Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Heavy Atmosphere

A sense of finality is heavy in the air right now, as the last preparations for Friday - marking the beginning of the new academic year - are completed, awaiting the inevitable in less than two days' time.

Having met up with my friend on Monday, I ought to consider myself lucky. Even an extra day would make a significant difference, and it just so happens that I've been blessed with another twenty four hours before I'm swept into the all-mighty wave which is school mania, unlike my friend whose term commences tomorrow.

Like myself, she is in the same school year - despite being nearly a year younger than me, though I did go back a year to gain my full two years of coursework - and will be cracking on with her GCSEs in another school almost forty miles away from mine. Although I'm surrounded by plenty of pupils who will be submerging themselves into their studies for the next two years, the thought of my loyal friend doing the same is a comfort to me, which makes me feel less alone in the crazy, hectic world that is school life.

From the moment that the bell rings at 8.45am, I'll be dying to find out how to join the lunchtime clubs and various activities that the school offers. After spending the lunch hour alone in an empty, food-littered classroom during the past term, there is no way that I want to miss out on keeping myself productive and meeting others who hopefully share some of my interests. Until I arrived there at the beginning of June, it hadn't occurred to me that all the activities that I would have definitely participated in had ceased until September, which came as a major blow. Though those six weeks in which I wandered around like a lost Year 7 were a time that I'd rather forget, I'm glad that I won't be relying on tagging behind fellow pupils in order to get to the correct classes this term - as if I would have needed to contend with that had I started now!

Also, I've just signed up for Zumba classes in a nearby town which, several hours after arriving home and wolfing down whatever is on the menu, will be taking place on a Friday evening. Yes, I'll crave nothing more than lying down on my snuggly bed and falling asleep before bedtime after a full-on week at school, but it is the only convenient time for not only myself, but the rest of my family. Little Brother attends football practise on a Saturday morning then plays in an actual match the following day, sometimes playing at home or away - as the buses are very few and far between, my chances of travelling to the Zumba class toute seule are extremely low. My fingers are crossed in the hope that I'll start having driving lessons shortly after taking my GCSEs when I'm seventeen, so this is an arrangement that I can handle for now!

The problem that I usually find is that, if I'm short of things to occupy myself with, I get bored very quickly. And that was exactly what I encountered at school, due to all the clubs and activities having taken a break until now. Life would have certainly been much easier had these activities never stopped, but it was beyond my control. Now I need to focus on what is ahead of me, instead of taking a step back into the-past-that-I-would-never-like-to-think-about-again. You would have to be a complete stranger to never realize that joining the newspaper would be my ultimate ambition - since being told about it on a tour around the school several months ago, I've been dying to join it before my first term even began!

Other clubs that I'm interested in include the Debating Society (which would be the perfect outlet to have a public rant - perhaps a televised debate could be in the works?) and, of all things, the Maths Club. Having declared my world-famous dilemma with mathematics more times than I can remember (or be bothered to do so), you might be wondering whether an alien has taken over my mind and transformed into a maths-loving brainiac. To those who possess the ability to gain an A* in a Maths GCSE, this might particularly disappoint you, but I neither love maths nor believe that a perfect A in the subject is a major possibility.

With some 'problem' areas, I'd like to build my confidence and receive advice from teachers who specialise in these subjects, which would hopefully boost my final grade in Maths. Even my mum and dad - who, unlike my poor self, avoided the likes of Algebra and crazy-looking equations during their school years - agree that joining the Maths club is a good idea, so I will definitely not make a run for it. Beyond the classroom, I've learnt that, in order to succeed (and eventually discover the true meaning of exam success-related happiness), pushing yourself is an absolute must. I might not like the thought of being surrounded by numbers and wacky figures as I tuck into my cucumber-and-pepper sandwich at lunchtime, but hopefully those GCSE grades will make every second of serious brain drain worth it.

And you know what? I'm ready to loosen up and enjoy myself this year because I've already gotten through the hardest stage - the oh-so-frightful beginning - and will be shortly working towards something that will actually mean a lot to me, instead of the obsessive league tables. Work experience will be coming up after my 16th birthday, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to planning which place (or, in my case, which newspaper) in which I'll gain an insight into what the world of work is truly like. Plus, I'm wiser in the sense that all trips to a mountain - which hadn't even been explained to me until just a few moments before we climbed up it - must be avoided!

There is so much to look forward to and I'm excited about throwing myself into my studies, yet my heart aches at the thought of returning to school. I like being home because a) unless the lights aren't switched on at night, you can never get lost, b) there is usually somebody - both human and of the furry kind - to talk to, whose company is always appreciated, and c) the lunchtime menu is much more appetising than all the meals combined at the school canteen! My nearest relatives live over a hundred miles away, so my family and I truly rely on one another; letting go for over seven hours can be a struggle at the beginning, especially after six weeks together. But I'm keeping my spirits alive because, as soon as my GCSEs are over, 12 weeks of study leave - the best ever summer holidays - will commence, so freedom will be mine for the taking!

Anyway, I don't know whether I'll have any time to write here again before school returns on Friday (which also coincides with my first experience at a sweat-tastic Zumba lesson), but it doesn't matter if I fail to find some spare time. This summer has offered me the freedom to think things over about what I aspire to achieve in life and how to adjust to school - it was simply too much to re-valuate during the term, in which I was walking in a daze. I can sympathize with the Year 7s will be getting their first glimpse at secondary school life tomorrow, because I was an unofficial member of their group in June - until then, I had no idea what to expect, and was close to losing it with my manic nerves. I'm much braver a few months on, determined to handle whatever is thrown my way.

Whether boys are retreating into their inner caveman during class or the girls are dedicating themselves to getting a boyfriend, nothing surprises me now. It took me six weeks, but the summer holidays has helped me get there - in the sense that I'm clued up about school life.

Bring it on, I say - and let the mania return with a vengeance!

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