a girl wearing pink hoodie and a boy wearing red shirt in front of her are busy looking at their phones while sitting inside the campus

Coping with the transition into year 13

3 min read
16 September 2021

Soon I will be starting year 13. For me this is a big step, but also quite a scary one. I’ve always loved school - it’s been my safe place. I’ve had support there and I’ve been able to use my schoolwork as a distraction for when my anxious thoughts take over. It’s always been a constant, which I know is very reassuring for a lot of people.

However, this year will be my last year in this kind of environment. At times all I can think about is exams and how stressed out I get knowing I have to sit them. Due to Covid, I never sat my GCSEs, and I was always so grateful for that, but now it’s looking like I will be sitting my A-levels and that can be quite daunting at times. So, I decided that I needed to do something to ease my very noisy mind and help prepare myself- and hopefully now you!

Breathe

I actually forgot to do that writing this first paragraph, so look - it is helping one of us already. Remind yourself how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are now. You have survived every day so far and you will survive this too.

Remind yourself how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are now. You have survived every day so far and you will survive this too.

Set yourself some goals

Whether they be big goals or just little ones, always have an objective. It’s hard to keep yourself moving when you don’t know where you want to go, so even if your current goal is to get through your first day back, walk in knowing you’re exactly where you’re meant to be, and you have absolutely smashed it.

Be flexible

Things change, you change. As you learn and you grow you might find yourself changing your mind about some things, especially if you’re thinking about what you want to do after sixth form. That’s okay! Try to keep yourself grounded and adapt your goals where necessary.

Things change, you change. As you learn and you grow you might find yourself changing your mind about some things.

Prioritise

Yes - divide up your workload, make sure that you stay focused and work hard, but always remember to prioritise yourself. It’s true what they say, you can’t pour from an empty glass. Your wellbeing should always come before school and that is a very healthy attitude to have.

Try to enjoy it

Enjoy the jokes in the classroom, the breaktimes with your friends. Enjoy finding a topic that interests you, and find your passion for what you want to do next, whatever that may be.

Find your passion for what you want to do next, whatever that may be.

School should always be a safe space for students, so if something is bothering you, speak up. Don’t forget that exams don’t decide your value, you do. Good luck going back, you’ll be great.

More information and advice

Where to get help

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Samaritans

    Whatever you're going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support.

    Opening times:
    24/7

Thanks for sharing your story Kerry, 17

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