16-year-olds across England and Wales have, over the last couple of weeks, been breathing a collective sigh of relief. GCSE exams are finally over, and for most, the five years of secondary education have drawn to a close, whether that be an emotional moment, or the catalyst for a feeling of pure and utter elated freedom. Regardless, school is over, and freedom beckons me onwards.
Saying goodbye was tough. This year has been difficult, for many reasons, and the fast-approaching day of closure, when I could finally walk out of that gate and know that I had no need to turn back, was something of an incentive for me throughout my exams. When it finally came, however, I didn’t quite know how to feel: a mixture of overwhelming sadness, hope and anticipation, filtered through a thick layer of nostalgic experience greeted me. I hadn’t expected this, and I didn’t know how to cope with it, so I smiled and kept it together.
It was, by all means, the cutest of send-offs — or, at least, as cute as an educational establishment can be. Some of my teachers, past and present, came to say goodbye in person; I received some leaving presents, which were absolutely lovely; a group of staff members accompanied me to the local park’s cafe, where we had tea and cake, and laughed uncontrollably about stand-out moments from the last five years.
I can’t redo that. Maybe it’s too soon to reflect, or perhaps I’m melodramatic — quite possibly both. But, looking back now, those five years were amazing. Sure, school hasn’t always been my happiest place, and there have been numerous occasions where, quite frankly, I could’ve thrown the towel in, but that doesn’t matter now — it was amazing. I’ve gained so much, in experience, memories, friendships and laughter, through the good and the bad, it’s all come together, and we’ve pulled through. I’ve pulled through.
I’m proud of that.
You might be asking what I’ve done so far, with my new-found freedom. The UK is currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave — something which I’m not a fan of in the slightest —, and yesterday brought our first rain shower for 30 days. Quite justifiably, in my opinion, the highlight of my summer thus far has to be Wednesday evening, when you could have found me standing in the garden, arms outstretched in front of me, palms up, making an almost-inappropriate sounding moan, allowing the rain to wet my head like some kind of moron. It was wonderful.
Besides this moment of connection with nature — just go with it —, I have: finally finished Simon vs. The Homosapions’ Agenda (which I highly recommend you read, despite being late to this party); stared into the Abis that is my suitcase, wondering what to take to college in September (i.e what I need in order to live); screamed the lyrics to Carley Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You, whilst simultaneously washing up some plates; spent a shameful amount of time on Amazon, shopping for nothing in particular, and buying everything. I mean, everything.
To finish this post off, I thought I’d just list off the things I want to complete this summer — my first long summer —, in the hopes that writing it down will hold me to it.
– focus on friendships. GCSEs have caused me to put a lot of friendships — old and new — on hold, whilst I’ve desperately revised and panicked over a set of test papers. I need to turn my attention to those friendships now — I realise that, and I’m looking forward to doing so.
– Discover some new music. I feel like I need some new music to listen to; I’m currently riding that nostalgia wave, with music from the 00s, but I could do with some new singer/songwriter-type stuff to keep me going. Suggestions welcome…
– Read. I know it’s generic, but over the exam season, and the weeks and months before it, my reading list has grown exponentially, and I can’t wait to actually get my teeth into some of these amazing books that I’ve metaphorically stacked up. I’m going to use iBooks/Kindle, as well as Audible, as I’m really getting into audio books as of late.
– Be more spontaneous. Now that I have the freedom of the holidays, I want to experience that all-too-rare feeling of just making a plan, throwing some clothes on, and 10 minutes later being on a bus, doing something unplanned and exciting and fun. I love that feeling.
– Come out as bi to my parents. Need I explain this?
What are your plans for the summer months? Is it even summer where you are? I’d love to hear from you — you never know, we might find inspiration in each other’s ideas!