I was thinking, the other day, about times gone by. It wasn’t nostalgia, as such – more of a grounding, remembering thoughts and feelings from years ago, and wodering what now-past me would think of where I am today.
Back in Year 7 – the first year of british high school –, I remember thinking that I had better adjust myself to life in such a big, imposing educational establishment, because I had at least five years to spend there, and five years was not far off half of my own age then. Five years was a lifetime: I could hardly remember five years ago.
Primary school, after all, had dragged – seven long years of ‘maths, English and other crap’; ‘other crap’, I hasten to add, which I now realise comprised the best seven years of my life. Primary school dragged, until there was something in sight to follow it: Year 6, when secondary school was no longer a distant prospect but a fast-approaching light at the end of the tunnel, was easly the fastest year of school. I had a mere ten months to appreciate primary school, to step back and be thankful for the seven – rankly wasted – years of freedom, of careless laughter and childish games that I had taken for granted, and yet which I had invested in whole-heartedly.
The beginning of Year 7 did drag – there’s no denying it. Every day was a new experience, and there were friendships to be built – although I waited a solid 18 months to invest in these friendships in the same way, albeit with more maturity, that I had in my primary school playground days. There were ridiculous rules to be learnt and abided by, teachers to impress, assemblies to pay (in retrospect, too much) attention to. Year 7 was slow: that’s how I’d anticipated it being, and I was right.
Year 8 commenced as the leaves turned from green to golden, and the sun became lazier, hanging in the sky in its final farewell for the year. Talk of GCSE options began – who was choosing what, which subjects were worth our ticks of naivity on our flimsy options paperwork. Decisions didn’t need to be made until April – I had 7 months to ponder, plenty of time to fill in the stupid boxes. Of course, I found myself frantically deliberating between subjects the night before the deadline, eventually settling for the subjects I enjoyed, and the teachers who gave me good marks.
GCSE courses started in Year 9 – three years until the final exams. Year 9 dragged, Year 10 was slow; there was still months and months until we sat our final exams, and received the grades that would ‘define our future’ (what BS, by the way).
Then, Year 11. My fifth September at the school commenced, and a new-found air of serious self-awareness set in: exams started in 8 months, and there was no more time. And, of course, this was the year that sped up, flashing by faster and faster, like a cheetah finally catching sight of its prey, and going in for the kill.
Now, in March of that year, with less than 8 weeks until my first GCSE exam, I reflect back on Year 7 Kel. It’s ironic, I suppose, that I made the same mistakes as I made in Year 5, and that I made that same mistake again in Year 9. I’m sure I’ll make the same misguided error again next year, when talk of university applications begins. Time realy is a funny thing: it can seem so infinite one moment, and then you blink, and you’re living in the time that you never truly believed existed. Time drags – trust me, it does –, until something comes into focus, something to follow the reality of today. Time seems to be accelerating at an uncontrollable rate now, hurtling me closer and closer to my exams, to college, to the future. I couldn’t tell you whether I like it or not: how do you make a decision when you’re losing ground at such a pace? Regardless, c’est la vie, I suppose.
Just remember that however far away something seems today, however much time seems to stretch on and on, tomorrow is closer than you think, and the day after incomprehensibly close behind.