“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
I stand on the edge of a bridge looking down into the abyss of the sea about to jump and solve all of my problems by ending it all and going into the afterlife. Then, I see a man jump in before me, he starts yelling “Help! Help!” and so I jump in after him and suddenly forget all my insignificant worries and stresses. I am Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey and he is Henry Travers as Clarence, my guardian angel.
If you have never seen the film It’s a Wonderful Life, staring the pair, then that reference will make no sense to you. Let me scale it back to a less prolific and philosophical metaphor. The worries being formative tests, essays, leadership commitments and presentations, and the guardian angel being teachers bringing me back to my senses. A little under a year ago I wrote a post titled “It’s only an hour” which acted as a letter to the year 12 graduating classes of 2015. After seeing their stress levels rise, their angst become heightened and the pressure on themselves elevate, I thought it best to bring it all back into perspective and talk about the bigger things in life. Year 12 representing just 5% of life.
Now, I stand in their shoes. The big shoes of a year 12 juggling assignments on revolutions, chemical equations, epic poetry and social justice. And now, all those negative epithets associated with senior year resonate to me at a level I had never experienced.
Today is a day I will never forget for all the wrong reasons. Tensions boiled over and studying became too overwhelming to sink in. I cried for the first time of the year and doubted myself like I never had before. But that’s ok, that’s natural. Now being a year 12, listening to my year 11 self talk about the bigger picture of life and the fact that year 12 doesn’t matter really just sounds like a load of nothing. All you can think about is ATAR scores, endeavour grades, merit awards, scaling and your friends being torn down after drafts are ripped apart after pouring heart and soul into arguing about the validity of literature. It sucks, really bad.
But, I figure one thing from the pain of all this that can keep the morale high and the drama low. In roughly 270 days, it’s all over. In roughly 270 days you’re out in the real world. In roughly 270 days you’re out searching for jobs, applying for university courses, you’re out on your own. You’ve made the college a place to learn and thrive and you’ve come to know the place like a second home. You’re presence is felt everyday whether you see it or not. And in 270 days, you leave.
For the past 13 years, you have seen your friends day in and day out for 10 months a year. You’ve slaved, blood sweat and tears with them. You’ve been there when they’ve dropped glass drink bottles in front of the cool crowd as a year 9 student, you’ve been there when they put the finger up at senior members of staff in middle school, and you’ve been there when they’ve made their sexuality open after years of self oppression. You’ve been there as they’ve been lifted up and shut down, and out in the real world, that all stops. You promise to see each other as much as possible but it doesn’t happen how you thought it would.
This is almost a letter to myself for the inevitable second break down that I am anticipating, but everyone can read and relate. Set your goals high and keep them high. Don’t doubt yourself because of one assignment grade. In year 12 the idea of dropping out is constantly thought of because of the workload and the everyday stresses. Sometimes you bite off more than you can chew. But stay. Stay for the memories, painful and pretty, and stay for those friends. A teacher once told me “Formative assessments don’t matter in year 12, so don’t stress over a formative test.”
Remember that, for I will be trying too.