As part of my pledge to ‘actually write something once in a while’, I am coming at you with the latest installment in my (not so) crazy life. Last time, it was the nervousness and euphoria of GCSE results day – and now it’s the anticipation and overwhelming experience of starting Year 12.
Now, I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my last blog post – but starting Year 12 was always going to be a bit… weird for me. Obviously, starting A Levels or BTECs or anything else is a big transition for anyone – but for me, starting sixth form marked the end of 5 years of single-sex education. I don’t quite want to share my thoughts on single-sex education in this blog post (although that’s definitely an idea for another post!), but clearly, starting Year 12 was a big jump for me in several ways.
Despite this, I survived! It’s currently Saturday 9th September (I started school on Tuesday) and I’m still alive in my room, typing out this blog post (although I do have an horrible cold aka ‘freshers’ flu’ and I’m starting to regret leaving the house) for you to enjoy. Anyway, before I get into the nitty-gritty of school, I’d like to share my thoughts pre-school.
If you’ve ever seen someone drowning in anxiety, I was basically the embodiment of this image for the whole week before school started. Admittedly, I can be quite an anxious person at times (grrr) – but this took it to a whole new level. Common symptoms of anxiety are feeling jittery, sleeplessness, and catastrophising every possible scenario – I experienced all of these, not to mention a constant, gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach that I’d made the wrong decision. Of course, in hindsight, there was no need for me to be so worried and anxious – but sometimes nervousness can be beyond our control.
Anyway, fast forward to the first day of school – I was bricking it. The black H&M pant suit that I was dressed up in (my new school operates a ‘business smart’ dress code) felt strange, formal and uncomfortable. When I got on the school bus that morning, I could almost sense the trepidation yet excitement that emanated from my friends as we anticipated a new adventure. As we pulled into the familiar high street (my new school is in the same town as my old one – it’s only 10 minutes away, in fact), the grey clouds and bleak drizzle seemed a solemn sign.
Soon, we were speed-walking towards school in the rain (the bus was late) as I tried to duck under the cover of my friend’s umbrella in order to prevent turning up to school half-drenched on the first day. On entering the hall, I was greeted with a massive hug from one of my friends from my old-old school (the one I attended from years 7-9), which did a great deal to reassure me. We were met by some of the sixth form ‘prefects’ and quickly carted off to our form rooms – oddly enough, I felt like an evacuee being shipped away from my parents during wartime, and the real challenge began.
After that, I met my form tutor (a smiling, young female psychology teacher who was new to the school herself) and the rest of the Year 12s in my form, of which there was only one other girl (who I didn’t know!!) and a couple of boys, some of whom I vaguely recognised. Our tutor made us sit in a circle, and as we started with the most iconic of icebreakers (two truths and a lie), I began to settle in a bit more.
The rest of the day was pretty much admin – we had information talks, building tours and had our school photographs taken (so much for prior notice lol) – and by the end of the day, I was pretty proud of myself for not having totally freaked out. Of course then I realised that only Year 7 and Year 12 were in – and tomorrow, I had to deal with Year 8-11 + 13, not to mention actual lessons. Let’s just say, the school corridors were about to become a lot more crowded!
At the end of the week, I can say that I’ve come a long way – although there are some things that still surprise me. Surprisingly, having boys in the classroom doesn’t feel as weird as I thought it would (after all, I did go to a mixed primary school) – although you can tell that the school is overall a ‘boys’ school’ – there’s definitely a bit of a gender divide, although hopefully that will change as the year progresses. However, it is kind of weird in assembly to look round and see so many boys, many of whom are insanely tall after having gotten used to seeing loads of girls.
While I’m at it – another thing is walking around school. There are several points in the school where the corridors (even though they’re more like passage since they’re outside) get insanely crowded – and instead of striding through the hordes of Year 8 girls like I’m accustomed to, I have to fend off the alarmingly tall Year 10s from creating an all-out mosh pit on the way to Maths. Sigh.
All in all, I feel like I *could’ve* made the right decision. Sure, changing schools fills me with stress, anxiety and trepidation – but maybe these are necessary emotions to experience once in a while, and they surely don’t outweigh the excitement and euphoria I feel whilst meeting new people and experiencing new things. Of course, it will take a while to get used to – but so does everything in life, and I believe that’s a good thing!
Anyway, I just want to say a massive thank you for reading this rather lengthy post and also for the lovely comments on my GCSE Results Day article – more updates coming soon! If you have any requests for blog posts, please leave a comment down below or tweet me @totallytolu.