Not A Typical Teenager: November 2016

Sunday, 27 November 2016

I Took All Of The Wrong A Levels

I am applying to uni and I have realized something recently which has thrown my plans off all together.
I want to be a writer.
I thoroughly enjoy maths and physics and I like numbers, but I love writing. I love writing blog posts and giving my opinion and interacting with people who have read my words. I love inspiring discussion and encouraging people. The thing is, I have taken all of the wrong subjects to do this. People who want writers will want people who have studied writing and who have taken English at A level and now I don’t know what to do.
I know that some of the people who know me won’t take me seriously because what I want to do has changed so often in the past. This is different because I have been writing openly for the past 2 and a half years and I still to it. This is something I still enjoy and I still want to do, I just never envisioned it as a career prospect. I didn’t think it was possible for me to write for a living and I didn’t want to fail. I still don’t want to fail, but it’s better that I fail at something I really want to do rather than something I kind of have an interest in.
My next obstacle is; where do I go next? Where do I look for opportunities? I honestly don’t have a clue. My main aim is to keep blogging and to keep working hard at writing on my blog and promoting it. I want to try and create more, and vary my writing a little more. I need to make goals and set aims with regards to post length and quality, taking my own photos and attracting more viewers. More than anything, I want to make sure that writing doesn’t turn into something I don’t enjoy anymore.
I am going to keep writing about the things I want to write about and I am going to finish my a levels and I’m going to apply for opportunities and internships and apprenticeships for anything and everything that interests me. I don’t care where they are. If, after I have to complete my a levels, I have to move to the middle of nowhere just for the opportunity to write, then I will, and I will have some amazing adventures. I am going to chase this, and hopefully I will get to reap the rewards.
My biggest fear is that I have realised this too late and that no one will take a second look at me because I haven’t taken anything relevant to writing for the last 2 years in school. This doesn’t mean I have stopped learning, but it means I have an English GCSE, but no a level. I suppose I have to cross the bridge when I get to it and see what happens.
Thank you for reading my post. Have any of you had this issue? Do you know what you want to do yet? What are your worries? Do you have any suggestions for me and where I should be looking? Let me know in the comments.
Stay Un-Typical
Ashleigh xxx

Thursday, 24 November 2016

My Parents Are My Friends

As I am currently applying for university (and apprenticeships and other things), me and my friends are talking about what life away from home will be like. This is an exciting feat for all of us; the thought of living independently is exciting and scary all at the same time. However, after talking to some of my friends, I’m realising more and more that some people aren’t moving out because the thought of living alone is exciting, but because the thought of living with their parents any longer than they have to is unbearable.

To me, this was a very foreign concept. There are people who don’t like living with their parents? Personally, I really enjoy living with my parents. I have grown up with two younger sisters, one is 5 and the other 11. I argue with my sisters a lot but I love them both lots and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I want to stay around to watch them grow up, and the thought that I might not be is saddening.
My parents are some of my best friends in the world. I love spending time with my parents. The relationship that my parents have with each other is the relationship I aspire to have with my boyfriend. They go on so many adventures together and that’s what I want for my future. As I have gotten older, I've also got to go on adventures with them. Going out for food in Bristol the night before the open day in Bath, the three of us went to see Miley Cyrus on her Banerz tour and my dad took me to see U2. I don't want to go away because I like these adventures; they make me happy.
The prospect of moving out is exciting, but I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to leave my house. I want to stay around to watch my sisters grow up and see my family, and chances are that if I move out to go to uni or whatever, I’ll be moving away from my home town, and so it’s not just my parents I’m leaving behind, it’s practically all of my family.
Yet many of my friends have a very different view. A few have said that they want to go to uni just to get away from their house because it feels like a prison. They feel that being tied to a curfew and having to keep your own space tidy is inconvenient and annoying, and so they cannot wait to leave. For them, university is the quickest way for them to get out of their house.
I don’t know what my point is with this post really. I just think it is an interesting discussion to have. Is it better to want to move out? Is wanting to continue living with your parents for now a strange point of view? Does everyone want to move out at 18? Let me know your views in the comments.
Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Being A Student With A Job - Pros and Cons

Image result for computer and plannerI recently got a job, and I have been working in my current job now for a month and a half. I feel like I'm kind of getting the hang of it all now, and I know what to expect and what I'm doing and things. I thought this would be a good time to put a list together about what it's like to be a student and have a part time job.

Just for some background, at the moment, I'm contracted to work 12 hours, but am working about 20 a week. I work both after school and on weekends.

Pro: Money
A pretty obvious one, but it's really nice to have the money to do the things that I want to outside of school now, however.....

As I am working a lot of overtime at the moment, I don't really have much time to do anything except go to school and work. This keeps me busy but it can be quite exhausting. On the plus side, I have no time to spend my money.

Pro: Sleep
Following on from the last point, I am working so hard throughout the day, it means I am sleeping a lot more heavily in the night, and therefore am not so tired in the day which means I have the energy to do the work I need to.

Con: I have to be there
With all of the things I have always done after school, I have always worked my hardest to be there all of the time and have very rarely missed sessions of anything. However, the fat that I have to go to work when someone else asks me to makes me not want to go as much if that makes sense.

Pro: I have better emotional control
A little bit of a weird one, but I have always struggled with controlling my tears. If I am sad, everyone knows. Now that I have a job, it means that |I can't really break out into tear on the shop floor and I have to suppress them until a later time. This is really good for me and I'm so happy I'm finally learning how to do it after 17 years of not being able to.

Con: Being ill
If I'm in school and I'm ill, I can just take it easy and chill out a little. Because I have to be in work and it causes a major inconvenience if I am ill. Fortunately, I am not ill that often, but I was a couple of weeks ago and I really struggled both mentally and physically with the amount of energy I was using up on things other than getting better.

Pro: I have better time management
It has taken me a while, but I am finally finding a way to fit my hobbies around both school and work. I have to make sure I do all of my work in my frees in school as well as doing all my shifts, but I appreciate my free time a lot more now, and I use it to do more productive things like blog rather than scroll aimlessly through Facebook, which I have been all too guilty of in the past.

Con: Being spontaneous
It's a lot harder for me to do things without a significant amount of planning first because I'm usually scheduled in for a shift, although it does mean that when I do have a day off and I do something spontaneous, I cherish it a lot more.

Pro: I have new friends
Working means that I have friends who are all in different places in their lives and have all experienced different things and I'm learning new things off of all of them every day and I'm so happy that I get to do that.

I hear teachers telling me more than anything that I shouldn't really have a job and I should be focusing on my studies. I feel that this is partially true, but it's good to have the money on the side and if you commit your frees to working and not socialising, it is more than possible to do both. The only thing I would say is be careful not to kid yourself. It can be so easy to claim you've spent the hour revising when all you have done is play cards with your friends.

Overall, I would say that the pros definitely outweigh the cons; but what do you think? Do you think it's wise to study and have a part time job? Is 20 hours too many hours? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Should We Be Taught Things That Matter?

This week, I got to go to the House Commons in London and debate in the chamber that all of the elected politicians debate in. I got to do this because I am my local authorities Member of Youth
Parliament. These local authorities re grouped into regions. I was part of Wales, which had 19 MYP's in attendance. It was such a weird experience. I just remember sitting in the chamber and thinking "This cant be real. I can't actually be sitting here!"
Because sitting on parliament benches is for politicians!

We were debating on 5 different topics:
1) Stopping cuts to the NHS
2) Transport
3) Vote at 16
4) Tacking racial and religious discrimination
5) Curriculum for life

One person is picked from each region by Mr. Speaker (John Bercow), to speak about each topic, and you can only stand up to speak once. I wanted to speak on curriculum for life, which was the final debate, and I waited patiently for my turn. Unfortunately, when it came to debate curriculum for life, someone else from my region was selected to give their contribution.

At first, I was really disheartened, because I had spent all day preparing my speech and waiting to give it, and then when the time came I couldn't speak. However, afterwards I remembered that I have this little corner on the internet which I am writing on all the time to tell my story. Maybe as many people won't read it, but that doesn't matter, because at least I will have had my say.

So without further ado, this is what my contribution would have been for the curriculum for life debate:

What is a tax code? I'm not really sure, but I can tell you how to find the hypotenuse of a triangle. What is an IUD? Who cares, I know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell. When we ask teachers why we are learning these things, they say that they are useful for specific career paths, which makes sense, but we need to learn things that will impact us outside our careers.

One of the reasons I have heard as a reason against a curriculum for life is that it puts strain on schools. In Wales, we have this subject that is called the Welsh Baccalaureate. This is a subject which is supposed to prepare us for university and the world of work. However, all of the work is spoon fed to us and it is so easy to forge your work that it isn't really doing anything to prepare us and just takes up 8 hours of my time a fortnight.

Another reason I hear against it is that teachers are not trained to teach such a curriculum. Well, in my area, they aren't really trained to teach the welsh bacc. We have teachers who teach history and geography and music teaching us what a Gantt chart is (how pointless) and they are qualified to do so because of , at most, a single training day.

The biggest reason I think that schools don't teach a curriculum for life is because you don't get a measurable outcome. They don't think improving PHSE or even introducing it increases pass rates. It doesn't matter if we leave school without these essential skills because no one is asking if we are. There are no exams in it in school because our exam starts as soon as we leave school. Unwanted pregnancy? No marks for you there. Take out a mortgage and keep on top of payments? five marks for you.

Schools aren't teaching it because we are not individuals in the big picture. We are parts of working mechanism that produces the next scientists and journalists. We are statistics, and nothing is more proof of it than this.

So there you have it. That would have been my speech in the House of Commons. What do you think? Do you disagree? Is a curriculum for life a good idea? Let me know in the comments.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven - A Review

I read Jennifer Niven's book All The Bright Places a few months back, and I thoroughly enjoyed it (which can be seen in this post), and so when I heard that Jennifer Niven was releasing a new book, I knew that I had to read it.

This book follows two characters: a girl called Libby Strout who was once labelled America's Fattest Teen, and a boy called Jack Masselin, who suffers with an illness called prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces, even of your loved ones).

I really enjoyed this book for so many different reasons. I feel that in the young adult fiction world, I haven't really read many books with a main character who is overweight, and it was refreshing to read a book where this was the case. I think that it helped me realise that some people do live this life, and I think that lots of people will relate to Libby Stout.

I feel that Jack's character showed that even people who are well liked or "popular in school" can be suffering on the inside and can be facing their own struggles. Prosopagnosia was something I had never heard of before, and I found that this element of the book was very interesting because it's so unique and something I have never read about before.

I think what I liked most about this book was that it was such a refreshing take on a very overused concept. I think the fact that Libby is over weight is part of her strength. It has made her the character she is and it has definitely made her stronger. I don't think Jack expects her to be as strong as she is either, and I think that makes the book what it is too.

Overall, I would say that this book was a great read and I would recommend that you have a read (you can order the book from amazon here). I hope that you'll give it a read, and let me know what you think about the book and whether you'll read it in the omments, along with books you would recommend.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx