Wednesday, 9 October 2013

History has a way of repeating itself

(written early September)

The day I left sixth form I thought that was the end of mine and school's tumultuous relationship for good.

No more lying awake at night with revision notes spinning around my eyes or falling asleep only to find past exam papers haunting my dreams.

No more tears of desperation at the uselessness of lazy teachers with no passion who would get you to copy out a textbook while they played around on their laptop.

But then also, no more days of feeling truly successful because I got an A on some ridiculously easy homework essay. 

No more lists of goals and targets. 

In sixth form I mathematically calculated exactly what marks I would need on each and every assessment to get a grade that wouldn't make me fall into a pit of disappointment and shame, which of course with me had to be an A...

I would drive myself to tears in a stressful panic to get over 90%, because yes 89% is close, but close isn't good enough. 

I know this wasn't healthy, but at least I had a goal that could be measured in points and grades. Having to suddenly live a year with no real measure of success or even any hint I'm going in the right direction has been so difficult. And when my goal is supposed to be to 'get better'... Who's to say what better is? There's no UMS point system for mental health.

When I suddenly agreed that doing a history course at York College would be the best use of my time, I did think maybe I've gone completely off my rocker. I rang up and pleaded to be educated.

In some ways this is genius, I'm gradually managing to read more and more each day without my mind going off in little spirals of confusion and panic. And I'm writing again, in proper essays where I back up my opinions with evidence.
My mum even bought me this beautiful notebook from Paperchase and I'm using my cute little 'gap year diary' to write notes on what to research. And all these little tasks and objectives are finally making me feel normal again.

my neat little notes

Of course it feels bonkers as well... I never even did GCSE history! I'm doing AS and A2 at the same time, desperately catching up before I have even started and it ties me down... No more fleeing to foreign countries.

But overall I think this is a good decision. I have a student card, there are people expecting certain things of me, who will notice my absence. It feels like I've joined society again, part-time at least! And the college is so much like university it feels like such a good stepping stone, even if I am having to learn about ten different Henries from various points of history!

So here I am, on my first day back at school. My parents keeping wishing me luck and telling me the other kids will be nice and I feel like I'm going to throw up and so it appears that despite turning 20 next week, I am in actual fact five years old again.

I cut my eyes off because they show fear, this way you can maybe believe I'm actually smiling about this whole situation...

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