Not A Typical Teenager: February 2017

Sunday, 12 February 2017


How To: Pick Your A Levels

Studying for your GCSE's can be scary, and a lot of work has to be done to ensure that you get the grades you want. However, during this time of preparation, your also expected to make some pretty significant decisions regarding what your going to do next. Are you going to continue on in school? Do you have to go to a sixth form college? Are you going to get an apprenticeship? These are things that you're expected to be thinking about when you decide this.

When I had to make this decision, I knew it was going to be carry on and do A levels. I knew that I wanted to do my a levels before leaving education, but I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do because there were so many options and so many of them appealed to me. After eventually making a decision, I thought I would share my tips for picking the right a levels for you.

1) Check the option boxes
Wherever you go, chances are that you can only pick one subject from each line (like for GCSE). There's no point in deciding exactly what you want to do, just to find out that you aren't allowed to do it. Complimentary subjects like Chemistry and Biology are likely to be in different boxes because they go together well, but take a look and ask if you can't find the option boxes.

2) Pick a mix of what your good at and what you enjoy
I am doing maths, further maths and physics. I have always been really good at maths, and so it made sense for me to take maths. However, my physics is not as good. I'm currently at a high C in physics, but I really enjoy learning about it. You can't just pick things you enjoy if they aren't going to give you the grades you need, but don't be afraid to pick up one you enjoy and two your good at or vice versa. Find the right balance for you.

3) Don't pick things just because your friends are
To me, this was a bit of a given. If my best friend wants to take art a level, good for them but my ability to draw is incredibly weak, and so I would be useless at a level art. Don't pick things just because your friend is, because it doesn't make sense. Their ability sin't your ability.

4) Don't put all of your eggs into one basket
If you know what to do, good for you. Pick the a levels suited to that. If your likely to change your mind, then you don't want to get to the end of your a levels to have 3 of them which don't suit you anymore. Try to give it a little variety.

5) Take a look at the step after that
What are you looking to do after you've finished you a levels? Look at what you need to pursue the next step. That might help you decide between a couple subjects. Plus, lots of jobs only require one specific a level and then two other a levels that can be anything, so this allows you to hone in on a job but also keep some variety.

6) Ask your teachers
They'll have taught a lot of people in the past, and will know what level people need to be at at GCSE to do well at a level. They'll all tell you it's hard work, but they'll be honest about whether or not they think you could do well. After all, they care about your education and the pass rates of the school.

7) It's not final, so wait until your results
It's important to remember that you don't have to make your final decision until you know how you did in your GCSE's, so for now, your okay to do a little research and decide what you want after that.

So what do you think? How did you pick your a levels? Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading

Ashleigh xxx

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I Started Blogging For The Money

My blog is my pride and joy. It is something I have grown myself, from scratch which has taken me nearly 3 years. I am so proud of how far my blog has come and I can't wait to see where it takes me. I like what I write and I like the response I get to my writing.

However, I will quite openly admit that when I started blogging, I went into it because I was interested in the 'making money' aspect of it. I was a 15 year old who wanted a little extra money. I was still too young to get a 'real job'

I heard that there were many people who had made money from writing on the internet. This intrigued me, because I did want to make some money and I didn't have any better ideas, and so I started a blog.

I don't really know what I expected. Was I expecting to write one or two posts and then all of a sudden people would be throwing money at me to write for them? Fat chance. That's not how blogging works. After writing my first posts and seeing that my blog got 7 views, I felt elated. 7 people had clicked on my blog and read my first post. I was so excited. I know now how bad it can be to tie your happiness to your blogs views, but I did it for the first couple of months. After seeing the way my graph climbed when I posted, I forgot completely about the money had originally wanted. Now it was about the views.

Around the October, I was really getting into my blog. I was really enjoying it, and even though some of these posts are terrible and shockingly angst-y. I can't say that I'm really proud of those posts now, but at the time, I was so happy with the content I was producing (I'm not going to link back to these because they're weak posts now), and I was really enjoying blogging. I didn't even notice the major dip in my views, I was just writing because I enjoyed it.

My blog was a slow grower (probably because my writing was so weak to start with, and when I reached 1000 views 7 months after starting, I was obviously going to be happy. It was a big deal. Since then my views have increased at a faster rate, but it's not something that bothers me anymore, because I enjoy writing; it makes me happy. This is somewhere I can talk about what I want to talk about.

I have worked with a few brands now, and I would love to be able to blog for a living, but that's not what I'm doing it for anymore; I do it because it makes me happy. I may have started for the wrong reasons, but I kept going for the right ones.

Thanks for reading

Ashleigh xxx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

How to Humanities - A Guest Post

Hello! As you may not know me, hello, I’m Jemima and I blog at Another Ranting ReaderI am currently in my first year of A Levels, taking my AS exams in the summer, 4 humanities subjects (English Language & Literature, History, Classical Civilisation and Government & Politics), almost the complete opposite of Ashleigh’s subjects. So, we thought we’d work together to share our opinions and tips for tackling our different subject areas. 

Does your school/college treat different subjects differently?

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think so. I think that in my college the resources are spread out quite evenly between each subject area. However, I know that in school and outside there is a lot more emphasis put on the sciences and their importance, whilst, in my opinion, the arts are incredibly important to society.

Are there any misconceptions about your subjects?

1. Classics is just Greek mythology

In reality it’s like History and English combined. I really love the social history aspects, as we study a lot of court cases and texts on real people. Can be something unsuspected for some people, but I thoroughly enjoy it, although it is maybe more suited to someone interested in History more than mythology.

2. Essays are written every lesson

Nope, nope, nope. Believe me, this is really not the case. Yes, our exams are essay based, but a lot of our actual lessons are not spent writing essays. First of all, that takes up a lot of time and we still have to learn the content of our essays. Our lessons vary in structure and content just as much as science or art subjects do. 

3. Humanities are just an easy option for someone who isn’t good at science.

Okay, here’s the thing, humanities take a lot of work, maybe just the same as a science. I know plenty of people who have chosen to do humanities when they could have just as easily chosen sciences, myself included, but we didn’t simply because we didn’t enjoy the subjects so we didn’t take them. Humanities subjects require a lot of skills, despite their differences from the sciences. Instead of dealing with equations, we deal with words and analysis, finding true and deeper meanings as well as being able to structure essays and we still have a load of stuff to learn, perhaps just as much as science students. 

Any revision techniques?

1. Practise papers, practice papers, practice papers!

For humanities, this is the technique that I cannot stress enough. In every humanities subject, you will have to write some sort of essay, whether that’s in shorter exam format or in the form of coursework, it’s gonna happen. In your exams, you’re going to have a time limit that is probably too short what you need to write (I know that’s definitely the case with me for at least Politics and English) so you need to write fast. By doing practise questions you are getting your writing speed quicker whilst also getting used to the style of answering certain questions and the content you need to include in your answer.

2. Talk about it

I find this a very useful way for reinforcing my knowledge on my various subjects. Teach someone you know (who doesn’t know about the topic) and get them to understand it. By doing this, you’re making it more memorable as you’ve said it out loud, your brain has processed it and by making yourself say it it’s kind of true. I don’t know the science behind it, but it works. For something like this, it could just be a discussion on the news with your family and friends or a debate society. This way, you’re socializing as well as expanding your views and adding to your own knowledge.

3. Use social media!

This is something that mostly applies to Politics. As a Politics student, you are required to provide lots of relevant evidence to back up your points. To do this, you should be reading the news and staying up to date with current fairs, as any of the events being reported in the news could be used in one of your answers. To keep in touch with current affairs, I follow lots of newspapers on Twitter (a wide range so you can see the bias) as well as online political sites. 

Also, politics is interesting! It’s especially important to understand what’s happening in the world at the moment, regardless of whether you find politics interesting or not, it’s people’s lives who are being damaged, particularly with the threats rising constantly in the US. 

4. Great a glossary for each subject

This may seem boring (and believe me, it’s really not very exciting), but I believe it’s worth it. Create a word document and steadily add in terminology for your specific subjects, not forgetting to add definitions and examples from your subjects. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to let me know about your study tips, I genuinely would love to read them and see if they can help me with my own studies. You can find me over at Another Ranting Reader!

Jemima x

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Haze: My Own Perfume

Today has been a day I have been very excited about since August last year, when I reached out to a start up fragrance company called Fragrance By Me; a company which allows you to design and buy your own fragrance. They were looking for bloggers to review the experience and, as the idea of creating a perfume really appealed to me, I signed up and was accepted, and I was so glad that I did.

To do this, I was asked to visit the website and fill out some forms. You fill out what fragrances you like the smell of, and tells you what notes are in them. Then you get to pick the notes you want in your own scent. You can go for sweet or oceanic etc. There are lots of different notes to chose from. Within that, you get to chose what things within those notes you want your perfume to smell like. This allows the company to create 3 different scents. One scent is based on what you picked and the other two are based on other fragrances you like.

These come in little tester bottles. When I received mine, I took them absolutely everywhere with me. I wanted an opinion off of everyone I knew as to which of the three was their favourite. I wanted to pick a scent which I liked, but also one which other people liked. Eventually, I decided on fragrance number one. I informed the company which one was my favourite and they told me I could take it to the next level and actually release this perfume as a product.

The thought of this really excited me, as I find smelling good so confidence boosting and I personally find it really important. I was told that I would need to design a logo, take some photos and write a description.

This took a lot of time. I am terrible at art, and so I reached out to one of my friends and asked them to design me a logo that looked like a city skyline (her DeviantArt page is here. She is incredibly good at drawing). I picked this logo as I wanted it to be a fragrance you could wear out in the day and night. It was based of this image of me walking through a bustling city centre with lots of shopping, wrapped up in lots of clothes, and drinking a hot chocolate while walking back to the train.

After I sent all of this off, I received a bottle of my perfume to take photos of and I had to send photos off to put on the website. Finally, all of the work has paid off and you can now ACTUALLY PURCHASE MY FRAGRANCE HERE.

Overall, I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who loves perfume. I really enjoyed making my own perfume, and if you think you would, you can find out more here.

Do you think you'll try this out? Does it sound interesting? Will you be purchasing my fragrance? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx