So yesterday I finished high school for good. After seven long years of being stuck in the same place, at age eighteen I finally managed to break free.
This may sound as if I'm going to rant about the horrors of a teenage institution which provided me with a chance for an education and a life experience. Don't get me wrong, there are many things I will miss about school. But there are also many things that I will not.
What I will miss:
1. Being around my friends five days a week.
My friends are the only thing that keep me sane during the school week, because if I feel alone in school then it means there is nothing to motivate me to go there. They have all been so lovely and understanding about my stress issues whilst exam season was going on, and even the months before when I was so worried about failing. Being around them five days a week is something I always took for granted and since we are all going to university at different ends of the country, I will only be about to see them a few times a year from now on. I sincerely hope that we all stay in touch and as close as we have become this past year, but I know that in some cases this may not be possible.
2. Easy access to an education.
This is something that I have never taken for granted and I never will. If I wanted to know something, I could ask a teacher, and they would give me the answer without me having to look through countless textbooks and websites. And university will be partly like this in that I can ask a question and my lecturers will be happy to provide me with an answer, but mostly I will have to do the majority of the work myself. And although I will be extremely happy to do that as I dream of a career in academia, the easiest thing about high school overall was the fact that I didn't have to read Plato's lifeworks to get a summary of his thoughts on society, as my teachers would give me a direct quote or an explanation for me. I am going to miss having such an extreme support network around me that would give me a deep insight into a subject when I know I could not achieve that myself, especially in a subject like history.
3. Getting the fulfilment that school usually gives me.
I don't know what it is about school, but it gives you a structure if nothing else. For about fifteen years of your life you wake up in the morning at exactly the same time, you eat the same breakfast, you go to scheduled classes, do the homework and show up for the exams. I feel as though I am dong something with my day if I show up at school, and completing the homework on time feels like something else I can cross off my list, and I will feel calmer and more fulfilled. As much as I hate doing homework, getting it done felt good, and I'm going to have to find a schedule of my own that works for me and makes me feel as though I am doing something with each day.
What I will not miss:
1. The other people who go to my school.
Its no secret that every single year group in your school hates everyone else who isn't in that same year group, and this is a universal thing. Its not that I hate them for no reason, but younger kids make me so anxious with all of their pushing through hallways and messing about and their stares that always look like they are going to insult you in some way. I felt suffocated in school with so many of these other people running around acting like you were from a different planet, and now that I have left I will begin to calm down. People still scare me, but not as much as the younger people in the blue shirts and ties who go around in packs and make every classroom stink of sweat.
Ah yes. Exams. Quite possibly the worst thing about school and the hardest tests of your commitment and memory that you will encounter in your lives. Exams terrify me and everybody knows it, so much so that for the past two years I have been put in a separate room to everybody else which contains only me, an invigilator and a dreaded exam paper. I don't know why exams scare me so much because I got pretty good GCSE grades and I have done consistently well in exams for most of my life, but I think its just a combination of my natural anxious state of being and a fear of failure. The exams I have just sat were so, so hard, and it took all of my courage to keep going. Revision and examinations are just not the way I learn best, and so I will have a lot more time to prepare for my university exams, because they don't churn them out like an exam factory there.
3. Always feeling like I'm not good enough.
A lot of you might relate to this feeling. Its the sinking feeling in your stomach when you get another D on a mock test in class and everyone else around you has got B's and A's. Its the feeling when you spend hours on an essay at home and the teacher marks it and you only score half marks, even though you thought it was written quite well. School is a place where you can feel either on top of the world or like your life is going nowhere, depending on a letter of the alphabet stamped to the bottom of a piece of paper. By leaving school, I am leaving not only the physical place but the feelings of self-doubt and emptiness, because I am going to be able to control my life and not have it controlled for me by things that cannot feel pain but are more than willing to see me suffer.
I will no longer have to sit in silence when an adult repeatedly tells me I am lying about not being taught properly, or they say that I am disappointing them as they know I can do so much better, or that I am at risk of getting a detention if I do not complete a silly piece of homework that is irrelevant to my studies and my entire life.
So yes, I will miss school for a number of reasons. But I am not sad about leaving because there are many reasons why I will not miss it, and these outweigh the positives of secondary education every time.
(Have some Katherine Jenkins: Time to say goodbye for the lols)