I’ve been advised to start a blog. I’ve been advised to start a blog for several reasons.
- I’m completely lost in life right now and hopefully writing about it will give me some sense of clarity (I write this with a lot of scepticism) .
- I want to be a writer and despite the successful track records writers have with having fortunate careers, I’ve been advised to “put myself out there” by a woman whose career is telling others what theirs should be.
- A lot has happened this past year, and as an aspiring writer I feel like it’s my dutiful right to annoy people by writing about it.
- And just to top off a crappy year, I’m hopelessly unemployed, bored out of my existence, extremely single and reiterating my first point, completely lost.
How did I get here, to these four sad reasons? Well I’m about to tell you and to do that, as all great stories begin, I should start at the beginning, which in this case, is the Summer of 2016.
May 2016 was my graduation from secondary school, or high school, for those of you haven’t guessed that I’m not from the United States. I’d like to say that I couldn’t wait to start my college life and ready to leave high school behind me but this is reality, so naturally being 17 and about to leave the safety net of school was terrifying and utterly daunting. And for those of you where I’m from- Ireland, you’ll have heard of the nightmare that is the Leaving Certificate.
The Leaving Cert is basically a pretty useless way to assess students’ brain strength and designed (I think) to see how far young adults can be pushed to the verge of a nervous breakdown, you know, as a nice preparation for when they have children, and a mortgage. I guess the equivalent of it would be the A levels in the UK, the Baccalauréat in France or the SATs in the US. It consists of two weeks of hardcore exams consisting of usually about seven subjects which you have studied relentlessly for the past two years. Each subject may consist of one or more paper including an aural, practical and oral examination. And just because our educators hate us, we have to study Irish. Yes, I know I understand that it’s important as it is a part of our heritage and history and culture blah blah blah- I know, I agree with you, that fact does not make it any less painful though, trust me. Anyway I didn’t come here to rant about the Leaving Cert.
So there I was, 17 year old me, terrified and very naïve. Yes, it’s only been a year but wow have I grown up since then (even if my parents don’t think so). I studied music and therefore had to sing in the choir of our graduation mass (unfortunately we still do those things). So I’m sitting there singing a song about saying goodbye and it suddenly struck me that I would be and I began to cry, that happened a lot in the last few days before grad. A lot of weeping, reminiscing and fear and feeling oddly important, like you’re going to be missed terribly, until you leave and you’re not.
That night our year went out and celebrated leaving school with cheap white wine and Chinese food. It was a pretty bad night in all honestly- and a perfect recipe for the world’s worst hangover. I was wearing this tight powder blue dress, yeah it would have been pretty on a normal person, but because I had recently morphed into a walrus from stress eating about exams and an embarrassingly lack of exercise, (seriously the most I was getting was walking to the fridge) I had kind of ballooned and so the blue dress stretched across my stomach making me look and feel like the Pacific Ocean (I’m currently working on the Atlantic).
I woke up the next day, quite hungover with a phone full of photos of me, my friends, a lot of the restaurant’s Chinese staff members, and a disturbing face swap filtered photo of me and my music teacher, he’s a he…with a beard… hence the use of “disturbing” as an adjective. The next morning between a pounding headache and a diet of crackers, water and paracetamol I realised I had approximately 12 days ‘till what I and most others had deemed Doomsday. I spent those days from about 10:30 in the morning until 8 at night cramming very morsel of information about igneous rocks and the Easter Rising and irregular time signatures into my brain. Because remember kids, in the future it’s extremely important to know how limestone, Ireland’s most common rock was formed, literally 300 million years ago .
The 8th of June rolled around, on a beautiful summer’s morning. Really, it was, birds were singing, dew sparkled on the morning grass, the sun shined down from the clear blue sky, scorching the Earth beneath it, which if you’re Irish, will know that that is an extremely rare occurrence. We call it “exam weather” over here, because it’s a guaranteed two weeks of at least 17 degrees’ Celsius heat whilst the Leaving Cert examination takes place. Meanwhile I was observing this beauty from a room full of 30 sweaty students with woollen uniform jumpers on, and a maximum of only two windows opened in order to ventilate the room to prevent us from passing out because God forbid, the fresh air might be a source of distraction. Supposedly there’s a rule, that if a student dies during an exam, everyone in that room passes. I swear, during French I dared them to shut another one.