If you asked me at the start of the year if the things that have happened to me would happen, I’d say no. 2016, you have been one of the most important years of my life; I turned 18 – a major milestone where I am now deemed an adult, my sister got married, I finished my A-Levels and got accepted into University. I wanted to share with you my most memorable moments of the year and each month and thought to make a giant story time 2016 blog post.
Dear January, looking back you seem a total blur. January wasn’t really a standout month; all I can really remember was that I was preparing for my mock exams which is never fun and would probably have been struggling to remember to write the date as 2016 which happens every year!
Dear February, mocks. That week was chaos due to the organisation. My media exam was a past paper that we had already recently completed, despite the 2015 paper being unaccessible to students for the sole purpose of schools using it as their mock exam. But even after remembering all the answers, I still got an D (awkward) so I obviously needed some more practise. My psychology exam went great, I was only 2 marks off an A so that was promising. But textiles we didn’t have a written exam so it was business as usual.
February was also the continual of people applying to UCAS; my Sixth Form required each student to fill out a UCAS application even if they didn’t send it off and apply so mine had all the necessary details filled out. But honestly? I never even wanted to go to University. For my whole life, I’ve totally been against the idea of a further 3 years in education, mostly because I hadn’t found a subject that I was truly excited about – until I met psychology.
Prior to A-Level, I had never studied psychology and barely even knew what it entailed. After my first lesson of psychology I knew I had found something special; all we did was learn what conformity was and everything started to fall into place. Things started making sense, I was finding answers for questions I didn’t even know needed to be asked and ultimately I was seeing myself applying the new knowledge I was gaining to everyday situations. And that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do, I was still adamant about not going to University but I knew if I had to go, I would study psychology .
Dear March, you March were a major turning point of 2016 and to say my university application process was rushed is an understatement. It was the weekend before the UCAS deadline and after a conversation about my future with my Mum I came to the conclusion that my only option was to go to uni. Psychology apprenticeships wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole unless you had been in some sort of higher education so that was a no-go.
The following Monday I approached the teacher who was in charge of UCAS applications and told him I wanted to apply. All he said to me was “I knew you’d end up applying”. This was sort of a shock to me; the only conversation we ever had were those when he questioned me if I was going to apply or not. This teacher, who had never met me personally, knew I’d go to uni. How? I suppose it was my academic achievements, even though they were mediocre, or perhaps what my teachers had said about me, but ultimately I suppose it was my potential and he was certain that I’d end up at uni even before I was.
Altogether, it took me less 24 hours to write my personal statement, something which my friends and classmates had been doing for weeks/months. I was proud of how mine turned out and was glad that it wasn’t something I was stressed about. Personally, I don’t understand why it took everyone so long to write theirs, maybe it meant more to them than me at the time (which looking back it did). I applied for 2017 entry at 4/5 universities and 2016 entry for my hometown uni as I was still unsure about going to university. However, once the acceptance emails started rolling in I started getting excited which led to me changing my insurance and firm choice uni entries to 2016.
Dear April, The 27th – the day I turned 18; the day when I’d have my first legal drink and from which I would be classed as an adult, crazy huh? I spent my 18th birthday how every girl wants to spend their first day as an adult; going on a university open day! Okay, it’s not so doom and gloom because that was the day I knew Leeds Trinity University was my firm choice, guess you could call it fate right? Looking back, that was also the start of me becoming a more assured and mature person, the person I am today. I stopped being passive in my life and started taking full control of everything – my decisions, my relationships and my career.
Dear May, AS-Level retakes. I retook 3 exams, media, psychology and geography. I somehow got an E in my media exam at AS and along with the B in my coursework I was getting a C overall and knew I could do better. The same happened with geography, I got an A in one exam and a D in the other, but with the D exam carrying more weight, I got a D overall. I was 3 marks off a C and knew that if I could get a C then I’d just have to get C’s overall in my A-Levels to get into university. Psychology was the same, I got C’s in both exams, the exact mark too, so I retook the easiest exam instead of both and hoped to get a B.
2 days after my last AS exam I was on a plane to Marbella for my sisters wedding. This was my first time being a bridesmaid and experiencing a hen-do which nicely aligned with my 18th birthday and my transition into adulthood.
This was also a time where I let some friends out of my life. I wanted and still do want to surround myself with great people and knew that I was better off without people who acted like they were better than everyone else. I finally found out who my true friends were and wasn’t going to waste anymore time with people who treated me poorly.
Dear June, you are easily narrowed down to one week, where my two of my exams were separated by 24 hours. My textiles exam was also during this time, where I was working up until the final hour of my 15 hour exam. I’ve done textiles for over 5 years and it was one of my favourite subjects but once starting it at A-Level, my love for the subject faded. Creating pieces for my deadlines became tedious, I wasn’t doing it because I loved it, I was doing it because I had to.
But 2016 was my turn around, the start of A2 brought new inspiration for me, my love for the subject was rekindled and I wasn’t stuck in a rut anymore. When showing my textiles teacher my final piece, she said it was the best
work I’d ever done and she was proud. That meant a lot; at A-Level I never was her favourite, most of my classmates where going on to creative courses like fashion, but I was going on to do psychology so to finally get some major recognition was great.
Dear July, you were the final month of waiting, with my future lying in a little envelope, all depending on how well I performed on my exams the month previous. The 18th, 8:56am – just a few minutes to go until I found out if I was going to Leeds Trinity, UCS or through clearing. While on FaceTime with my friend Kam, I checked UCAS at exactly 9am and instantly started crying; I got into my firm choice uni and was absolutely overwhelmed with every possible positive emotion. Even writing this now I get teary eyed; but I was actually going to uni, something I never imagined myself doing, something I was completely against and now could not even think of how different my life would be if I wasn’t at university.
A couple hours later I went to my Sixth Form and collected my results, looking down at that envelope I felt proud, regardless of what grades I got because I was going to Leeds Trinity. I opened the letter to find I got B in Media which I was surprised at since I went from a E to an A in my AS retake, a C in Psychology & Textiles and a B in AS Geography where I went from a D to an A in my exam which my geography teachers were very proud of me for.
Towards the end of the month, I also passed my driving theory exam and even got a nose piercing which was something I was meant to get for my birthday. July was a month for achievement and will be a month I will never forget.
Dear August, you were filled with my last month of freedom before I was off to start my new adult life at university. There was plenty of shopping trips to buy everything I needed which for someone who loves shopping, was extremely fun.
Dear September, you were a month of change. I spent the last week before uni meeting up with friends I wouldn’t see for a long time (Georgia) and having as much fun as possible. The 17th – the day before I moved; it was also the day my twin brother went to uni in Southampton. You’d think this day would be heartfelt but it wasn’t, after a little goodbye he was off and everything felt normal. I mean after all, he spends 23 out of 24 hours in his bedroom with the remaining one hour being to collect food before returning to his room.
The 18th – move in day, everything was packed and in the car, just a 3 hour trip to Leeds was left. Once we arrived and unpacked everything (I wanted to do that first because once that was done I knew I could relax) I went into our kitchen/lounge and introduced myself. After an hour or so we were bonding; conversation was flowing, we were sharing stories about ourselves and it went so much better than I ever could have hoped for as I could see them slowly becoming my family. Speaking of family, I’d be lying if I didn’t shed a tear or two when my parents and niece left.
Freshers week was so much fun, getting to spend so much time with all these new people was great. I’ve even enjoyed going to lectures and learning so much more about psychology.
Dear October, university reading week stands out to me the most because I had a sickness bug, was bedridden and still completed two assignments (which were due 24 hours apart); one, a poster on the medical and social models of disability and the other an observational report. I received a first and a 2:1 on them respectively which I was very pleased about!
Dear November, the 5th – firework night, you were one amazing night. We all went out to see the fireworks (minus Chloe T) and had such a great laugh. I definitely consumed too many sugared donuts that night but I regret nothing!
I also got to go to London for 2 days to Support Chloe at the Kids Count Awards and got to meet the Leeds MP! It was really nice to take a break away from university for a little bit and an exciting trip to the capital was the perfect way to do it.
Dear December, even though you have only just passed, you were one of my favourite months of the year. I got to spend my first Christmas with my flat 3 family; we decorated the whole flat, put up a (tiny) Christmas Tree, and exchanged Secret Santa presents during our flat Christmas party.
December also meant more assignments for me. I had 3 but they were more spread out this time so it wasn’t as bad. I’m still waiting to receive my feedback but I’ll keep you posted.
Overall, 2016 has been a great year full of change, fun, laughter and love. I’ve made so many new amazing friends who I can’t wait to spend the new year with. Now, at the start of 2017, if you asked me whether I’m glad if the things that I’ve mentioned have happened to me, then I’d say:
Yes, thank you and farewell 2016,
Love Eleanor xo
P.S – Hello from 2017! Throughout writing this blog post I thought it looked wrong so I started adding two spaces after each sentence like I do in my essays and it finally looked normal. That’s how much of an impact university has had on me!