

Also bear in mind that taking a year off from studying can make it very hard to pick up again later.

cardibach Fri 10-Jun-16 08:23:14

As a PP said, you may not have done as badly as you think. In any case your scholarship will show your true ability, and presumably your school will say nice things about you in their reference.
If you still want to take s year out that's perfectly valid. I'd do some paid work (something like retail maybe? If you can get it - it's fairly easy where I am but I know that's not the case everywhere) and save to do some volunteering in a field relevant to your course. If it is medicine, for example, Google Gap Year Medics - a student from my school did that and had a fantastic experience. If it is another field, have a look about. You'll find something.
I don't think feeling pressure at 16 means you aren't suited to a competitive career path, no. Trust yourself!

EstrellaCircusGirl Fri 10-Jun-16 08:33:16

Hi OP, reading your post took me back to when I was in the sixth form. I received the highest set of GCSE results my school had had (to that point - others have surpassed me since).

Although I wasn't pushed into 6 AS Levels (utter madness on the school's part - and I've worked in both secondary and Higher Education), but I still felt a great deal of pressure to succeed for the school's sake. I wasn't given any real careers or 'future' guidance and made some poor choices about subject combinations. I ultimately ended up leaving sixth form before the end of sixth form, although I did complete my A Levels over the following year.

I would whole heartedly support what Prophet said. If you recognise that the range of subjects are not for you, and that the school doesn't seem to be able to cater for your needs, now is the time to think about finding an alternative sixth form or college.

There's absolutely no shame in starting again in September but with a more conventional 3/4 A Levels. Even the top medical schools only ask for three A Levels. Focus on doing your Maths, Chemistry and Biology (?) as well as you know you can. You can always pick up Spanish and your other subjects up at a later date if you're still interested in them.

Best of luck with your choices and do my hesitate to PM me.

tinyterrors Fri 10-Jun-16 11:49:39

It was madness for the school to push you into 6 AS levels.

As Estrella said there's nothing wrong with repeating your AS year. Your AS grades may not be as bad as you think and believe me uni won't be overly bothered by them, it's your A level grades they look at, and once you have your degree no one will know or care that you got a d in Spanish.

You've done bloody well to get the summer school scholarship by yourself. It's rubbish that school is trying to take credit but you know you did it by yourself.

If I were you I'd be looking at repeating AS year somewhere else next year if you don't get the grades you need.

You also don't have to do school, sixth form, uni one after the other. You can take a break and live life for a few years and then go back to uni. If you want to take a gap year then do it, take a break from studying and work for a year and then go to uni. I started my degree with the open uni when I was 23 and loved it even though it was hard work as I already had children.

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:11:02

I actually don't need to resist as the 3 sciences I'm carrying on (don't need maths for the course I want to do) are linear?? I think that's what it's called- AS is no longer 50% so as long as I work next year, I could turn it around BUT one of my teachers is terrible and the whole class (well, only 3 pupils do science any science at AS level currently and 2 of them including me does all 3) finds her really difficult to understand.

I've explained in a mature way what the problem is but they said I should just pay for a tutor. I can't afford one :/

Maybenot321 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:18:51

Would it be possible to move elsewhere for the last year of 6th form?

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:22:03

I just hate that the pressure is getting to me. I was 4 or 5 when I decided what I wanted to do and they laughed at me and said I wasn't smart enough. Even my mother made excuses such as "aww you'll much prefer something else" which she later told me basically her not believing in me.

By year 1/2 I had pushed myself all through the reading bands etc and I naturally chose books on the topic. I passed my SATs etc and I was always so determined and now I've hit a wall. I missed a lot of school this year being pushed into things that would boost my CV and now I feel like I won't make it. I don't want to do anything else but I don't want to apply and let everyone watch me fail..

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:22:43

I don't know if I could move for year 13. I'm not sure my parents would let me.!

CurbsideProphet Fri 10-Jun-16 16:37:59

Have you sat down and talked to your parents about any of this?

I am guessing that you are doing A Levels at a school that has a small sixth form. I'm just thinking "out loud" here.... Do you all tell the teacher "we don't understand that" every time you don't understand what she is saying? Who pushed you into the CV boosting things?

CurbsideProphet Fri 10-Jun-16 16:45:00

If you are focussed on a career that requires a specific course of study (like vet science etc) then you will need to do some thinking:
move to a more academic sixth form that is used to having more able students.
Possibly start A Level course again.
Complain to school about the teacher and lack of support.
Stay where you are, work hard, and see how things pan out.
Anything else I haven't thought of...

Ultimately, you will need to decide what is the decision you feel most comfortable with.

You said "let everyone watch you fail". Do you feel that you don't have anyone supporting you? You don't need to answer that, it was just something I noticed.

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:47:00

My parents basically say "You got accepted into XYZ. It's all about getting the grades now -big smiley face because she knows I work hard-"
But she has gone into school 3 or 4 times because I've been crying saying I can't do it.
I tell the teacher every time and he screams at us. I tell my head of year and he observed for one lesson (where the teacher teaches properly) and then feels satisfied.

The whole year does CV activities. There are 140 people in my year and 65 in the year above

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:48:42

What I've started doing (which is probably illegal) is getting my friend that goes to a fee paying school to send me some resources even though they do different exam boards.

throwawayjunefri Fri 10-Jun-16 17:01:59

Feeling under pressure when you're being pressured by your school is definitely normal! I cracked when I was in your position. I was forced into 14 GCSEs and also being bullied (which the school did nothing to remedy). In the end, I cut down to 8 GCSEs, had an abysmal year of AS levels and ran away to college to study art.

My school said, if I went to college, I'd never go to uni. The reality was, I had two years of art in a low-pressure environment, got an offer to study at Cambridge (I rejected it due to the pressure), and went on to do some other stuff.

I am now 26 and have a place to study medicine from September. Up 'til now I've had a few false starts at uni and had a few jobs. It definitely wasn't the "academically able" conveyor belt that I'd been thrust onto at a young age. In fact, for a long time I viewed myself as a total failure whose intelligence peaked at a young age!

But here I am, a relatively ancient mature student who got onto a competitive course. It is never, ever too late, even to achieve things that seem out of reach.

You're so young and mental health is vitally important. I know how bad pressure can get. Do what you need to do to stay happy and healthy. Talk to your parents. Try to ignore the school if you need to. I used to get angry when my own state secondary tried to take credit for what I saw as being "my" results, as the teaching was dire and I self-taught most of it.

You have achieved amazing things but success isn't all about grades. Getting the grades is a means to an end: doing what you're passionate about. And if you're passionate, it doesn't have to happen right now. It can wait a few years, if it's the right thing for you. Have the gap year. If you don't, you'll regret it. Take time to relax and enjoy hobbies and friends.

I have worked in the NHS for a few years and have heard dying regrets. Not one person has said that they wish they worked harder. They all wished they'd taken life a bit less seriously. Good luck.

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 17:33:08

Thank you! I don't think I'm very academically strong but I try my best. I did a placement and they wrote me a brilliant reference and they even paid me as if I was staff! They told me if I get onto the course they're really interested in having me for placements- That felt good.

I do want to go to uni. I just don't want all the pressure. The whole school seems to know who I am

AdjustableWench Fri 10-Jun-16 18:19:09

I felt a lot of pressure at school and I took a year out. It was good to have a break from academic pressure before starting uni, and it meant that when I did start my uni course I was very enthusiastic and my academic performance was better than at school.

Your current situation is very stressful, especially because of the teacher who isn't very good. Screaming is not teaching. Do you have a good text book for the course? A decent textbook can be really useful if it explains the material well. Also consider studying together with others in the class - if you can explain things to each other you'll feel more confident.

So yes, it's normal to feel the way you do. But don't be too hard on yourself. Whatever happens in your exams, it won't define you forever.

Dogsandcats123 Fri 10-Jun-16 18:21:08

I have 4 different textbooks but they don't have the same detail as the resources my school is provided with (that the teacher isn't giving me)

Maybenot321 Fri 10-Jun-16 18:31:31

Is there anybody in Upper 6th who has just done/doing the same A' Level subjects, that you could speak to for advice on learning resources etc?

Dragongirl10 Fri 10-Jun-16 18:33:14

Well done for getting as far as you have so really is down to your determination and you should be proud of yourself.

You are lucky to know your vocation, please don't give up now.
It really sounds like you lack a lot of support from home and school which is making it so hard for you.

if you look at all your options carefully, get online and see if any of the local private schools have a connection with your school, sometimes they will share resources and help, my DC school does this.

It may take some confident cold calling but you will be surprised how many private schoosl are keen to help a bright keen student in their area...may be with good advice and careers support, even if you do not go to the school.

Log on to the Good Schools guide there is a lot of general advice which may help you work out your best path to where you want to be.

Good luck ...if either of my dcs turn out like you l would be incredibly proud.

Maybenot321 Fri 10-Jun-16 18:35:04

FWIW the summer school and a some time out over the Summer hols, may give you a different perspective for September. Good luck

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