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Making some time for summer fun and a little study

SpunOutter Olivia tells us how she'll be spending the summer having fun with a little study mixed in.


Written by Olivia Minnock and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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Well, it’s the beginning of the summer holidays. In the last week of school I somehow ended up doing six tests in two days, as well as being involved in a lot of other activities and helping out with various events around the school. To sum up, there was a particular occasion when I am almost positive I was in two places at once. Something like Hermione Granger’s time-turner or The Doctor’s Tardis would have come in particularly handy, but there’s no point worrying about that now.

Thus my first task for the summer holidays was to relax. I had a similar experience at the end of third year when I finished my exams and literally spent time pacing up and down because I’d been so wound up for the previous months that I couldn’t sit still. So I’ve taken this first week of the holidays to loll around on the sofa watching “Countdown” or “The Weakest Link” and generally not being very productive. I think that’s something we all need from time to time, so if you’re spending  a few days like that, don’t panic. You deserve it. Enjoy the sun while it lasts and catch up on some quality time with your friends, family, pets and television.

However, spending three months like that... I don’t know if it’s the wisest choice. I recall kicking myself halfway through third year when the mocks were well underway: why hadn’t I revised in the summer after second year? I hadn’t even taken out my books. My schoolbag had stayed in the same place, full of the same screwed up bits of paper for twelve weeks. Now what was I to do?

Thankfully, I learned from my mistakes. Going into fifth year after TY, I was well aware that it was necessary to work hard and not just leave everything for sixth year. I’m pretty proud of myself for taking lots of time over notes and revision in the past year, but when it came to the summer tests there were still areas I wished I’d done better on. This was mainly because I am the “I can do that” girl, who volunteers for just about everything. School play, debates, poetry contests, blogging, helping out after school... yep, I can do that. Don’t get me wrong: I love it, that’s who I am... but it does leave me with a lot of work to catch up on.

If you’ve spent the past school year being a busy bee, or perhaps if you’ve just been a bit, shall we say, lax when it comes to studying, now is the time to remedy that. Personally, I’ve got some pretty big ambitions: if I’m to get into the university I want, I need to get approximately 5 As and 2 Bs in my Leaving Cert. This is a scary prospect, but I know that I’m capable of it if I work hard. I suppose the first step is to work out what you need to achieve.

So far I’ve looked at universities and know what grades I need, so I have a vague goal. Next, I intend to look at each individual subject and how I can improve upon it. I did this with Irish in particular throughout fifth year, and by taking it in small doses, improving a little at a time, I managed to go from a C- to a B+.

Think about what needs to be done and set yourself some realistic goals. I’ve made myself a little chart of how many hours studying I need to do. Now I just need to do it. Make sure you don’t set yourself up for defeat: just a little studying, half an hour at a time, can still make a world of difference. Don’t dive in at the deep end and get pulled down. It’ll only lead to you hating the subject. Just think of manageable ways you can do your best... your best, nobody else’s.

Perhaps there’s something you really struggled with last year. For me, it was maths and maybe a bit of biology. Now is the time to concentrate on that. There’s no homework, no deadlines, just you taking a relaxed approach at improving. I’m lucky enough to have an award-winning teacher for a dad, but if you haven’t got someone like that in the family, remember everyone else is on holiday, too. Is there someone in your class who’s good at what you find difficult? There’s no harm in asking them to give you a hand. You may not want to intrude, but trust me: give it a few weeks and they’ll be bored out of their tree, just waiting for something to do. I’ve found luring people in with baked goods generally helps.

Remember that sixth year is going to be a busy time, not just from the point of view of study. Any work you do now—whether it be an hour or a week—will help you along the way and stand you in good stead. Remember that studying doesn’t just mean staring at your books for an hour. Some things I like to do are watch french films and translate recipes. I’m even thinking of writing a song about Macbeth. Not sure how I’ll manage to make maths enjoyable yet... but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Find an interesting take on the subject and the rest should follow... above all, remember that every little helps!

Now, I’m off to remove all the sweet wrappers, and an old sandwich from my schoolbag... wish me luck!

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Published June 11th, 2013
Last updated October 19th, 2015
Tags school leaving cert
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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