Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Return of the Exam-Free Teen

For the first time in three months - a time during which literally 99.9% of my time has been dedicated to revising, studying and trying to discover the importance of knowing how a series circuit works (two days on from my Physics exam, I am still no closer to realising it!) - I have plucked up the courage to return to my virtual safe haven: this personal and perfect blog that I'm proud to call my own. 

Until my browser loaded the Blogger page several minutes ago, I hadn't even dared to consider the length of time that had passed since I had posted my last entry. Well, I suppose that, the longer that you have been away from something, the more terrifying it is to return to it - who knows, maybe I might have returned to this blog and suddenly decided that it no longer served any purpose in my life? Thankfully, I don't think that will be an issue! 

Indeed, my life of late has felt very dream-like - albeit not in an oh-so-perfect, Disney-style manner if you really want to know (as if Cinderella would be caught revising the quadratic formula at her extravagant dinner table) - and out-of-place thanks to being caught up in the whirlwind that were my GCSE exams. Notice how I used 'were' instead of 'are' just there? Since twelve minutes past ten on Friday morning, my GCSEs - which I had spent months (OK, that's a lie - let;s say years) revising and planning for as though my life depended on it (which is certainly true if I want to get into my chosen sixth form) are officially over. Like N'Sync splitting up, GCSEs are no longer part of my everyday life because, as is the case with all great things (though one would be seriously deluded to place the words 'cosmic microwave background radiation' and 'fantastic' in the same sentence), they have reached their natural end. 

And, without a single doubt in my mind, I am relieved that I am completely and utterly finished with them!!!

If anyone had been in possession of a camera back on Friday morning after my final exams - the ghastly Additional Physics, which was definitely my worst exam of all (even if the stupidest of idiots of all instinctively know that, if you can't answer the first question within a minute of staring at the blasted page, your dreams of breezing through the paper are as non-existent as Poundworld selling authentic Chanel handbags) - they would have thought that I had totally lost my mind. The reason why? I was cackling like the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz as I dumped my blazer and revolting pleated skirt (which I constantly had to roll up as it always threatened to fall down my waist due to being at least two sizes too big for me - always a great distraction during an exam, of course!) into the school bins, giddy with delight that those horrible garments would never be placed on my skin ever again! 

In many ways, I kind of wishing that someone had been filming me because, at least in British schools where wearing a uniform is the norm, nothing feels as liberating as getting rid of an outfit that I have always associated with conformism: a societal norm that I have long regarded as an absolute bitch. At my school - or should I say 'old' as I haven't applied to go to their sixth form in September? - I detested being treated in the same way that was reserved for those who never tried hard or fooled around which, of course, didn't apply only to the uniform, but other areas. Therefore, I never really felt like myself whilst wearing the uniform because it rebelled against the identity that I openly express in other areas of my life, such as blogging - still, I guess that I've become so used to wearing it that the prospect of being free to wear whatever I want (within a certain range as skin-tight dresses barely longer than a belt are certainly unacceptable) will take me a while to get used to!

Anyway,  I'm now taking the time to return to Planet Normal - which, to my relief, does not feature any quadratic equations or diagrams of plant cells (pretty useless to know when I always shy away from all things related to gardening!) - and shall be doing so for the remainder of my summer, which lasts around ten weeks until I hopefully start at my chosen sixth form. How will I mark my descent to Planet Normal? As literally everything in my life has recently been the spitting image of craziness - what with sitting awkwardly on my bed with the company of my cat, Bart, whilst cramming as many facts about acids and alkalis into my head as possible and panicking over failing my Science exams - my norm of late, I've somewhat forgotten what 'normal' actually is! 

However, I've got my NCS programme lined up, which starts on 11th July and will last four weeks; as I've heard so many people describe what brilliant and life-changing experiences they had from participating in it, I absolutely can't wait to start! Although it presents the prospect of meeting new people - which, like lots of others, slightly makes me want to retreat and hide in the cupboard like my cats do because I'm naturally a shy person - I'm looking forward to overcoming these little fears and become more confident around a range of different people, which will truly help me cope with making new friends when sixth form begins. Luckily, one of my friends is also doing NCS on the same week as me, so I'm glad that there will be at least someone I know who will be there, which I'm sure is an equal relief for herself, too. 

As for everything else, I've decided to adopt the 'come what may' attitude as my new ethos; for the first time in months, I don't have to plan every single second of my day around revising, sleeping or completing 150 sit-ups because what controlled my routines has abruptly ceased to exist, which has submerged me into a universe of complete and utter freedom. Will the GCSE fairy scold me if I decide to watch four back-to-back episodes of True Blood in an entire day when, just a matter of weeks ago, I would have spent that time completing piles of past papers and creating flashcards? Unless she is willing to haunt those who either didn't turn up to their exams or were caught breaking exam rules (such as the fool who was disqualified for using their phone during my English Language exam - such foolishness within people never dies, huh?), I don't think so! 

Even though yesterday - my first proper day with absolutely no revision or exam panic clouding a second of my time - made me feel like I had wandered into an alternate universe because it suddenly dawned on me that I now have so much free time without my studies, I'm slowly but gradually adjusting to life beyond GCSEs. Although I always knew that this moment would come - because, if it didn't, I might as well be living a prison sentence! - I was so focused on getting through my exams that I had forgotten about life after them, yet I don't think that any amount of preparation could have made this transition process any easier. 

Undoubtedly, I could not be prouder of my efforts and hard work over the past two years and, fingers crossed, Results Day on 25th August will be a day filled to the brim with utter joy and elation - in fact, I seriously think that my teachers are more impatient to find out my results than me! Of course, not everything was as flawless as everyone secretly hopes and wishes life would be - especially as Maths and Science have long been my weaker subjects (hence why I respect and admire anyone who flourish in them!) - but now I have done my absolute hardest and will have to wait two months until my future is officially confirmed. Honestly, what is the point in worrying over grades when there are numerous factors that are unknown, such as grade boundaries, number of examiners and numerous other possibilities? Still, part of me cannot wash away the feeling that I'll be waking up at two in the morning two days before 25th August, cursing myself over my horrifically awful Physics exam...

What now, you ask? That, I don't quite know - and, in some ways, I don't really want to find out yet because, like all magnificent tales, they simply happen without being planned. Maybe I might write a novel after being inspired whilst having a shower, or I could decide to become fluent in Spanish - which, no matter what, I will learn to a certain degree this summer. Or, better still, I might go shopping for some new clothes - well, who would begrudge me such an opportunity? Fortunately, I have a month-long free trial of Netflix to try out, so perhaps I'll create a list of all of the TV shows (and films!) to watch within the space of four, screen-dominated weeks. Ooh, maybe I'll...

No matter what, I guess that the list is endless - and that is exactly what I want this summer to be. No barriers. No rules. No self-suppression - just lashings and giant-sized spoonfuls of unrequited freedom and liberty. Well, what more could I ask for?

Meanwhile, I will myself to lock my AS-level past papers away in a box up until September...

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