Esma Akkilic – A student’s view on the challenges of being a youth and going for it

The increasing competition for school spaces, the soaring of university tuition fees and the growing need for high qualifications to be employable is truly building the pressure on me and my peers. I'm eighteen years old, and I for one know that it's far from easy. Finding the balance between work and play is key, and once you have a clear vision of your goal in your mind, who is to stop you from achieving ultimate success?

Coming from a working class background, I've always been aware that things are not simply handed to you. Undoubtedly though, a mixture of discipline, consistency and motivation will always amount to a success story. I attended an all-girls comprehensive in the centre of London and at times struggled to focus. The existence of infinite distractions and the nature of being in a financially challenged institution paved the way for many battles that I would need to overcome!

Throughout my GCSEs, I recall having a lot of fun! When choosing my subjects in year nine, I was driven towards a certain goal and picked them accordingly. I wanted to study Politics at university (which I will, in September, be doing!) and so went for the humanities and social science subjects. During year ten, it's safe to say that I found it hard to apply a good technique to approaching my work. The jump to GCSEs did startle me a little and it wasn't until year eleven that I really adapted and fully focused. By this point, I had also started taking tuition at Excel in Key Subjects in Maths, English and Science. Through this I gained a much clearer perspective on how to divide up my time, and to not leave things till the last minute! It was also an enormous reality check as to how much I'd missed out by allowing myself to be lazy in year ten.

After receiving fairly disappointing results in my mocks, I began to question where I was, and where I hoped to be. Although it made me sad and unhopeful at the time, it gave me the wake-up call I needed. For the first time, I started to draw up revision timetables and actually listened to teachers when they gave me advice. I discovered a new found enthusiasm as I was filling out my sixth form applications and was excited about going on to concentrate on just four of my favourite subjects.

Allocating time was also crucial. For example - I attended Excel on Saturday mornings, I would then give myself a two hour break in the afternoon when I came home, before going back to revising for two or three hours, and eventually allowing myself the rest of the night off! I can honestly say that time management was probably the deciding factor in my grades going up the way they did!

I am a true believer that everything is in the mind. If you can dedicate yourself to your work, you will create your own opportunities and excel in ways you never thought were possible! It doesn't matter which school you're at, or what other people say you are capable of... You can break all barriers through sheer hard work!

Esma joined us when she was in Y11. She is extremely proud of her achievements, especially in Maths, from which she improved from a D grade to an A*. Visit our website to see her video. You can also click here for Esma's case study. Esma is now a mini-celebrity, after featuring in the Eurovision Song Contest. You can Google her name and you'll see her dancing on the stage on the BBC!