Saturday, 13 September 2014

One Week Down, Many More to Follow!

Phew, reaching the shiny ribbon at the end of a racing track has never been such a relief; the frantic race towards another end has been completed, placing that moment in the memory book that I call my past. This weekend shall be about relaxing, doing what I want and perhaps sneaking in a few naps if nobody notices - for today and tomorrow, paradise will be within my reach!

Until now, I'd somewhat lost my appreciation for the weekends which, only several months ago, struck me as a boring and lifeless end to a jam-packed week. Not only were the TV listings particularly disappointing, but it felt like everything - shopping hours, news and our general zest for action - had suddenly halted, its power button switched on until the following Monday. I would quickly lose interest in - shock, horror! - reading a book, humming along to my playlist on Spotify and even melting chocolate for another batch of gobble-'em-fast brownies because the time to take part in those activities was unlimited during the week itself. Or so it was the case until the new school year began last Friday.

Within a week, my life has been thrown upside down since piles of homework taller than my home, chasing after the bus and, of course, a noticeable lack of lie-ins made a spectacular return, like somebody had simply clicked their fingers. I have since been slowly recovering from the shock to my system - which hasn't had any spare time to settle down - while being swept up into the crazy world that we refer to as school.

In order to enter a foreign country, possessing a passport is always mandatory. However, what leaves me scratching my head is that, despite only being situated a mere four miles from home, my school is foreign territory. I don't care that it comes under the postcode for the county city or that it is classified as a British establishment because, if it were not for the English-accented pupils and teachers, it would most certainly be unknown land.

A school is so unlike other parts of society which, in a sense, separates itself from the outside world. Think of crossing a border. One side forms part of a nation that you know and love with all your heart, whereas the other is as unfamiliar as Lady Gaga wearing no scrap of dramatic make-up. Each day that I go and leave school reminds me of embarking on strange territory; it just doesn't share the warmth that you would discover in a place that comforts you, like a well-loved shop or even home.

Instead, the purpose of going there could neither be louder nor clearer: you learn. Above the numerous policies that are put in place - and most of whom are either broken or ignored by fiercely independent teenagers - trying your hardest is the most valuable requirement at school, otherwise your time there will be thousands of hours wasted.

A reason why I have grown to like school - for the sense of loving it was not instilled, but learnt as I got older - is that, if I'm obliged to attend it until I'm eighteen or whatever, I might as well develop a fondness for it because no world-class excuses will get me out of it. Sometimes, you must accept what you are given which, for 99.9% of children in this country, is the requirement to gain an education, most often at school. Letting your hatred of being forced to do something that you obviously dislike will only serve as a barrier from gaining freedom, or even extend your hellish time at school if you fail to achieve respectable grades.

My advice is grit your teeth, banish all negative thoughts and get on with it until you are waving your GCSE results, the air electric with ecstasy as you bid farewell to compulsory uniforms. Well, that's what I would be buzzing about on Results Day, but aim for the end result because, believe it or not, it will be coming your way in no time!

Now that I completed the final few weeks of KS3 and leapt head-on into GCSE coursework, I'm finally contributing to a means to an end, which is the sole reason why I went back to school in the first place. The sooner I finish assessments, revision and exams, the better - I'm already raring to enter the careers market, hopefully with plenty of brilliant qualifications behind me!

Yet, as I along with many of you will have discovered, the first week is usually the hardest time at school because everybody - teachers included - are adjusting to the return of a routine that, if we had our way, would prefer to not recognize. After six weeks of summer, who would fancy giving it all up in favour of early starts, testing lessons and the onset of chilly winter? Then again, c'est la vie; if that's a routine which has forever remained the same for previous generations, it is highly unlikely that it will change for us now. Besides, once the initial awkwardness has passed, our memories slowly shift from summer to schoolwork - and, until half-term approaches, we don't look back. 

A week since the new year commenced, it amazes me - though not in what you'd call in a good way - that my thoughts have shifted from relaxing to throwing myself into 'the deep end', otherwise known as hard work. Once I was handed my first homework assignment, it only felt like yesterday that I'd spent an entire week handwriting an essay, because that 'work-hard' instinct automatically kicked in. And as soon as I finished writing the final letter, a wave of relief swept through me - my personalized adrenaline hit. Some people get high from dabbling in the illegal kind or partying until all hours in a nightclub, but my addictive hit is sourced from working hard - and, as much as I begrudge doing it, homework!

Although life has gradually settled into, well, a more normal routine (for getting up at 5.30am to wash your hair in the dark is totally a rarity among even the most hair-conscious teens), my first few days weren't necessarily a walk in the park. For example, yesterday was the first day when my timetable hadn't been messed up which, as it hadn't been updated, caused me to attend the wrong lessons - talk about embarrassing when most of my classmates would ask me why I didn't turn up to their (and my) lesson!

Plus, the school made the most pathetic excuse ever about placing me in the lower sets, including my best-loved class - English. Since receiving an A in a creative writing assessment from last term, I've proved all my teachers - who cannot handle the responsibility to admit their mistakes - wrong! If an error is made, nine times of ten the computer will be blamed, but those excuses do not and never will fool me.

And my 'socialisation'? Never has such an issue existed, unless people are looking to cause problems that are not my fault. Anyway, I'll be getting my own back on some people by discussing it in full-on detail in next month's English assessment, in which we literally rant about a certain theme. If some of the teachers read it, perhaps they would never cross my path again! But writing from the heart is what earnt me that precious A grade in my previous assessment, so I'm keen to be as cut-throat and honest again. By the time that I've completed my coursework, perhaps my folder will contain enough material to publish an autobiography!

Indeed, problems will crop up from time to time, but I'm better equipped at warding off the idiots who threaten to turn my academic life into a living hell. My new friend and I stick together, which is a real comfort to me; at least I have somebody who has my back, while I look out for hers. Whenever difficulty arises, I keep thinking to myself, just less than two years until Sixth Form.

My future is fastly approaching, and now is the time to determine which path I shall follow. Me? I'm just as prepared and organized as ever because I have been waiting to work towards it.

One week down, many more - hopefully not as stressful as this one - to follow!

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