May finished Russian school last year and has now completed her A-level Biology, Maths, Further Maths and English Literature. A passionate writer and poet, Maya is looking forward to going to the United States to study Media and Digital Design after having completed her education at Algorithm A*.

My favourite subject is English Literature, as I really enjoy creative writing and reading. I just really like reading for some reason; I might be crazy, but then, we all are. The books I read most are probably science fiction and fantasy. Magical worlds and anything to extrapolate myself from the real world. My favourite book series is by Douglas Adams – the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I love his language and his humour. It’s the series I enjoy the most, and I read it when I’m feeling down.

What is your favourite thing about Algorithm A*?

I really like that the teachers treat me like an adult. Last year I studied at a British school in Brighton and I didn’t always feel like my opinions were appreciated. However, at Algorithm A* the teachers always pay attention to what I’m saying and always take it into account, whether it’s right or wrong.

How did you end up in Brighton?

I always dreamt of studying abroad. I thought about going to England, mostly because of the climate; I love when it rains and when it is misty. I just wanted an education from another country.

How did you find the experience?

Being away from my family and everyone I knew for a year was a difficult experience but it was really interesting being part of a whole new culture. It was definitely rewarding. The biggest culture difference, I guess, is that in Russia, everyone is really involved in your life, even people you don’t know. In England, it’s very different, it’s very polite, it’s very pleasant, but it felt a little cold.

May intends to continue her studies in the United States, and last year applied to several US universities. 

I have accepted an offer from Fordham University in New York for Media and Digital Design. I applied to several universities, for example, I also applied to Emerson College, New York University, Boston University. I chose Fordham because the location is absolutely great, it’s right in Manhattan, and because of the subjects. I like media in almost all of its forms, and I’m really excited to be studying it. It will help me incorporate my writing into my studies at university. New media is really exciting, and the job market is going to be really interesting, so I hope a Media major will give me the advantage I need.

How difficult did you find the US application process?

It wasn’t that complicated. I had to collect some documents but the international department’s head helped me. They use a specialized website, like UCAS in England. The essay questions were diverse. I personally took one that talked about a talent or an identity that the student feels isn’t fully expressed through the common application, and I spoke about my creative writing. I interviewed with one of the universities, and it was arranged here in Moscow, because they had an alumnus here.

Why did you choose America?

I didn’t know what majors I would be applying to at the beginning of this year, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to chose by the deadline. In England you have to apply for one major, and in America you apply to a university and then choose your major. I only looked at the East Coast, I’ve been dreaming of studying in Boston or in New York for three years now, ever since I first came to America and saw everything.

What kind of career do you think you are likely to enter after you finish university?

I’d like to do something with writing, possibly something with mass media or advertising.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Oh boy, I don’t even see myself at lunch today, so I’m really not sure! But I’m hoping to have published at least one or two poetry books, and beyond that, there is really no telling.

What do you like to do in your spare time, other than reading and writing?

Other than that, I like to sing sometimes. I have been taking singing lessons for 5 years, but it’s really informal singing. I also have two brothers, and we hang out quite a lot. I also like playing guitar, and, when I’m not home with a broken leg, I love archery. Other than that, I ski quite well, so my family and I sometimes go skiing. I took rock climbing for some time, in Brighton, but I couldn’t find the opportunity to do so in Moscow. I also do horse riding!

What inspires you in your writing?

Mostly, I’m inspired by my imagination, TV shows or other forms of art. Any form of art; just give it to me and I will write a poem about it. I just love art in general. I also enjoy writing about love, Just love in general, whatever it might be, friendship, love for humanity, romantic love, all of it inspires me. It’s such a great force, it’s so amazing and so elusive that I want to write about it all the time.

What did you think set you apart in your application, what sold you to universities?

Really high test scores and taking part in some Russian competitions. I have been a winner of the Literature competition in Moscow for two consecutive years and I have won a competition in English Language in Moscow and went to the Russian state competition.

What’s your biggest strength? 

I guess it’s that I care. I always care about everything I do. I care about the people I meet, the things I do, the things going on around me. I am very emotionally involved.

Biggest weakness

The same thing! I get too emotionally involved sometimes.


How to study best by Mayya M.

Organisation of study process along the way as well as specifically in last-minute revision is vital for successfully passing your exams. Mostly the teachers help out with that by giving helpful homework assignments and providing students with revision materials, but there are a couple of tricks that anyone can do to ensure good grades in exams.

First of all, it is important to revise everything that was done in the lesson at home. Many people say that you have to read something three times in order to remember it well, and I find it helpful to apply a strategy of three times: first I hear it in a lesson, then I revise it the next day and after that I read it right before the next lesson. This strategy helps me remember almost everything discussed during the lesson and build up on that in order to have a full understanding of the material that will be in the exam.

Second of all, what many students don’t take into account is that it is not enough to merely remember the material, to get a good grade you have to understand it and be able to apply it. Remembering might get you a C, but only understanding the material and being able to apply it in different ways, not all of which can be discussed in the classroom, is key to getting an A. Here organisation of study process differs for everyone; I, personally, find it helpful to go through Crash Course videos and build diagrams for the topics I find challenging. Of course, talking to your teachers also helps greatly.

Finally, the study process is always best when you feel comfortable. This is why the advice “take care of yourself” is absolutely applicable here. Whether it’s about staying hydrated and happy, studying to music or revising difficult topics in study groups with friends, it is important to do what makes you happy, relaxed and eager to learn. It often helps to organise your study process in a way that allows you to take a 10-minute break every now and then to stretch and eat a snack. And, of course, studying at a café with friends around not only improves your understanding of the material, but also provides you with different unique perspectives that you might use in the exam.

So stay on top of your studying and exam preparation, everyone! I wish you all the luck in the world!

Mayya’s Poems

Entranced by gentle glow of the light,
I let myself be led to summer glory.

Relapse means I might never be alright,
But with a breath I start another story
Of anything and everything at once,
Whilst keeping secrets from my self-perception.
And as I cry, the nightmares start to dance
And chant as every single recollection
Is written off as side of medication,
And stars start screaming out, shining in
to bedroom’s window, and the incantations
illuminated, light the more serene
the more it is the only starts’ salvation
that’s brought upon them in the death of still
and universal hum: they burn away
while their silent screams just plead to stay.

Ahoy, my fair warrior, behold,
My lady, sign of full compassion.
And thus I name thee queen, now not cold,
but merciless, the dame of my confessions.
My love, my queen, allow me a kiss
Before my soul fails to exist,
Before the universe my screams will cease
To hear let me go in bliss.
My love, my queen, allow thy fair knight
A kiss of love, thy bliss and death in fight.


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