The Spring Term edition of our Newsletter can be accessed here:
We have worked for the past couple of years with a fantastic company called Live-n-Learn. The organisation “delivers programmes to build confidence, develop resilience and cultivate growth mindset”, we usually work with them as part of our Sixth Form Bridging event in the Summer term to aid transition to Post 16 study.
To assist in these unprecedented times the company have created some home learning resources that students and parents might find useful and engaging:
I finished my GCSE’s with some pretty good results (A’s, B’s and one C) and began sixth form on a high, studying biology, chemistry, English literature and (best of all) geography. Not unlike many, I stumbled with the transition into A Levels as workload and content really ramped up, and I was having a difficult time in my personal life as my mum was diagnosed with cancer during that summer. My grades fell from A’s and B’s to C’s, D’s and E’s. I even failed chemistry at AS Level, finishing with a strong U and thinking I wouldn’t get into university. At the end of my A Levels I just about crawled out with BDDU, not great, but stay with me.
I applied to study BSc Geography at the University of East Anglia as they are renowned for their environmental sciences and climatic research, and even with BDD, I got a place. To this day I’m not sure how I managed it, and despite A Levels really knocking my confidence in myself and my academic ability, I took this amazing opportunity and ran as fast as I could with it.
Despite failing chemistry at AS Level, I’m currently a part of real-world palaeoclimatology research for my undergraduate project, consisting almost entirely of biogeochemistry. I assisted in labs with mass spectrometry of 6,500 – 4,000-year-old shell samples, and the results I get will be some of the first telling us what the climate was like in southern Israel during mid-Holocene. Needless to say, I bounced back from A Levels and since my time at uni, so have my grades and motivation. I didn’t even have A Level maths, and I still studied oceanography and geophysics modules and achieved a 2:1 or above.
UEA has been an incredibly supportive and encouraging university, and the range of modules allowed me to tailor my course to suit my interests. I really enjoyed student life, particularly joining the UEA Women’s 5XI Hockey Team, being a part of such relevant and diverse environmental research and, of course, living in such a beautiful place. In my final year, I’m looking forward to narrowing my degree towards climatology after having spent my first and second years building a solid background in geology and geoscience, to graduate with a BSc Environmental Sciences degree, and hopefully go on to study a MSc.
I’m incredibly grateful to the geography department at KEVI who were so supportive and engaging, and are one of the reasons I decided to go into environmental sciences. I’ve also stayed good friends with those I met at KEVI, despite some of us going to university in different countries.
If there’s any advice I can give; don’t let a few results redefine what you make of yourself, or what you think you can or can’t achieve. Grades on paper don’t necessarily reflect your ability or what you can really bring to the table. Still apply to that dream course!
Imagine you could program yourself like a simple robot, with rules like, “when situation X occurs, do Y.” What rules would you choose to program yourself with to improve your life or the lives of those around you?
Interestingly enough, we can program ourselves in this way, and it’s not even that hard to do. As a simple example, you can program yourself so that when you FIRST ENTER YOUR KITCHEN IN THE MORNING, you always DRINK A TALL GLASS OF WATER. Or you can create a rule in your mind so that when you TAKE YOUR FIRST BITE OF EACH MEAL, you DEEPLY SAVOR IT to get more pleasure from your food.
These if-then plans are sometimes known as “implementation intentions” in the psychology literature (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implementation_intention) or TAPs (i.e., trigger action plans – a term used by the Center for Applied Rationality – see: https://www.rationality.org). Below, I share my own spin on this concept and describe how you can apply these if-then plans to make improvements in many different areas of your life, including health, learning, happiness, productivity, relationships, and rational thinking.
I’ll start with a quick, step-by-step guide to programming yourself, then list several of my favorite “self-programs.” Feel free to pick a few from the list to try yourself!
— Steps for Programming Yourself —
Step 1 – Choose
Choose a situation (S) and an action (A) that you’d like to take when you’re in that situation. For instance, the situation might be ARRIVING AT HOME AFTER WORK. The action might be PLACING YOUR KEYS IN A BOWL BY THE DOOR, so you always know where they are. See my list of self-programming examples down below for many more ideas.
Step 2 – Intend
Set an intention to perform that action (A) whenever you are in that situation (S). This means genuinely committing (to yourself) to take the action every time you encounter the situation. Note that there’s a subtle but critical difference between thinking about doing something and committing to doing it. You have to do the latter.
Step 3 – Associate
Now it’s time to create an association between the situation (S) and the action (A) so that when S occurs, A immediately pops into your mind. Basically, you’ll be mentally linking the two elements.
Here are a few strategies for creating this connection. The more of these strategies you use, the better. But they won’t all apply to all situations.
Strategies for linking the situation (S) and the action (A) in your mind:
• Create: If you can artificially create the situation, then do so repeatedly, following through with the action each time. For instance, if the situation is finishing brushing your teeth, and the action is flossing, practice holding your toothbrush to your mouth as though you just finished brushing, then putting down your toothbrush and immediately picking up the floss. Do this 20 times in a row to create the connection (A ⟶ S) in your brain.
• Imagine: If you are good at forming mental imagery, vividly visualize the situation occurring, followed by imagining yourself taking the desired action. Repeat this 20 times. If, in real life, you anticipate variations in how the situation plays out, modify your visualizations to include potential variations. That way, you don’t become trained on a too-narrow version of the situation.
• Write: Jot the if-then intention on a piece of paper, and leave it somewhere in your home where it is noticeable. When you get used to it being in that location to the point where you’re barely noticing it anymore, move it somewhere else in your home so that it stays fresh.
• Speak: repeat the phrase “whenever S occurs I’ll do A” 20 times (either aloud, or in your mind), replacing S and A with the corresponding situation and action.
• Review: make a list of all the if-then intentions you’re currently working to create in your mind, and review that list each morning, just after you wake up. Leave it on your bedside table or on your work desk so you can’t miss it.
• Motivate: make a list of the benefits (to yourself or others) of taking that action every time you are in that situation. This may increase your motivation to follow through with the plan.
• Involve: tell someone you trust that you plan to take that action whenever you are in that situation (ideally, someone who might be around when you are in that situation so that they can help remind you).
• Reflect: think about a time when you succeeded at making one of these if-then plans for yourself in the past. Take a minute to write about how you accomplished that. Now take another minute to write about how you could apply what you learned in that case to this new situation (this is the “Habit Reflection” technique: http://bit.ly/385cn5D). I think it’s more effective to actually do the writing, not merely thinking about what your answers would be.
Step 4. Act
Every time you find yourself remembering to take the action in a given situation, actually do it! In the beginning, try hard to do the action every single time the action occurs (without missing any), as this will help establish a robust link in your mind between the situation and action.
If you follow through consistently enough and keep it up for long enough, most likely, the action will eventually turn into a habit triggered by the situation.
But what rules is it actually useful to program yourself with?
Here’s my list of favorite “self-programs.” Some of these I’ve already installed as habits, others I’m still learning to associate with the trigger. Still others I merely aspire to one day have installed in my mind. Finally, hold value but don’t quite match my lifestyle, so I figure they are still worth including.
I’ve written each self-program in the form: Situation ⟶ Action
Meaning that you intend to perform the action every time the situation occurs.
— My Favorite Self-Programs —
* You enter the kitchen for the first time after waking ⟶ drink a tall glass of water
* You finish your first beverage in the morning ⟶ gently stretch a part of your body that has poor mobility or that is unreasonably tight for 1-2 minutes (e.g., It used to be my right shoulder, but, thanks to this habit, my decade-long shoulder problem is 90% resolved!)
* You close your eyes to try to fall asleep ⟶ breathe slowly and deeply, then gently focus your attention on your breath. Whenever you become distracted or find yourself thinking of something else, notice that it’s happened and gently refocus your attention back on your breath. Try to continue this until you’re asleep.
* You feel hungry before bed ⟶ eat carrots, nuts, or an apple (instead of junky snack food)
* You put down your toothbrush ⟶ floss or use a gum stimulator/rubber pick to clean between your teeth.
* Someone introduces you to an abstract idea that you don’t understand ⟶ ask if they could give you an example or if they could explain it using different words
* You learn something that surprises you ⟶ take a moment to consider what you previously believed about the subject (e.g., if your best friend does something that surprises you, ask them about the behavior, as it’s great opportunity to understand your friend better). Keep in mind that the sensation of surprise occurs when our perception of reality doesn’t match reality itself!
* You learn a new idea that seems worth remembering or have your own idea that seems worth remembering ⟶ jot down some notes about what you learned (ideally as simple flashcards), and be sure to review them at some point before you forget the idea (e.g., you can try out our beta tool at https://www.thoughtsaver.com to make this idea recording and reviewing process easier)
* You make a big mistake ⟶ take a few minutes to write about why you think the mistake happened (both immediate causes and deeper root causes), and what you can learn from it, to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. You can try out our “learning from mistakes” tool to make this process easier (see: http://bit.ly/3biQ3HN).
* Someone explains something complicated to you, and you’re not certain that you understand it ⟶ try to explain the idea back to the other person in your own words and see if they agree you understood it properly (e.g., “So are you saying that…”)
* You take your first bite of food at a meal ⟶ pay very close attention to the taste and texture, chewing slowly to deeply savor that first bite. We can get so much more pleasure from food if we direct our attention in the right way, upgrading meals from two-star to four-star, just by maintaining the right focus!
* You wake up in the morning ⟶ think about one thing you are looking forward to (it could be small, like your morning cup of tea, or large, like a big project you are launching in a month). This can help get you looking forward to the day.
* You lie down in bed for the night ⟶ think of one fond memory from your life. If you have trouble thinking of random fond memories, start with a random time frame (e.g., “last week”) or place (e.g., “the beach”) or activity (e.g., “sports”) and use that prompt to jog your memory.
* You leave your bedroom for the first time each morning ⟶ think of one thing you are grateful for.
* You finish checking social media ⟶ smile and think of something you think is good or something that makes you happy.
* You get a calf cramp ⟶ flex the toes on the corresponding foot towards your head (moving your heel away from you). This will often alleviate the cramp immediately (if that doesn’t work, drink a shot of juice from a pickle jar, which is, apparently, an effective alternative).
* You receive a nice compliment ⟶ write it down immediately so that you can get the benefit of experiencing it more than once. You can even keep a list of the best compliments you’ve ever received.
* You notice a sudden change in your emotional state (e.g., you start becoming anxious, sad, frustrated, or angry) ⟶ immediately give yourself the best quick explanation you can for why your emotions may have shifted. It’s often easier to figure out the cause if you ask this question immediately, compared to, for example, interpreting it 20 minutes later. I call this the “Inner Why” technique (you can learn more about it here: http://bit.ly/2uhJvc1)
* Someone starts a conversation with you ⟶ fully focus on what the person is saying, giving them your complete and genuine interested attention (see: http://bit.ly/2SIPzBx)
* Someone you just met tells you their name ⟶ focus on the name as they say it with the intention of remembering it, then repeat their name back (e.g., “nice to meet you Sam”). This can really help with remembering people’s names. Even better, use the Tacayo Technique if you really want to remember their name (see: http://bit.ly/2upNxPr)
* You think something positive about a person that you are confident they would feel good hearing ⟶ send it to them as a message or say it to them directly, if practical. As the adage goes, “thinking something nice about a person without saying it, is like wrapping a present and never giving it.”
* You see someone you really like (e.g., a close friend) ⟶ channel your warm feelings for them and radiate those positive feelings on your face, your body language, and with your words, so that the person viscerally experiences how much you like them.
* You’re irritable and become provoked by something minor that someone does ⟶ take a couple slow, deep breaths before saying anything (so that you are less likely to take your mood out on the other person).
* You notice you’ve been talking for a long while in a conversation ⟶ redirect focus to the other person so that they have the opportunity to talk. Most people prefer a balanced conversation, so if you talk more than 60% (which a lot of people do, unfortunately), becoming more self-aware and considerate will markedly improve your relationships. Admittedly, I sometimes make this mistake when I’m excited about a topic (you can learn more about this preference people have, from a study I ran, here: http://bit.ly/2HcH7pr).
* You see your partner or roommate for the first time since they/you left for work ⟶ greet them affectionally and ask about their day with a genuine interest and a high level of focus.
* Someone is telling you about something that happened to them ⟶ employ active listening skills by asking questions that help them clarify their thoughts and elaborate on interesting or important details. In addition to demonstrating your interest in their life, this helps them relive their experience in a useful or pleasurable way.
* Someone you are close to unknowingly does something that hurts
you⟶ bring it up. Explain how you felt as a result of their action, why you felt that way, and what you would prefer them to do next time. Try to phrase this information in a way that is not accusatory. Stick to facts about what happened and how the facts affected you. Avoid derailing the conversation with potentially disputable assumptions (you can learn more about how to do this well here: http://bit.ly/39pIWM9).
* You return home ⟶ put your keys, wallet, headphones, etc., in exactly the same place (so you can always find them).
* You’re about to finish a warm shower, and are feeling sleepy, yet you have a lot still to do. ⟶ turn the water to cold for the last 10 seconds to wake yourself and feel invigorated.
* You arrive at your work desk in the morning ⟶ put on headphones with energetic, non-distracting (e.g., acoustic) music to help get you motivated and in the zone.
* You read an email or message that would take less than 2 minutes to respond to ⟶ respond immediately, rather than procrastinating on the reply. This saves time because you won’t have to read or think about that message again, plus people generally prefer faster responses.
* You begin work for the day ⟶ write down the single most important thing for you to get done that day, which you hope to achieve even if you get nothing else done.
* You notice you are trying to convince yourself of something (e.g., “I’m too tired to go to the gym today” or “It would be too stressful to give that presentation”) ⟶ ask yourself instead “is this actually true? What’s evidence exists for and against this?” (try this tool to make this easier: http://bit.ly/31J4znR)
* You notice yourself thinking or saying, “I believe x” when a more accurate conclusion is crucial ⟶ ask yourself, “What percent chance would I actually assign to X being true?” (here’s a tool we helped make to help you practice this: http://bit.ly/39hq9lM).
* You’re making an important decision but you haven’t fully explored your options ⟶ force yourself to come up with at minimum a third option (or even better, apply our decision advisor tool: http://bit.ly/2yIjL96)
* You are learning about a politically or emotionally charged topic for the first time ⟶ seek out multiple sources of information from various perspectives, that are unlikely to have the same biases as each other. Otherwise, you may end up being heavily biased by whatever source you happen to read.
* You and another person strongly disagree about what’s going to happen in the near future ⟶ make a small bet with them. This forces you to consider how confident you are.
* You hear or read a weak argument in favor of a fairly popular view that you disagree with ⟶ try to come up with a stronger version of their argument (i.e., “Steel Man” the argument) so that you get a more nuanced perspective of both what’s wrong and what’s right about the view they are defending.
* You come across evidence for or against one of your beliefs and aren’t sure how much it should change your mind ⟶ ask yourself, “how many times more likely would I be to see this evidence if my belief was true compared to if my belief was false?” This number reflects the strength of the evidence, with 1 meaning the evidence is totally neutral (neither for or against the hypothesis), higher numbers (above 1) indicate more evidence, lower numbers (below 1) indicate less evidence (you can learn more about the proper way to interpret evidence here: http://bit.ly/38cN6GH)
Credit: Spencer Greenberg (8/2/20)
Spencer Greenberg is an American mathematician and entrepreneur.
I wonder if you could name all of the emotions you have felt these past couple of weeks. Any of these listed here….?
Confused. Rested. Disappointed. Glad. Scared. Relieved. Worried. Peaceful. Let down. Anxious. Rested. Robbed. Apathetic. Excited. Bored. Fine. Lonely. Happy. Numb. OK. Anger. Overwhelmed. Loss. Gratitude.
There will be many. Perhaps feelings you can’t even name. Feelings you haven’t felt before – or not as strongly as you have so recently done.
All of them are ok. All of them make you ‘normal.’ None of them make you crazy. None of them mean you are failing.
As most of us physically stay inside, it’s important, if you can, to let these emotions get out – to express them in ways that are safe, for you and for those around you.
Perhaps an honest, private conversation with someone you trust. Perhaps poured into a journal, or work of art, a poem or song.
Perhaps those strong emotions are stirred and released as you exercise.
Perhaps the heavy emotions can be given away as you pray, meditate and breathe deeply in times of rest.
Perhaps you might feel you need more than these ideas. In which case, don’t be alone. Below are some contacts who are ready and willing to hear from you.
*In crisis, text: YM to 85258 to access help from the charity Young Minds.
*To talk to someone, call Childline: 0800 1111 or Mind: 0300 123 3393
You are not alone.
I am still committed to talking with people online during Tuesdays of normal school hours. Please do contact me if you would like to meet in this way.
Check out @holdingtreasure on Instagram
The current COVID-19 pandemic has cased unprecedented change and upheaval for so many. As a school, we were expecting the announcement of school closures, in line with other country’s responses, what caught us all totally by surprise was the cancellation of the Summer exam series. The announcement on 18 March 2020 was unthinkable. So many questions about results, progression and what it all means… and we had no answers.
To us in Sixth Form that are so focused on supporting students, encouraging and nurturing talents, and celebrating accomplishments of all types we felt that the students were robbed of an end of term, denied the rite of passage that marked the end of their compulsory education. The cohort of 2020 have been through so much in their individual educational journeys; not least the first cohort to sit the fully reformed linear/numerical GCSEs. The team of Miss O’Neill and Fiona wanted to mark the occasion of the students’ last day in school in a very KEVI way.
In less than 24 hours, the Sixth Form along with the incredible Senior Students put together a touching and fitting tribute where the whole year group were present, supported and cheered on by staff as well. The super organised and efficient team pulled of an emotional montage charting their progress from Nursery (!) to the present and also managed to distribute Leavers’ Hoodies which they had already organised!
We don’t know what the future holds for the 2020 cohort, but working with them has been a pleasure. We are, at this moment in time, committed to honouring our Leavers Dinner formal celebration, but we await further guidance regarding this.
Below is a beautiful and touching tribute from Rosie, our Deputy Head Girl:
All Saints, Abbyfields, Goosehill, Pegswood,
We all started here and it was understood,
That we would journey through school and make it to the end,
Standing hand in hand, standing friend by friend.
By the end of today, a million tears will be shed,
And the thoughts of tomorrow will hang in our head,
So even though we don’t have each other’s friendly faces,
As the world changes quickly, paces and paces,
We have us.
Each other, and we will see each other soon,
Hopefully in the pub and not X1 or X2.
From charity football matches where head boy scored a goal,
For the people who parked their cars and had them reversed out by Noel.
I’m glad to say that of Cafe Six we have made the most,
Although we’ll no longer hear Alison or Lauren calling out our ‘toast’.
Our lanyards can stay off forever, and we’ll wear out coats inside,
Because in isolation, we’ve got somewhere to hide,
from Miss O’Neill, Ms Johnston and the rest of the motley crue,
Who boss around us lot, born 2001 and 2002,
We obviously appreciate you all, and your work doesn’t go unseen,
So I’m sorry we’re buggers for uniform, we are really really keen,
To make stompers part of Sixth Form wear, who knows why we try,
Because we’ll never be able to escape your scanning eagle eyes.
To the teachers, thank you very much for UCAS applications,
Who knew Boris would scrap exams and shock the entire nation,
But this is what we’re left with, two hundred and twenty crying teens,
Who knows if they’re mourning school or sad about quarantine?
What they’re really mourning is what we will love and lose,
What makes it even harder is we didn’t get to choose,
How we say goodbye to the 5 years we have known,
Where lessons, time and laughter have very quickly flown,
So here’s to all of us, on this sad and scary day,
We know we’ll miss each other very very much,
So hug each other as much as you can, and please please stay in touch.
Before the lock down and school closures an extremely dedicated and talented group of students pulled together the Spring Term edition of The Red and Back.
The newspaper is entirely student led and we are proud of our students from across the whole school for completing this.
*(3rivers log in required)
It would appear that while the UK is obsessed with buying toilet roll and dried pasta, as a young person you are likely to be concerned and anxious for very different reasons. There are still a number of unanswered questions…
What we can’t do is answer all of your questions right away; we want to make sure our communication with you is calm and purposeful. Now that it is clear you will not be back is school as a Year 11 student, we can help you prepare for your transition to Post 16 study as best we can, in the current situation.
Students in Sixth Form at King Edward’s are curious, motivated and independent learners and as such, your Year Leader has put together some initial guidance on how to prepare for the transition to Year 12. We will be in touch shortly with subject specific work and in due course we will provide further information regarding applications and enrolment.
In the meantime, Stay safe, Stay well, Stay home.
To give you a bit of background on me, I left KEVI in 2018 after completing my A Levels and joined the Big 4 Accountancy firm EY in September 2018. I joined as a ‘school leaver’ on their Business Apprenticeship programme. I work in private client services within the financial services sector. I’ve been at EY for about a year and a half now but it has absolutely flown by.
EY is an international accountancy firm. I have included some stats below to help you appreciate the scale of EY’s operations.
- In the financial year ending 30 June 2019 we had global revenues of US$36.4bn
- We employ over 280,000 people
- We work in over 150 different countries
My typical day…
It’s hard to tell you what a ‘normal’ day is like for me as every day is so very different. My job requires a lot of prioritisation – I feel like I’m constantly swapping things round in my calendar. Most days I like to get to the office at 7am and I’ll typically leave at 3/4pm, however at especially busy times I’ll be there until much later. I’m very lucky I have the ability to do this as EY operates a flexible working policy and if I ever need to work from home or fancy a lie in, I can adapt my work to fit my lifestyle.
The work I do…
Within the team I work on, we have about 1,100 clients and our job is to provide tax compliance with some ad-hoc advisory services to them. A large part of my role is concerned with ensuring our clients are tax compliant in all jurisdictions relevant to them. As a result, my role is largely client facing. I spend a lot of my day communicating with clients by email and by phone. The clients we work with are all high net worth individuals with fairly complex tax affairs. A lot of the clients I personally work with are expatriates/non-domiciled individuals with cross border tax affairs – hurts my brain thinking about them but I do enjoy a technical challenge.
Aside from the actual work I do, another large part of my job over the next few years is exams. I’ve never been fan of exams but at EY there is lots of support put in place which makes them very manageable. In 2019, I sat and passed my first 6 exams but there are plenty more to sit before I reach my goal of becoming a Chartered Tax Advisor.
The best part about my job…
I like what I do, the people I work with and experience a lot of variety and challenge. I also feel that I have been granted a lot of freedom over how I spend my time which best suits how I like to work. I feel very valued at work, since joining I’ve been awarded two impact awards and I got progressed after just one year of being here. If you’re willing to do the work and go the extra mile, it will get recognised.
Opportunities are endless at EY. Here’s a couple of things that I’ve done in addition to my day job:
- Last year I was given the opportunity to work on our US team for a few months who manage the tax reporting for hedge funds and private equity firms. This was very different to the work I’m used but it was a great opportunity to increase my international tax knowledge and see a different side to tax.
- EY launched a new app called Tax Chat which you may have seen advertised. I did some work on the initial testing of the app when it was being developed.
- I also like get involved in student recruitment as often as I can.
The worst part about my job…
- The volume of emails! I can’t remember the last time I left the office on a Friday with 0 unread emails but it’s something I’ve got to live with. I’m sure EY won’t go under if it takes me a week to respond to an email.
My top 3 tips…
- Tomorrow is another day – it’s amazing how many things are easier the following morning when you approach them with fresh eyes and after a bit of reflection.
- It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer – the more important thing is having a process for finding it out.
- Embrace new challenges – the most positive experiences I’ve had since joining EY have come from trying something new. Looking at the transformation our business, and many others, have to go through in the next few years it’s more important than ever to be able to be flexible in how you apply your skills.
Opportunities at EY…
Please see the link that follows for more information regarding the opportunities currently available and the programmes we offer to students at EY https://www.ey.com/en_uk/careers/how-to-join-us
The Parents’ Guide to provides advice and information for parents with teenage children on topics such as university, apprenticeships, post 16 and post 18 options and revision. To help support parents during the coronavirus outbreak, they’ve written The Parents’ Guide to coping with school closures, a completely free online guide for parents of teens, explaining how they can protect their family’s health and wellbeing (mental and physical), help their children study at home and cope with the added stresses and anxieties the current situation brings.