On Iris Apfel and the Art of Growing Up Gracefully.

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After finally getting around to watching the Albert Maysles directed film Iris, a great deal of my time has been consumed by thinking about the equivocal process of growing up. More specifically, how to grow up with grace.

Iris Apfel is an encapsulation of style. The experimentation of bright colours and clashing textiles allows her to express herself through the medium of fashion. Isn’t that what we all strive for? The ability to look great and stand out from the crowd. At the phenomenal age of 95, Iris still manages to combine outfits with ease that just work. After watching the film, one quote in particular stood out to me. Somebody once told Iris…

“You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty. But, it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style” 

Upon first reading this quote may seem outrageous. But in fact, it posses a great truth that we are all afraid of. Everyone wants to believe that they have a great sense of style, and I’m sure many do. But, individualism is something else. Something to rare and difficult to embody, that many attempt to grasp only to appear as a ‘try hard’ or a ‘hipster wannabe’. Labels are now a part of our everyday language, and it seems like common practice to box people together under a certain clique. The pursuit of being your own person seems to be futile these days, and Iris completely defies this logic. Yes, she may wear wacky outfits and layer up her jewellery but when you take away her status as a fashion icon, you are able to see her personality and life work embody individualism.

The film seems to be a drop in session, a sort of ‘day in the life of Iris Apfel’ film. Rather than hearing an extensive list of all of her achievements and her wonderful career, the audience are treated to a personal tour of her life and a conversation about her collection of clothes in her swanky New York apartment that closely resembles an Aladdin’s cave. It is incredibly easy to dismiss Apfel as another eccentric, but through the personal lens of the documentary, she seems endlessly down to earth and a perpetual fountain of philosophy. Age does not seem to hinder Iris in anyway; instead age enriches her experiences and adds a colourfulness to her life. Giving advice to younger fashionistas, recounting stories of her life and laying out endless outfits with matching jewellery. This film is a conventional documentary in Maysles arsenal, verging on repetitive, the audience are allowed an insight into the life of one of fashions most iconic figures. The film is very much about living life to the fullest and taking this life of luxury and bringing it into your old age.

Arguably, Iris’ outlook on style is the very meaning of the word itself. There is no need to buy everything from couture fashion houses, as much enjoyment can be taken in assembling outfits from the high street. In fact, Iris is known for not sticking to one designer, instead getting different pieces from all over and combining to make them into a new outfit. The boundaries of fashion are constantly being pushed and moulded by the 95 year old. I think the very secret of ‘growing up gracefully’ is perfectly captured in this documentary-film. Not caring. Pushing boundaries. Learning.

Iris does not seem to care what others think and through her life she has happily accepted new information and trends. It seems that she chooses whether to be old, and her attitude towards individualism means her young soul is perpetual. My admiration towards Iris Apfel has only increased by the ten-fold after watching this documentary. After stripping back all of her achievements, such as interior design and her status as a fashion icon, what remains is infinitely individual. After all striving to be different from everyone else, it seems that Iris is the one of the few that have actually managed to achieve it. Perhaps in our lives, we should adopt Iris’ attitude to become who we strive to be.

‘When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else’

-Iris Apfel   

#LFW Highlights

Away from the exciting and yet strict New York Fashion Week, London fashion week comenses. London always seems to be the centre of arts and fashion, full of exciting talent and integral talks of acceptance. The city may seem enigmatic, but upon entering, you feel a true Londoner. Everyone here has a goal, and the sheer amount of multiculturalism sweeps you up. Something about the manifestation of people is truly a great experience. Wanderers, dreamers, artists…people. LFW does nothing to tarnish the encounter, in fact, it heightens it. Designers from all around the world come together to display their art. Men and women’s fashion intermingled, with the buzzing culture of the arts. This fashion week saw a new era for fashion emerging. One where art may be combined with the present. The new accepting culture is mixed with English traditionalism to create a culture that many yearn for. Bloggers, Instagramers and reporters a like were left with much to absorb, as this London Fashion Week became the best one yet. And from home, I was religiously checking my social media feeds every second. In my awe and amazement, I have decided to compile a list of only some of my favourite shows that have seemed the most important.

Burberry

One does not simply make a blog post about London Fashion Week without mentioning Burberry…

This years show did not disappoint. As the centre of attention for LFW, all eyes were on Makers house on the 19th of September. It seems like this year Christopher Bailey made a huge change to the art of fashion shows as we know it. A new scheme in which people could buy pieces from the catwalk after the show sees a new change for fashion. A mantra of ‘see-now-buy-now’ is over taking LFW, and the fashion world. In this show we saw men and women’s fashion side by side, and a new form of fashion emerging from the event. In contrast, the clothes, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, hints at a collection inspired by the past. Old wallpaper prints, and ornate drummer boy jackets creates a vintage vibes for the spring summer trends. Golds, blues and reds keep the traditional Burberry style that we all know and love. However, we see the Burberry brand rewriting the conventions of catwalk shows. Remember this show that defines a change of the Burberry brand, and in fact, fashion shows as we know them.

Fyodor Golan

Alas, here I am again. Writing about the shows with bright colours, unique fabrics and quirky styles. I am constantly attracted to the most aesthetically pleasing catwalks shows. Although I am a massive advocate of high couture shows, the newer more futuristic looks really interest and attract me.

Bright colours seemed to be a massive theme running throughout Golan’s show. Blues, pinks,reds, oranges and greens. Despite the clashing colours, they work well together harmoniously, while still creating a striking look. The sheer amount of texture injected into this collection gives it a great sense of movement. Holographic materials, paired with denim, faux fur and sheer/lace materials hint at what is to come this spring summer. The childish and yet futuristic look of the collection just screams fun to me. Matched with brightly coloured trainers, I could not help but include this show into my favorites.

J JS Lee

The main thing that took my attention in this collection is the use of sheer tulle material. Standard, ‘normal’ clothing is spiced up with the material, which gives the clothes an added detail. Not apparent at first sight, the tulle gives the clothes a more angelic and light look.

Different from other shows, the clothes in this collection are wearable. Not too crazy. In fact, the clothes are sensible, using masculine figures to accentuate the elegance of a women’s figure. Monochrome tones used throughout the collection, with a few deep tones of blue and a few bright patterns indicate a lot of darker colours used in spring summer 2017. However, the tulle adds colour and definition into a otherwise bland outfits.

Marques’ Almeida

Again, Marques’ Almeida’s collection injects a sense of entertainment into LFW. Flower prints and delicate lace materials, are paired with denim and frayed edges. The romantic feel and style of the clothes are matched with more urban accessories and shoes. I think this perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere and mood of London. Traditionalism mixed with urban settings. London is steeped in history, and yet exerts business and innovation at it’s core. Something that this collection by relatively new designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida  have created. Despite being from Portugal, the collection screams modern London, which reflects the accepting society we live in. More silver fabrics give off a futuristic feel, and tulle fabric is used again to bring femininity and lightness to an otherwise urban collection. Paired with sculptured shoes and bad-ass boots, who could resist putting this collection in their LFW highlights?

Topshop Unique

Topshop Unique is another collection that I cannot help but put onto my highlights.Another year, and another success.

The over sized jackets are paired with more fitting skirts and dresses. I cannot help but feel excitement towards the 1980s vibes that this collection is giving off. Jumpers tucked into high-waisted loose fitting trousers that reminisces ski suits, as well as large jackets to hint at shell suit jackets. Like other collections at LFW, printed fabrics and denim seem to be a reoccurring theme. Masculine silhouettes which only accentuate hourglass figures, are balanced out with over sized everything. Hinting at what is to come this spring summer. Blacks, white and deep blues seemed to prevail in this collection, with only a few exceptions of bright pops of yellow and pink. This collection seems far from haute couture, and instead displays what appears to be a newly emerged theme in the fashion world. Urbanized pieces dominated this LFW, clothes that you could wear straight off of the catwalk. It seems that Topshop also have adopted the mantra of ‘see-now-wear-now’. And yet, it works. I cannot wait to see the same prints and over sized styles in my local Topshop this spring/summer. Oh, and the same style of shoe that varies only in colour is a nice touch! The hybrid of high heel and boots will look so good paired with either trousers or a dress.

          ‘It’s really important to be disruptive and do things that are actually kind of a little scary and bold’

-Christopher Bailey  

The #LFW Effect

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Ever since I first found out about London Fashion Week, I have religiously checked for updates. I used to marvel at the gorgeous fabrics, the shimmer of sequins and the wonderful array of trends. Now, with social media, I spend the whole five days updating Twitter and stalking the Instagram’s of designers and models alike. Despite never attending any shows in fashion week, it is safe to say that I am pretty obsessed with the cultural chaos that is London Fashion Week.

I believe that LFW was the triggering event that made me realise my love of fashion. When I was younger, and asked what I wanted to be when I was older, the answer was always: Fashion. I wanted to create, design and immerse myself in the culture. Whatever way, I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion world.

With wide eyes, I looked at the shows. Chanel, Dior, Prada. I gawked and absorbed. The fascination and bubbling excitement I felt towards this week has not died, but perhaps gotten stronger with the prospect of LFW becoming part of my job.

Definite that I was going to become a fashion designer, it was not until I really researched into fashion week that I found out about fashion journalism. And, alas, here I am. 10 years later writing on my fashion blog and looking to study journalism at university.

In my mind, I imagined LFW up to be this glamorous and extravagant world. Full of opportunity and wonder, as the FROW snap pictures and look on in interest. The creme de la creme of fashion. The enigmatic and foreign world certainly made me realise my dreams and undoubtedly the dreams of thousands of others.

LFW has changed since I first discovered it. The shows were art. 2015 seemed to be the ‘death’ of fashion. Raf left Dior, Alber Elbaz left Lanvin, shows adopted the ‘buy now, wear now’ mantra. ‘Fast fashion’ has now swept up the entire fashion world, and the art form seemed to be dwindling out. With the ever evolving world of social media, we see it creeping into the fashion weeks. Models Snap chatting, designers uploading to Instagram. While I am not opposed to using technology, in all honesty I encourage it, I feel like the essential art of fashion is escaping us. I feel that it is no longer the essential art form that I first discovered.

Don’t get me wrong, I still marvel over the beauty and completely freak out when I see the Chanel and Balmain shows in their respective Fashion Weeks. But, as I have changed, so has London Fashion Week.

The ‘new age’ of fashion may be challenging for some, but this London Fashion Week, I hope to embrace it. For ages, I felt saddened by the evolving of fashion, but writing this post made me realise something. Although I found like I am complaining, I still love fashion. LFW still holds the same amount of wonder and excitement for me. I should stop contemplating the change of fashion, and instead embrace it. The art of the fashion is still there, the passion is still there, and most importantly my love of the culture. Whether it is the high-end, luxurious couture, or fashion bloggers snapping their street style outside, I love the culture.

So, yes, fashion has changed. London Fashion Week has evolved and developed. Although it might not be what it used to be, there is still undoubtedly phenomenal talent, translating their art form into the modern world. LFW will still hold an important part in the fashion world. From my 10 year old, fashion obsessed self, to now, LFW still means the same. It is the promise of my dream life, of the hope of fashion, the culture and life of fashions greats, brought together for a shared love.

Despite never being to one, London Fashion Week has changed my life and my dreams.

‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening’

-Coco Chanel  

Ode To My Last Year.

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I am writing this the evening before the 5th of September (Edit: it was posted later). The day I go back to school for year 13. Even typing that seems surreal. I can remember my first day of school, all nerves with bubbles of excitement running through my body, and now I am about to embark on my last year in the education system. And then, university and adult life…

It is easy to get frustrated at school, and look forward to when it is over. School is, after all, a very stressful time, full of emotions, pressures and change. I often think to myself (or moan out loud to my friends!), ‘this week is dragging’ or ‘I can’t wait for this lesson to be over’. But now on reflection, I realise that my time at school has literally flown by. I know the phrase ‘it will be over before you know it’ is overused and most of you reading are rolling your eyes right now, but the reality is, that is true.

I speak from a privileged position. I am currently very happy with most of my school, the happiest I’ve ever been in the education system. Although I’ve had tough and rocky moments, I am not being bullied and I have a fantastic group of friends. Therefore, this post may seem stupid to some of you, as I talk about how to make the most of your last year at school, while you are counting down the says until you can leave.

School is a strange thing. Tough moments and challenges all seem forgotten once you have broken up for summer and you are getting ready for a new year. Personally, I get excited the night before I go back. The prospect of a new year. Changes. Different classes. I get to see my new friends, and I have the nicest new stationary to begin the new term. Yes, after the first week, the novelty wears off. Excitement of a new class turns into dread as you realise you have 3 essays due in on the same day and you cannot stop watching YouTube or procrastinating by doing everything but doing your work. Your new stationary starts dwindling down, until all you are left with is your bog standard Biro pen. And the prospect of a new day turns into grunts of annoyance because it. is. just. too. damn. early.

But yes. Overall, I do enjoy school.

It may get on my nerves a bit, but you can’t have everything.

But looking back, I have learnt so much in my education. Not just pointless facts that I no longer need such as Pythagoras’ theorem, or the formation of an oxbow lake. But I think I have developed most socially and emotionally. Learning things is not always about academics, but rather how you cope with school. I have decided to share some of the things that I appreciate about school, and what I have learnt over the past 13 years of my life.

It does not matter. I think, perhaps, this is the most important lesson I have learnt while at school. That test that you are stressing over, the person who you are worried to see or the topic you just cannot understand. All of it does not matter. While at school, this piece of advice is the hardest to comprehend. It seems like the entire world depends on the decision you make, as the pressure of school is astronomical, and you are at a rather awkward time in your development and growth. But once you get that in your head, your school time will come easily. Time flies, and in truth, you probably won’t see anyone from school after you leave, and definitely if you do not want to. So, do not put pressure on yourself as it will probably be fine.

Do not surround yourself with negative people. Whether you are feeling negative and sad with your current friends, or struggling to find the courage to leave your group, do it. Speaking from personal experience, trying to grasp and cling on to a friendship that is no longer there is damaging and not worth it. People change, and so will you. My friendship groups have inevitably morphed and changed through my time at school, and if you are at all feeling sad or wrong with your friends, change it. It is within your power only. The all consuming feeling of being worried to be around them is bad for you. If you are worried about what they will say, refer back to my first point. But in order to find a better friendship group for you, I recommend becoming closer to other people who are nice to you and willing to be your friend, this is actually easier than you first imagine. And then, either talk to the group and explain your feelings, or, if it is easier for you, just leave them. It will blow over, and if they do not respect your choices, they are not good enough people for you to worry about.

Not everybody will get along. This is perhaps the one that I realized latest. But once I did figure this out, my life at school became a lot easier and less draining. In school, people of all different personalities and backgrounds are put together to learn. This can be a useful learning experience, but also inevitably leads to a few clashes. I, being a self confessed people-pleaser, found it really difficult to get a long with everybody. I often put myself out for people unnecessarily, which became draining. The truth is, you will not get along with everybody you see and that is OK.

Hard work and organization is annoying, but necessary.  This is only learnt through trial and error, but I will leave that one with you. A hard worker will go a long way.

Enjoy yourself. Out of all of my lessons, this is the most important. School can be a pain. You are forced to learn things that do not fuel your fire and that you find boring, but hard work will help you through. Enjoy the time with your friends and cherish the security and help your teachers and the school environment gives you. It will be over before you know it (Oh God, I’m back at it again…).

‘Dark times lie ahead of use and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right’

-J.K.Rowling

 

School Grades and Results

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Millions of sixth form and GCSE students were anxiously awaiting the dreaded results day. Whether you have revised loads, or not, the day still bears a massive weight and provides a great deal of stress for students. In our minds, we are thinking that this is our last ever opportunity to do well, and if we do not do well, we have screwed up the rest of our lives forever.

I am one of those students. I was anxiously awaiting my AS level results on Thursday. But throughout year 12, I have noticed that the same message of ‘Revise lots, get good grades and succeed in life’ is drilled into our brains from the very moment we walk through the front doors to the school.  In fact, that exact mentality is said since before high school.

Obviously, revising for your exams and working hard will improve your grades and help you feel more relaxed, but the thought that without the perfect grades, you will be unsuccessful, is frankly ridiculous.

Recently on Twitter, Jeremy Clarkson tweeted ‘If your A level results are disappointing, don’t worry. I got a C and two Us, and I’m currently on a super yacht in the Med.’ This sparked controversy, as is Clarkson’s custom. But he does bring up some interesting points. We are not all blessed with the same privilege that Clarkson has, but despite his unremarkable results, he has achieved a great deal. How?

Many people ask this question through out their lives. How do I make money online? How do I become successful? How do I achieve without working? In this new age of technology and answers that are only one Google search away, people have become lazy and less connected to the world, despite their social networks growing. The rise of Youtubers and bloggers that are earning money and gaining a considerable amount of fame, means people are less susceptible to the work that goes into creating content and a living out of doing something that you love.

With the likes of Steven Spielberg, Coco Chanel and Sir Richard Branson reaching fame without ever graduating from a higher education institution, it is obvious that university and good grades are not integral to success. Privilege, I believe, has a big role in success. Being a certain race and having a certain amount of wealth, unfortunately, means that some people can progress in the world more than others who strive for the same. Despite this, perhaps the biggest thing needed to achieve ‘success’, is passion.

Firstly, I need to establish the meaning of success. But, in truth, success has different definitions for different people. Some people measure success by material comfort, some by the amount of people they have helped, some by the fame they gain. My personal goal in being ‘successful’ is to be proud of the work  and life I have produced. I mean, obviously, material comforts play a role in my strive for success, but isn’t that the story for many? I would not be studying if it were not for the notion of getting a good degree, a good job, and then a life where I do not have to stress over paying bills and  being able to afford my lifestyle. Most people who boldly claim ‘I don’t do it for the money’ have completely missed the point. I think most people study and work hard at school to do something that they love, but why waste valuable time in your studies and even money in your further education, just to gain no money? I digress, but money motivates the world. While I do not think that it should be everybody’s main motive for achievement (unless it works for you), money is no doubt a sign of success and a reward for hard work.
But back to school. The education system seem to put particular emphasis on doing well in exams, which will give you opportunities, and therefore, success. Obviously, school wants you to succeed in life.
But this is the same school that encourages creativity, but frowns upon anybody who answers outside the required curriculum.
Exams are not for everyone. Frequently throughout my education, I have marveled at the fact that I was forced to learn the quadratic equation that I will never use again after the exam that will apparently give me ‘success’, when all I longed to do was write, or learn about breaking news, and Balmain’s latest fashion line. An examiner is given a list. When marking an exam paper, if the answer is outside of the list, the automatic response is a cross. Frequently, the people with the sharpest minds and the keenest desire to peruse their dreams are considered as ‘hyperactive’ or ‘distracted’ in school. My point is, that everybody learns differently. Many do not benefit from cramming their heads with information that they will never use again. Those who have bigger dreams are deemed underachievers, because their constant battle in their heads, between learning pointless information that does not inspire them and perusing and building on what they love, results to a piece of paper and a few letters which will define them in school.
There is more than one way to be educated. Education without inspiration means that many will never feel their self worth. Countless people in business have built their careers with passion and a drive for success, not relying on results on a piece of paper.
My point in formulating this long winded blog post, is to express my opinion on exam results. The English school system seems limiting, in the fact that we are forced to do exams that will do nothing to further our minds or fuel our passion. The stress and emphasis means that many students feel worthless and disappointed with their grades. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that education and hard work are extremely important, but school holds flaws. So, whether you got an A or a D on results day, do not let your results define who you are. There is more than one way to gain success.
‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’

-Albert Einstein

Claudia’s Declassified School Survival Guide

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High school. The reality of it has been morphed greatly due to many teen American high school films, and embarrassing yet spirited tales of bitching, late nights and heartbreak that circulate around the Internet. To someone who hasn’t experienced the high school environment, it seems like a terrifying cesspool of difficult class work and raging hormones. Before I started high school, I saw high school as a competitive environment full of catty fights and acne-ridden, hormone-raging adolescents who were all against me. I never pictured I would actually have fun. So, before we proceed with this blog post, let me clear up some rumors and myths made by over dramatic teenagers looking to scare the school’s newbies. High school is not like that. Not. At. All. It’s not anything like ‘Mean Girls’. The school is just full of normal people, just like you. It’s inevitable that there’s going to be some bitching and cattiness, I means there’s hundreds, maybe even thousands of students of the same age stuck together in close proximity for around 6 hours a day. Everyone has different tastes, opinions and likes, there are going to be some clashes. But no where near the amount people expect. No, high school isn’t bad. Perhaps I over exaggerated earlier, but high school is definitely a daunting prospect. So in order to put some peoples minds at ease, I have compiled a list of survival tips to ensure that you not only get through high school, but that you also enjoy yourself. So, having finished high school, here’s my list of tips on how to make the most of your experience.


1) Organisation is the key-

I cannot stress enough about how important this step really is. Make sure you have enough time to complete your studies, do your homework, socialise (a vital part of development!), peruse any hobbies, eat, wash and just generally take care of yourself. This seems like a demanding list, but honestly it isn’t that hard if you just organize your time wisely. When your teacher sets homework, MAKE SURE YOU WRITE IT DOWN! I recommend getting a planner if your school doesn’t give you one. That way you are always sure you have recorded the homework and know when to do it. Do your homework the night you get it. I understand that this is easier said than done, but you’ll feel a lot better and less stressed once it’s out of the way. Also, when you get home after school, don’t turn on the TV, get your laptop or go on your phone. Do your homework straight away. By all means, get a nutritious snack and change into something more comfortable but make sure you do your homework as soon as possible. Being distracted by gadgets or anything other than homework can be harmful as you loose all motivation and it makes it that much harder to do your homework when you finally get down to it. When you get back from school, you are still in a working mindset and you will complete your work efficiently. Getting distracted is easy, and next thing you know, it’s 8 ‘o clock in the evening, meaning you have to haven a late night just to complete a task that would normally take a couple of hours! Doing your work sooner means it takes less time. If you loose concentration you will feel more tired, and your work will take much longer to do.


Pack your bag the night before and get your lunch sorted out before you go to bed. This way you just have to pick up your bag, with all of your books already in it (!), and leave the house. 


2) Try your best-

This advice applies to everything in life. At school, you will be surrounded by people who get straight A*’s and seem so smart it feels impossible. You will be surrounded by people who are better than you in certain subjects and areas. I’m afraid that’s just the reality of life. Accept it. I never enjoyed science in high school, it really wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be very curious and fascinated with the subject, I even wanted to work in science. But, I was forced to do the subject in a way I didn’t want, learning things in the wrong way for me and I quickly learned to dislike the subject (that’s a whole other point). I was put in the top set and I was surrounded by people who were simply fantastic at the subject. I was not. I had the ability, but having no interest in the subject, I found it hard. Science is the only subject I had this problem, but considering I was in a class of a few people who loved and excelled at science, I couldn’t help but compare myself. I wish I had this advice earlier: DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! The reality of high school is that you will find people better than you in a lot of things, but that’s OK. You will find things that you love and that you are good at. Do not compare yourself to others or you will just bring yourself down. Everyone has a talent, as long as you work as hard as you can, you will find yours. It’s easy to compare yourself, I mean, you’re in close proximity with over 1000 students all with different talents, sat in classes of at least 20. But just remember you have your own talents, which may not be the same as everyone else’s.


That being said, you can’t just accept that you are bad at a subject and do nothing about it. You have to work. Try your hardest at everything and achieve what you can. No one can ask anything else of you. This will help you in life as well. If you try hard and go out achieving your goals, opportunities will open up for you and you will get what you want. It doesn’t matter if someone is the smartest person ever, if they don’t try hard in everything they do, they won’t succeed. Trying hard also means that you won’t have to go over topics as much because you tried hard, they are cemented in your brain, meaning you will have a more successful exam season!


3) Don’t stress! 

Not every test that you take at school means something. In fact, very few tests mean anything at all. You should still try hard at everything you do, but don’t worry if you get one bad test result. I can guarantee that you will forget about it next week and it won’t matter. All those tedious end of topic tests mean nothing in the long run. Nothing. Those tests are just there so you can experience an exam atmosphere before you have to sit down for the important ones. In fact, those test can be quite useful to use for revision as you can see exam style questions and you can afford to make mistakes before your final exams. I heavily revised from my end of topic tests and it really does help. Make sure you keep them as your teachers will often go through them and correct them with you. This way you can see what should have been put and you can pin down an exam technique effectively before it’s time for your final exams. Teacher won’t tell you this, but it’s quite useful to make mistakes in these tests rather than the big exams. The point is, don’t stress if you fail! These little tests mean nothing and everyone will fail a few at a few during their school career. Don’t get me wrong, don’t try to fail these tests or refuse revision. No, these tests prove very useful revision as they help secure the knowledge of the topic and get it cemented in your brain, meaning it’s easier to revise as there has been repetition. But honestly, if you fail an unimportant test, it’s not the end of the world. If a test is important (GCSE’s, A Levels, Finals), you will know. If a test doesn’t go to plan, learn from it, make sure you understand where you went wrong, and move on! By the next day, no one will care and it will be irrelevant.


On the same note, all those friendship issues, boy/girl issues, class issues and just general school problems, mean nothing. Every person in that school is there for the same reason: to learn. There will be some clashing and disagreements but that is expected. Although when you’re in the situation it seems like the most important thing in the world, it’s not. Everyone will have moved on by tomorrow and will have forgotten petty fights. However, if it’s bullying, make sure you contact someone you trust.

 

4) Surround yourself with positive people

If someone is having a negative impact on your life, stop being friends with them. I know this is easier said than done, but trust me, your life will be a whole lot happier. I’m speaking from personal experience. If you feel left out, sad, annoyed, weighed, done and just generally negative when you’re around someone, get them out of your life. Your school days are too short to worry about people like that who you won’t see ever again after your school years. Don’t let your days be ruined just by being with those bad people. 

 

No one has the right to make you feel bad or negative.

While reviewing this post, I cannot help but cringe. My last year of school is fast approaching, and looking back at my years at school was weird and difficult. It took me many days to contemplate how to formulate this post. I am not one to sound cheesy, and I hate the saying ‘everything will be OK’, because in truth, everybody’s school experience is different. My current state of happiness (most of the time), at school was created through trial and error. School is weird. You will meet great and terrible people, but the most important thing is to get through and try to enjoy yourself. I always try to end my post with some witty comment, or some profound, thought-provoking comment, but I’ve found myself at a loss. So I part with some important advice I wish I had taken on earlier ‘It will be over before you know it, seize the opportunity.’

‘Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.’

-Malala Yousafzai

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Source: Pinterest

 

Books: Young Adult vs. Classics

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I haven’t always been as much as a bookworm as I am now. In fact, there was a time in my life when I would turn my nose up at the suggestion of reading a novel. True, when I was really young I enjoyed dipping in and out of a Jacqueline Wilson novel, listening to Enid Blyton’s stories and soaking in ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’. However, as the years past I fell out of love with reading. I suppose it could have been the new found middle school ‘attitude’, but I just did not enjoy it anymore.

I tried various books to no avail. The perpetual process of starting a book and then giving up continued. Until one rainy Sunday afternoon…

I lay sprawled across my sofa facing the bookshelf in my living room, bored out of my mind. Then, my eyes laid upon a set of slightly battered, first edition ‘Harry Potter’ novels handed down from my cousin. On a whim, I decided to pick up the first book and started reading. ‘Mr and Mrs Dursleys, of number four, Privet Drive…’

Suddenly my life and views on reading had drastically changed.

I loved reading. I read the entire ‘Harry Potter’ series and then, soon after when I had finished, I re read them. After that, I moved on to the genre of YA. Reading many dystopian novels helped fuel my love of reading and my new found status as a bookworm. I moved on to contemporary fiction and even dabbled in sci-fi. And now I am taking both English literature and English language as A levels, and am hoping to study journalism at university. My point is that, I would not be writing this blog post if it was not for my love of reading.

As I have grown up, I have started reading classic literature as my interest in books has expanded, and school has helped my jump into the enigmatic world of classics. However, the more I learn about the reading world, the more I have become aware of the snobbery attached to reading YA literature. Many people claim that ‘it is not real literature’ and ‘childish’. I beg to differ. To be frank, reading is reading. Whether it is a story about vampires falling in love, or a beefy novel by F Scott Fitzgerald which discusses the plight of the lost generation and the negatives of the American Dream. Both are valid and good novels in their own rights.

For me, the whole point of reading is to escape from your life for a certain amount of time as you go on countless adventures with the characters who you regard as real in your own mind. The journey of discovery. The finding of yourself through the medium of fiction. Not to mention the countless benefits for intelligence, understanding of story structure and vocabulary. Reading is reading.

We should want everybody to be invested and interested in reading, as a society, we would greatly benefit. However, the snobbery of the ‘correct’ reading taste is outdated and frustrating. Instead of encouraging reading, some are trying to devalue it. I love classics, and I thoroughly believe they are great reads that everyone should try, but YA is still credible and valuable to readers. Classics can be a enigmatic and intimidating world, that is hard to get into. Likewise, it is good to see how classics have influenced the conventions of our literature today. But, if classics are not your thing, do not feel bad or force yourself to read them. It is up to you whether you read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘The Hunger Games’. To suggest that YA is ‘not real literature’ or claim that it is for ‘unintelligent’ or ‘hormonal’ teenagers is frankly ridiculous. That is implying that some books are superior to others, and attempting to take all of the enjoyment out of the experience of picking up a book.

And that just really is not the point of reading.

‘I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.’

– Ralph Waldo Emerson