July’s youth page.

Exams and red shoes?

It’s that time of year…..

Lucy and Millie look at two important stages – exams, and what comes after………

Exam season.

That time of year most of us dread, schools have been building up to it for months and by the time you get there it can all feel quite overwhelming. Often, after months of build-up, it can feel like your entire life is leading to these exams and that they are the most important thing that will ever happen to you but it is important to remember that this is not the case.

During exam season keep yourself healthy and take regular breaks to avoid over working.

Eat well. Make sure you eat a balanced diet.

Take regular breaks. Have a walk around, a drink, listen to some music.

Drink plenty of water. Make sure to keep hydrated.

Don’t let yourself get too stressed. If you feel yourself begin to panic, take a break.

Make sure you get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for concentration. Revision and exams will seem much more difficult if you are sleep deprived.

Remember that there are plenty of people that can support you.

Afterwards.

Even if exams do not go the way you were hoping, it is not the end of the world. In the words of a famous explorer “Failure? It’s just a stage on the way to success”. This applies to exams as well as many other things in life, there is not one path to any goal. Exams can be re-taken if you do not get the grade you were hoping. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen?

As daunting as finding another path to your goals can seem, there are often beneficial experiences. Maybe you will discover another job you didn’t know existed but that grabs your interest, maybe you will get an opportunity that you wouldn’t have had, maybe you’ll meet someone that will change your life.

Lucy Braund.

*******

Homesickness.

They say what you don’t know can’t hurt you. As anyone who has been affected by flash floods, insect bites or poorly signposted rifts in the space time continuum, what you don’t know certainly CAN hurt you. In fact, it tends to be what hurts the most. If you don’t know it’s there, how can you possibly protect against it?

The same can be said for the wonderful world outside. It’s a big unlabelled jar at the back of the cupboard – what awaits you could be the finest brandy, or last year’s turkey drippings. Until you unscrew that lid, you just don’t know.

The siren song of surrounding areas can pull even the most hardened home bird away from their nest. University-wise, we are lucky, in that there are plenty of good ones within commuting distance but even those further afield like Cardiff are only a few miles away as the crow flies. (Crows are notoriously selfish creatures however, and more likely to drop you in the Bristol channel than fly you across it, no matter how politely you ask. Nine times out of ten, you’re better off just taking the train). These uni’s may require you to move away, but it’s easy enough to pop back for a visit.

If you look hard enough in your new surroundings, there are always home-style comforts. Cardiff, for example, also has multiple parks, a bay, and a very very large river, much like our prize town. Bute park, in particular,is an instant case of DejaVu, as ferns and ancient oaks claw at the sky with the same religious fervour as they do on the Tarka trail and for a moment, one little moment, you can trick yourself into believing you are home. Friends and family are harder to replace. Your best friend, Deloris, may well have a dopple ganger you knew nothing about, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for Deloris 2.0, but chances are, you’ll just have to wait until you come home to see her again.

And that’s the joy of Bideford. It’s always there, watching, waiting your return. The cord is not severed, merely stretched. Over the summer holidays, these bungee cords, safety ropes, family ties, reach maximum tension until finally hordes of students can pull away no further and ricochet back to their home town. It doesn’t matter how beguiling the bugle of non- Bidefuddlian climes, the familiar toot of the town band soon drowns them all out again.

And the band will be out in force this summer. With the water festival on the 22nd and the Bideford open air cinema in August there are plenty of communal celebrations.

Dorothy didn’t know much, as she bumbled from one hostile locale to another, and everything in Oz tried to hurt her for it (even the trees.) But old Dopey Dorothy was on to something; there really is no place like home. So this summer, click your best red high heels together, and come ricocheting back. It’s a summer you don’t want to miss.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara.

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