Even though in just a few months’ time I will hopefully be driving, I felt like a Year 7 all over again when I found myself standing at the bus stop on the 4th of September. I was new coming into Year 12. Heathfield meant a new start for me and as I didn’t know anyone at the college my stomach was turning in on itself a thousand times per second. I was nervous but not as scared as I thought I would be; I think I was more excited to start talking to new people more than anything else. Now, for most of you, Heathfield Community College is not that big of a school, but for me, coming from a year group of around 45 people, it was massive and slightly daunting.
I wanted to write this piece to tell you what it is like to be new at Heathfield. I have to say when I was writing this on my laptop (amongst the piles of books and sheets that A levels bestow you with) it took me a while to decide what to write. People always asked me ‘Why Heathfield?’ I never really knew how to answer them. When I looked round last year at the open evening I just had a gut feeling saying that this was the place for me.
Everyone I have spoken to has been very welcoming and really friendly and the teachers have been very helpful. They have really helped the big transition between GCSE and A Level to run smoothly. The amount of work has increased immensely since Year 11 but I was half expecting that because I knew A Levels were going to be a big push. Sixth Form already is very different to being in lower school but I’m already enjoying it, there’s a lot more freedom and Heathfield gives students so many opportunities to widen their horizons.
I am one of many new students in my year and for that I am slightly grateful as they are in the same situation as me. My advice to other new students is that it gets better each day and settling in and feeling comfortable around a new environment takes time. You can’t expect things to be like your old school straight away. Heathfield has a massive range of people so there is bound to be someone you’ll get on with. Just take me as an example, I knew absolutely no one but now I feel quite settled and happy as I have found a lovely group of people who have ‘taken me under their wing’. Although it’s going to be tough two years I have a feeling they are going to be great fun too.
By Alex Fowler, year 12
Sixth Form: A guide to survival
So everyone has been back at Sixth Form for a whole term, still a little bleary eyed and yawning, but mostly adjusting slowly. There are a number of new students joining the sixth form college this year, particularly new year 12s, so the time seems ripe for a survival guide.
First things first. Introduce yourself to people and make friends. Sixth form is a place to be independent, but you need friends there to have fun and support you if you feel a little stressed.
TIME management. Make time for your schoolwork. It’s so important that your work isn’t neglected, because this is what is going to get you the grades you need for further study or employment. But don’t forget to have a social life too; you’re only going to get bogged down and overtired if you study non-stop.
Independence. In sixth form, things are different to lower school. One of the things that is different is the fact that you can’t do everything your friends are doing, because the subjects you’ve chosen are specific to YOU, not them. If they want to study, let them. You can go too, but don’t be a distraction – do some studying yourself.
Important relationships. It’s really good to get on with your teachers. The teachers tend to behave differently in sixth form because you are a young adult now, as opposed to a child, and you’re in a class full of students who’ve chosen the subject because they love it. I’m not telling you to suck up to them, but there’s nothing worse than having a teacher that you reeeaally don’t get on with at all: you have them for two years every day, so it pays to be nice.
Society. In the sixth form we do a lot of things for charity and fundraising. When the rest of the school have a non-uniform day, sixth formers don fancy dress and walk around with buckets for donations. We raised a lot of money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, Cancer Research, and many other charities last year. Also, in year 13 we have a ball at Barnsgate Manor, and we have to raise the money for this. We usually have a prom committee, but the whole of sixth form should get involved. We work as a team and quite collectively raise a lot of money as well as awareness for good causes, so be prepared to jump on the band wagon pretty quickly.
Role models. As young adults we represent the rest of the school, and we should take care in doing this. Just be nice and approachable, because being stand-offish isn’t going to get you anywhere.
In conclusion, Sixth Form isn’t that difficult if you play the game right. Just make sure you get your work done on time, because college can flip from hunky-dory to quite a mess in a short time if you let your work go. Remember, it’s your life, and other people aren’t going to take responsibility for your mistakes. It should be fun, and if you try and make it that way, it will be.
By Mirran Harper, year 13