What do I do now?
Last Friday I finished my final A-level exam. Maybe my last ever exam. Maybe not. Whilst my initial emotion was one of relief, it soon dawned on me that the moment I had been building up to for some months had quickly passed. Today is Monday. The day that has everyone groaning when they roll out of bed in the early hours at the thought of another five days (or four sleeps as I like to think of it) until the weekend. But Today was different, for me at least. I rose early, so as to ensure that I did not fall into a bad habit and went for a run. Although it was only two and a half miles at a gentle pace, nothing too strenuous, it felt good to finally run again, having taken a month off during revision. Whilst I was out, retracing my steps on a run that I have completed many times before, everything felt different. Whilst this could possibly be explained by it being sunny, the trees turning green and all the plants having gone into bloom since the last time I had ventured on a run, I got to wondering whether it was because I was now viewing the world from a fresh perspective. Today is the first day of my summer holidays, a period which could last for an indefinite length of time and one thought that I could not remove from my head was the question: ‘What do I do now?’
For the last fourteen or fifteen years, I’ve had my life mapped out for me. Each day had a fixed structure: (this is for the last seven) wake up at 6:25, shower, and dress, eat and then out the door in time to catch the 7:42 train. Arrive at school at 8:00, hang around and chat until registration at 8:40. The school day would then comprise of six lessons each fifty minutes in length, with fifteen minutes for break and forty-five for lunch. I’d make it home for 4:30 and then relax for the rest of the day in front of the TV or reading a book (occasionally both at the same time!). All in time for bed at 10:00, so that I can have my eight and a half hours of sleep before I wake at 6:25 the next morning to begin the same process once again. When the weekend finally arrived, my daily structure didn’t change much either. The time spent at school during the week was swapped for the time allocated to play rugby for both school and my local club, as well as to complete any outstanding pieces of homework. Since Friday though things have changed. I don’t have that anymore; instead I am left to wonder what I should do now, both in day-to-day life and for the forthcoming years.
I’d love to travel; I’m in no doubt about that. So many times over the last few months I have felt trapped by my current situation. There’s little more that I’d rather do than to start afresh with a change of scenery. There’s so much I want to see. The great cities in Europe would be a start. I love experiencing different cultures, meeting new people and learning new skills. I took French GCSE and have since regretted not studying it further. To be able to speak more than one language is an amazing ability, and something I am in awe of. There is a part of me that wants to live abroad for a year. The thing is though, the majority of my close friends are planning on heading off to uni come September, I, on the other hand, am not and don’t want to travel on my own. I am one of the few who has not applied to university. In fact, I am one of just fifteen of the 165 in my year at school who does not have plans for university next year. This is through choice; it has not been forced upon me. I’m not against the idea of one day going to uni, but it’s simply because I don’t know what I would study. The only thing that I am certain of is the fact that I don’t want to waste £45,000 and three years of my time. But that doesn’t reassure me much. I still don’t know what to do next.
My only true interest is sport – playing, reading, writing, I’m not fussed in all honesty. The dream is football though. I plan on taking a coaching course in the next few months. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever reach the heights, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I think the thing that I crave the most is the sense of achievement that comes with successful effort. A year ago I undertook two charitable sporting challenges, whilst trying to complete my classwork at the same time. The first was to row the length of the longest river in the UK (the River Severn, 356km) in forty days. The second was to row the distance of a marathon in a single session. I completed both challenges but failed to gain much satisfaction. Now I’m looking to take it a step further, and I have set myself challenges to motivate myself both this year and in the future.
I feel so much pressure on me to succeed in whatever I decide to do. Whether that originated from the high-achieving school, with its elitist methods, I attended (and soon disliked), the media criticism and burden on students, or my own high standards, I don’t know. But I do know that I have to spend my time towards a worthwhile cause, and not just waste it. Though it would be foolish to forget that things can change very quickly.
Today is only Monday after all.
Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it. As always, feel free to leave a message.