The Next Stage

As David Nicholls so rightly puts it, “the notion that you can somehow quantify intelligence by some ridiculous, antiquated system of written examinations is obviously specious.” Unfortunately for us, there’s not a lot we can do about that and we’re forced to go through the stress of increasingly harder exams year upon year in order to decide for us whether we are destined to be neurosurgeons or dustbinmen for the rest of our lives. As I’m sure most of you will have guessed, I talk about this because of the dreaded day that has been looming ever closer since the start of summer and is now but two days away; the day on which dreams are realised and crushed- and trust me, that’s no exaggeration.

Luckily for me, I’ve only got my AS results to collect which, whilst still worth half my A level and therefore clearly important, fade into insignificance when stood next to those in the year above whose envelope contains the answer to possibly what their life will look like for the next few years. And that’s pretty terrifying. I know that each year group has a tendency to downplay the importance of the stages which they’ve already experienced, but I would seriously give anything to be back in GCSE and only having to worry about getting my 4 B’s and 2 C’s to get into sixth form, rather than needing ridiculously unlikely high grades to have a chance of getting into any of the universities I want to end up at.

I write this sat on my bed with a mug of tea in hand and university prospectuses spread out in front of me, trying to differentiate between the accommodation prices at this university and the contact hours at that university and entrance grades and module choices and league table rankings and nightlife and things that I never thought I would have to think about for years to come. I still feel about 12 years old even though I turn 18 in less than four weeks, and that’s terrifying. The idea that what I decide in the next few months dictates pretty much what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life is overwhelming to say the least, and no number of open days or prospectuses or “useful” school assemblies on UCAS is going to change that. But whilst it may be terrifying and overwhelming and quite frankly incomprehensible at times, it’s also so bloody exciting. As much as I will miss my school, I can’t wait to get out into the world and experience somewhere a bit more diverse and real than the ‘bubble’ of where I live, which to be honest is pretty much anywhere. I want to get to a big city and meet interesting people and do interesting things in interesting places, and more than the worry or stress, I can’t wait for the future and so should you – it’s an exciting place.


Had We But World Enough and Time

All through our time at school, we are constantly bombarded by queries of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, and this is something that only gets more intense as you move up the school. Now more than ever, with only a few months left before I have to start applying for university, I’m being constantly questioned about what I want to do next and to be completely honest, it is terrifying. I don’t even know what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone what I’m going to do next year which dictates what I do the year after next which dictates what I do in five years time.. and you get my point. With exams next month, I’ve started to think about what I want to do in summer and even started planning what to do in my gap year that I’ll hopefully be taking the year after next, and while it’s really scary, I’m also ridiculously excited.

For those of you who did the same GCSE English Literature course as I did, you will no doubt recognise the quote that I used as the title of this post from the poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’. Whilst this poem used it in a rather creepy way, I really love this quote as it pretty much describes my life; there are so many things I would love to do with my life if I had the time and money. I don’t know if many of you have looked at my bucket list page on here, but I love to compile lists of things I would love to do, in the hopes that this might actually help me achieve them. Whether this works or not.. who knows. But it’s the reason that I pushed myself to skydive for charity last summer and the same reason I am doing many of the things I have planned for my gap year (interrailing, volunteering abroad, living in France). I am one of those people that is just so easily bored by my simple life in the bubble of Marlborough where everything is easy and repetitive and safe- I guess you could say that I just want some adventure, in any shape or form that comes along. I find it hard to comprehend the people that have no desire to see the world or experience new things because to be quite frank, what else is there to get excited about in this world? Whilst ‘new things’ for some people is very different to others, it doesn’t matter what kind of scale we are talking about, just simply the idea that you wish to challenge yourself or do something out of your comfort zone. Either that or you can just trundle along through life not questioning everything, just taking what you’re handed and asking for nothing else. But how incredibly boring is that?

I’d be really interested in hearing what other people think about this, is it just me that can’t stand the fact of spending my life in a repetitive cycle of eat sleep work repeat? Also what kind of things do you have that you want to accomplish, perhaps a sort of bucket list of your own? Maybe this is just me, over-thinking everything as usual.. but if it means that my life is a hell of a lot more interesting as a result, then so be it.