The future is not as scary as it seems: what I wish I knew when I started Sixth Form

Head Student, Gemma S, explores what she wishes she knew when starting Sixth Form and how to cope with thoughts about the future that lies ahead.

With exams ending and students beginning to look towards the future, many of you may feel anxious or unsure of what comes next. Whether you have just finished year 7 and looking towards year 8, or whether you are in year 11 and potentially considering studying at Helsby High School’s Sixth Form, starting college, beginning an apprenticeship or you still have feelings of uncertainty about what lies ahead. Do not worry if you are unsure, as even in A-levels there are people trying to figure it out; it is a lot more common than you may expect. With the pandemic impacting the world as we know it the future may seem unsure for a lot of you, and it can be overwhelming for some, but I am here to reassure you that the future is not as scary as it sometimes seems.

We may not be able to control our future and its outcome, but we can choose what to do with it. When I was studying for my GCSEs, I had my heart set on studying fine art at university and back then I would not have considered any other options. Now, I am going to open days and looking at digital marketing degrees. My choice of Media Studies, Business and Fine art A-levels has led me to broaden my search to find degrees that combine the aspects I enjoy most from each of my subjects. This change does not mean my original goals and aspirations were wrong, it just shows how things can change as life goes on and you grow as a person.
No matter the outcome of the next few months, you still have your whole life ahead of you and it will not end after GCSE results day. In an ever fast-paced world, it is important to remember that you have so many opportunities ahead of you. You still have years to become the person that you want to be, even if you are unsure of what that means at the moment. Through meetings with the career advisors at Helsby High School, constant feedback from teachers and plenty of opportunities provided by Helsby High School, I have started to realise what is important to me and what I value within myself. The different career and learning opportunities provided have helped me expand my horizons and learn more about the different paths that lead off from GCSEs and Sixth Form.

Try to see life as an adventure rather than a burden. Obstacles are unavoidable in life, but it is the way you handle these obstacles that determines its outcome. Embrace these obstacles and create a life that you want to live, create a life that you are proud of. Taking part in things such as CEFS, the certificate of financial studies, offered at Helsby High School Sixth Form for business and economics students, or more physical activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh award can help you create the best version of yourself. As you progress through life you will look back and reminisce about times like this; you will look back and realise that the effort and time you put in during year 11, and the years prior to that, was worth it.

When I started Sixth Form at Helsby High School I was expecting something like year 11 just with fewer subjects involved, but when it comes to Sixth Form you are given a freedom that is greater than in year 11. Those who are self-driven and studious now have constant access to E6, our Sixth Form study room, whilst those who wish to socialise during the day have access to the Sixth Form E-café. Many of you know about the free periods you receive as a Sixth Former and these are what give you the freedom to spread out as a person. The way the Sixth Form is structured has given me the space to work when I want and do work that would originally be saved for home in year 11. Of course, you still must attend subject lessons, but these lessons are a joy to attend as you engage with teachers that are passionate about what they do making each lesson engaging and thought provoking.

When transitioning to year 12 a good rule of thumb is to do things as they happen. When finishing off a topic, learning and creating study notes helps lighten the burden further down the line when PPEs begin; trust me I know from experience. Whilst keeping an organised folder for each subject will help you keep track of what you are learning and find relevant material when needed. This rule of thumb also applies to extracurricular activities. Of course, this tip can apply to years 7 to 11 and is a good habit to get into. There are plenty of opportunities offered to you when you are in Sixth Form and taking advantage of these is the best thing you could do. The Sixth Form offers something for everyone. Keep an eye out when in school as there will be plenty of posters detailing different clubs that are available to you as a student, it is also a good idea to keep an eye on Helsby High School’s social media and website for future events.

I wish you all the best of luck on your GCSEs and the best of luck for the future that lies ahead. Remember that it’s good to plan for the future but it’s also good to live and bask in the present.

“Take life one step at a time, if you look too far ahead you might trip over your own feet.”
Gemma Smith is one of our Head Students who has just finished year 12 and is studying A-level Business Studies, Media Studies, Fine Art and AS-level CEFS at Sixth Form Helsby.