Hey, freshers! This is how you should be dealing with A1 in order to make A2 slightly better than its meant to be. In other words, here are some things I wish I had half the mind to do last year.
- Know the basics.
A Level is a two year programme. You must pick at least three subjects, and at most six. (Hint: four is most manageable. Trust me. I speak from experience.) If you’re studying all sciences, have at least one essay-based subjects so you don’t completely lose coherency by the end of these two years. These range from English literature, to world history, sociology and politics.
- Do! Your! Readings!
Listen. You need to study whether you’ve got three subjects or five (we’re looking at you, Rafay) if you don’t want to be reduced to a puddle of tears (again, Rafay!) when your teacher asks you what Twelfth Night is really about.
Look up your science-y stuff. Read your literature books. Find good references for your sociology papers. Trust me, you need this if you want to be able to slack off on the weekends.
- Pick an activity.
Hey, this one’s fun. After-school music classes. Debate camp. Drama club. Sports! The possibilities are endless — but, unfortunately, your time isn’t. Pick one thing you really, truly love. Something that enriches you. And hey, don’t just do it to have something to show in your Common App activity list (although that’s super important too) — do it to learn. Make something amazing out of it.
- Find friends…
Or let them find you. The best thing about this college is one of the many things that makes it stand out: the students. When we call it a mixed batch, it’s because we have one of everything: Musicians, debaters, aesthetic artists, loud activists, fangirls and boys, K-pop stans — we offer true diversity of opinion. And we love it. You’re sure to find a good friend (or two, or ten!) that’ll stick by you not only till you come and collect your A Level results, but quite literally till the end of forever.
- Pick subjects you love.
Listen, we all know family pressure is (always!) intense. But even if your keepers want you to study pure sciences and math, take a step back and review your decision. Do you love what you’re studying? Will you be able to do well? If the answer to either one of these is no — rethink. Use orientation week wisely. I know you’re probably only seventeen, but this is your life we’re talking about. Really think it through. No pressure.
- Make lists!
As daunting the thought is, you’ll be applying to universities next year, and trust me when I say there’s not a lot of time left. You need to be ready for whatever may come. So do your research: pick universities you’d like to apply to, check if your desired courses have requirements, and make sure you’re meeting them. List down all your co-curiccular activities as you do them so you’re not totally blank when you sit down to work on your college applications (haha, me).
- Take the SAT.
Listen. Very. Carefully. This is super important. Take the SAT in A1. Honestly. Cannot be stressed enough. You’ll be way too busy in A2, and you need to take the SAT to apply to the US — and to LUMS. This way you’ll have more time for a retake if you don’t get your desired score.
- Take care of yourself!
This is a no-brainer, but the reason it’s on this listicle is because. So. Many. Students. Forget. To do this. Make sure you’re hydrated. Use sunscreen! Get at least six hours of sleep. You need it. Don’t neglect your mental health either: visit the college counsellor whenever you need to, confidentiality ensured. And don’t forget to eat your greens!
And most importantly:
- Be. Very. Careful. In. The playground. Trust me. All kinds of balls will come flying at you: the foot kind and the basket kind and the table kind. They will fly at you and likely hit you in the face. To avoid concussions and to ensure your brand new iPhone X can still recognise your face, stay very, very vigilant.
by Vaneeza Jawad
Editor in Chief