Hello, it’s me.
Thought I was kidding about the all-encompassing nature of school? I wasn’t.
For the past 22 days, my life has been an utterly overwhelming myriad of tests, papers, highlighters etc. Except this year it’s different. There’s something ominous, something unfamiliar waiting at the end: GCSEs. It’s funny – I’ve heard this world practically since I started school, and it meant nothing to me. But now when I think about it, I get a funny little feeling in my chest that won’t go away – it feels heavy, but light – definitely there, but not exactly real. It’s whatever.
Anyway, as the days and weeks and months until May draw closer, I constantly feel like I’m running out of time. You know, that agonising feeling when you feel like you should’ve done something earlier, way earlier – but you haven’t and now there’s no time? I’m constantly regretting not doing more work over summer (instead of actually enjoying myself) – and now I’m just playing catch up. The question is: how long will I have to catch up for? Until the end of GCSEs? Until the end of A-Levels? University and beyond, even? Some many questions, yet so little answers.
Of course, I’m the type of person who people might say puts ‘undue pressure’ on themselves – but I don’t know how else to be. Since always, I’ve felt this compulsion to be perfect – and although I’m getting better at accepting my flaws, it’s hard to admit that I don’t ‘get 100% on every test’ (according to popular opinion). I don’t know if I’ve said this before – but I have added pressure to get perfect grades, not just from myself.
The hot topic on everyone’s minds in sixth form: whether you’re staying, or whether you’re staying. The general consensus of my year is to leave (after all, one can only stand all-girls for so long) – and 75% of people have their eyes set on one school (the boys’ school: typical, I know). After careful consideration of my options, I have decided that I too want to go to this school. And I knew that it wouldn’t be easy – but seeing how many people from my school along want to go there makes me feel like there’s no use trying.
What I want most of all is change. Of course, moving schools was one of the most traumatic and terrifying experiences of my life – but in some way, I believe that it’s made me better as a person. For example, I no longer struggle to start a conversation with a random person in class – and I think that’s a valuable thing. There’s some part of me that thinks that changing schools for sixth form might not be so bad, especially as I know the things I do now (plus, I would probably know like 80% of the people there). But the school, as everything good in life does, comes with some conditions.
I’ve pretty much decided that I want to do 4 A-levels (*collective gasp*). Controversial, I know. You may think I’m crazy – but genuinely think it’s what would make me happy the most. Due to the government’s (stupid) reforms, modular A-levels (i.e. AS and A2) are bye-bye and linear A-levels are back in. This basically means that any subject you take in Year 12, you have to take in Year 13 also (instead of dropping one subject) – meaning most schools now only let you take 3 A-levels.
The subjects that I want to take at A-level are Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French. I find science fascinating, and it’s definitely something that I want to pursue after school (and Maths kinda comes along with that). However, I also have a passion for French – and languages in general. I literally love everything about it: the language, the sound of it, the culture. Although I wouldn’t mind just doing Bio, Chem and Maths – I feel like I would be missing out if I didn’t take a language (and maybe I’ll self-study Spanish just for the hell of it).
Anyway, back to the main problem of this: GCSEs (I feel like I just went WAY off tangent, but oh well). At my current school, you can’t do 4 A-levels at all – but at the school I want to go to, you can – with certain conditions. In order to take 4 subjects, you have to get 8 A*s (or the equivalent) or more at GCSEs (yep, you read that right). So now I basically have double pressure on me to get good grades – since I really, really want to go to this school.
So, will I get the grades? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing I do is that is won’t be for lack of trying.