I'm currently studying towards my GCSEs. This time next year I'll be looking back at how I stressed I feel now and laughing. Not laughing because it's funny, laughing at how hard A Levels are compared to GCSEs. But I'm in now. Year 11. A couple of weeks away from facing the hardest exams of my life so far. And I feel awful.
So does everyone else, I assume. I'm so wrapped up in my own little bubble of fear at the moment that I haven't realised that the 200+ other pupils in my year are going through exactly the same terror. All adults have been through it and survived. So why shouldn't I? Because I want the best. I want to see as many A*s on my sheet of results as possible. I'm hoping to study Medicine and become a paediatrician, but that may only be possible if most of my GCSE results contain an asterisk. The majority of my results are predicted to be A*s though. That's only if I don't have a complete breakdown before my exams are over.
Adults like to think they're being sympathetic to us. But they're not. Back when they did GCSEs (or as they like to call them 'O Levels') it wasn't as expected of children to get the top grades. They say that exams are getting easier too. They're not. They should see the English Literature papers we have to sit! My parents lecture me every night about getting a job. I am busy enough at the moment with schoolwork thanks. But what about a summer job? I don't particularly want to spend my well deserved holiday inside, serving a customer who will look down at me because I'm young and apparently "think I know everything". I don't know whether they know or care about how much pressure is on us working to finish coursework, revise and generally juggling life. Adults complain about their jobs and kids, but weren't they optional? You could have trained to have a better job with more pay. You didn't have to have children. We have to fight through the summer of year 11. We have no choice.
I am an academic. I am in the top sets and have grades of As and A*s. The better I want to do in school the more time I have to put in. The more time I put in to one subject the less time I have to work in another. It's a vicious cycle. Some pupils in my year have done their Maths GCSE early so they have five lessons free a fortnight. Some Science results are being released on Thursday. If they pass that too then they'll have around sixteen hours free a fortnight. I will receive Science results on Thursday. The people who have done the exam early just want to pass. I don't. I want to get A*s. Even if I do better than those other pupils I won't get any benefits. I do not or will not have any free lessons. I am already working towards my next lot of Science exams which I will sit in May and will want to get A*s then.
I haven't started revising yet. It's March. My exams start in the middle of May. I don't want to spend every evening and weekend until my exams finish revising. To be honest, I don't think GCSEs are a mark of your intelligence. They're a mark of how much work you have done. For example, if you are a student who would usually get Cs and worked day and night at a certain subject, you could get an A or A*. If you literally though worked 24/7 with 100% effort. Using this same theory I know that I'm going to have to start revising soon and get into that focused state of mind which I despise being in.
I wouldn't be surprised if I do just sit down in a lesson soon and not be able to contain my tears. One of my friends was crying today at being asked whether she wanted to redo some of her English coursework. She had enough on her plate. She couldn't cope with anymore. It's all about sacrifices.
I've got two full months of summer this year. I've just got to think about that. All the time. Apart from when I'm trying to memorise quotes, case studies and formulae that is.