Teenage Focus!

Home Stretch - Gregory Sidaway

Ah ha! This is it, we’re on the home stretch. We’re into February, a strange epilogue to a chilly trilogy of months that make up Winter. Or “y mis bach”, as they say in Welsh, meaning “little month”. I like that one, it makes me think of a younger sibling next to eleven older brothers and sisters. One day it will get warmer!

Most of us forget we have gardens in Winter, they shut down and recuperate for a few months. It’s a great moment when the sun shines and thaws the frost, and we remember they exist again. Soon, Spring will leap back onto the scene: blossom, tick, crocuses, tick, pollen allergies, tick.

However, this has been a busy time for those of my age, because January marked the end of a long and tricky period of making University decisions. To get a more varied picture, I asked a few friends about the process to see what they thought about leaving Sixth Form and embracing the opportunities ahead.

The application process itself was a mixed bag. “Okay, getting my application in was originally stressful. I also found it challenging to decide what course to study as there are so many choices,” said one person. Another commented that it was very frustrating but that “I’m glad I finished it in early November, getting it over and done with meant I could focus on mocks and not rush last minute.” The process required us compiling what was essentially a guidebook about ourselves, personal statements, predicted grades, teacher references, examples of our work … before sending them off to our five University choices with crossed fingers. Thankfully, we’ve just emerged from that gloomy tunnel and now we’re starting to reap what we sowed: Uni offers have found their way back to us. “I don’t think you’ll get any other time in your life where you’re offered the same amount of opportunity and freedom to pursue the things you enjoy,” said one. All of the friends I asked highlighted independence as a key part of what they were most looking forward to, and I can’t argue with them.

My last year of High School feels like I’m on the verge of outgrowing a t-shirt which was once way too big for me but now is beginning to feel a bit tight. Now it feels time to hand it down for others to wear and enjoy. Some friends felt sadder than others about leaving, (“As for leaving Sixth Form, I can’t wait!”) but everyone shared a burning desire to shrug off A Levels and move on to something new. And we really haven’t got very long to go, only a few months and a grand finale of exams, then the smoke clears and we’re free to go. I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel when the smoke does clear, when I put my pen down after the last test paper. I guess no one really does until it actually happens, but I won’t wish time away.

Right now, there’s only one thing that matters: finishing this article and wishing you all the best, fellow reader.