Bright Heart tutor Nikita’s inspirational story and the challenges she overcame from low attainment to excellence! An engaging and motivational story for all school students out there who question their ability and their future.
We were grateful for a sharing from one of our own tutors, Nikita. She shares her journey to excellence, overcoming significant obstacles and a challenging environment. We recommend to watch her You Tube video first, which is a gripping story. This was hosted by Bright Heart’s John Salmon.
Nikita summarised the key steps of her journey further below. There are also important and insightful tips for students who doubt themselves and who are looking to prepare for their exams, be it GCSE or A Level. She has called her written summary “The Power of Resilience”.
Some students come from broken families, and I happened to be one of them. Dealing with the trauma and neglect made me feel secluded and isolated from my peers. I often struggled to maintain friendships and hardly spoke. Accepting who you are will set you free from the barriers you place on your mind. I have learnt that the opinions of others should not have a bearing on your confidence as opinions are not facts, so you should take them in and let them go. After all the struggles I faced in my education journey, I would like to share things I have learned.
The school system has come a long way to understanding mental health and learning difficulties. These were two things that affected me significantly throughout my life. Understanding my differences and learning to control my emotions helped me stay focused. I was in lower sets throughout primary and secondary school, which knocked my confidence. Teachers tended not to turn up, and we had supply teachers most of the time. As a result, the students in my class were not motivated and would mess around, whereas I would use this time to learn from textbooks and catch up on school work. After a while, I figured out creative ways to understand maths and science topics. I teach these analogies to my students, and they are always amazed by the effectiveness of retaining information. Therefore, you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to teach yourself concepts differently as long as they work for you.
Praise is often something we forget to do over little achievements, whereas we tend to fixate on minor mistakes for a long time. So it is vital to give yourself praise for everything you do correctly, as small as it may seem. It will help your mind focus on positive things about yourself and not be too hard when you don’t get it right. It is about learning from your mistakes, and if you didn’t make any, then learning would be pointless. Find someone or something that inspires you and ensure you can think about this in times of self-doubt. For example, I loved cars growing up and kept photos of my favourite car to remind myself why I invested my time in getting good grades.
One of my greatest strengths in succeeding in education was being optimistic about my potential and believing that I could reach any goal I set my mind to. Learning is like running a marathon; everyone will get to the finish line but in their own time. Being surrounded by negative influences can be challenging, and it is easy to follow the crowd. I was determined to be somebody from a young age, although it was not clear that I would have those options available. I was placed into a box with a lid and told multiple times that I would not obtain a higher education or leave school with 5 GCSEs. If I had let the opinions of my peers and teachers dictate my potential, I would not be where I am today.
Knowing how to revise effectively is necessary to prevent procrastination and self-doubt. There is nothing worse than spending hours on end studying for an exam only to find out you failed or get lower than expected. Time is precious, and you need to obtain a work-life balance; otherwise, you risk jeopardising your wellbeing. One of the ways to enhance revision is to ensure you schedule productive time for it regularly in a place where you work best—working on areas of weakness identified by teachers or on assessments. Use useful revision sites such as Quizlet or Bitesize to break down concepts and test knowledge. I found that utilising the weekends was very effective as you are fresh and have more hours to fit in revision.
Ensuring you do plenty of exam papers before a test is a key to achieving high results. In addition, you need to know what the examiners require and how to answer questions to gain full marks. Knowing the examiners’ criteria can be found in the subject exam board specification, for example, this link for Biology. Finding practice exam papers can be found online, and some websites keep a huge past paper bank of questions, such as Maths Made Easy. The key after this is to practice, practice and more practice.
One essential aspect of getting an education is understanding the point of it. You are investing in your future to seek the rewards of hard work. On average, students spend up until the age of 18-22 studying to enrich their life until retirement. Education will give you new ways of thinking about situations and making better decisions. It was not about getting a piece of paper with top grades but the skills I learned during my education. I put hundreds of hours into studying outside school to get to the same level as my peers.
Looking back on my battles with getting an education, I would like to share some tips and life lessons I learnt along the way. Sometimes, fear of the unknown can overpower the mind and create an illusion that something you want to achieve is impossible. However, embrace the unknown and work towards your goals because you will appreciate it in the end. Celebrate the small successes and realise that you will fail more than you will succeed, but success will always be way more remarkable than all the failures put together. Let others see your success, and let your failures be your personal learning experience. Finally, don’t be afraid to take risks; you risk everything every day and are rejected more in your life than accepted, so don’t let that deter you. Always see how far you’ve come and not how far there is to go.
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