Sunday, 3rd July, 2016
Nearly two weeks ago I completed the most taxing experience of my life so far – exams.
I know that it seems a bit melodramatic to give it such a title, but it wasn’t until the last minute panic of perceived ill-preparedness in a dusty library that the realisation was made:
- 3 Subjects:
- 20+ essays in one (between 2 exams) – Sociology
- 25+ essays in another (between 2 exams) – Psychology
- 4000 word coursework + 1 exam – Creative Writing
- The amount of material needed to learn is astronomical and I honestly don’t know how I managed to get through it all.
Now in the four years that I’ve had them, I’ve never let end of year examinations conquer me mentally or emotionally. Even this year, I coped better than most; but as it seems every year, the pressure to pass was paramount. What I get this year goes towards a final result that either sees me packing off to university, or going stale at my parents’ houses for the rest of my life, so you can imagine my need to get decent grades.
It’s now a cloudy Sunday evening, and I’m lost.
Although reconnecting with friends more has been as refreshing as anything, I do miss the weekly routine that I crafted over the past two years which I lived by religiously.
I have two homes, and so switch between them both frequently, I also have a grandmother that provides me with some of the best company (and meals) I could imagine, so she was in the mix also, and amongst it all, there was frequent revision sessions and general socialising. It’s funny because I created this schedule that centred around me and me alone, yet I managed to shape everyone else’s with it, and people would see me on my terms and not theirs.
Though the same schedule over such a long amount of time eventually became tedious and repetitive at the time, it allowed me to plan and live for that day and the next; to tick all the necessary boxes of things that needed to be done and at which location until whatever time. Ultimately, it gave me a control over my life that no one else could provide. So now that the routine is gone, so is the control.
I planned to give myself a ‘Lazy Week’ – the first week of the holidays where I would deservedly allow myself to sit and squander in junk food and crappy television, and when I wasn’t doing that I would be seeing friends until devilish hours of the night. The first night off was great, I stayed out with mates until 2am just because I could; and though it immediately damaged my sleeping pattern, it was nice to just walk about in the unfamiliar late night air without a care. Since then, I’ve re-watched and entire season of Dexter and Archer in bed, where admittedly I have spent about half of my days. However, I haven’t enjoyed this laziness as much as I expected.
Yes, it’s calming to lay in bed for hours without consequence and revisit some of the best TV out there, but I quickly learned that my college work was the one thing keeping me busy, giving me a goal that I was willing to achieve despite its challenges. And I thrived off of that, I even shaped mine and my family’s lives around it. My life without studying is just so sloshy and fluid. Anything goes nowadays, regardless of time or deadline – because there are none, I can do nothing and get away with it – and so I do.
It leaves me lost, without purpose. I’ve accidentally deprived myself of joy through simply overdosing on that which brings it. I no longer look forward to playing on the Xbox, because I haven’t earned it, watching Netflix is now a chore, but something I continue to do as an excuse not to get out of bed. It’s how every summer has been for the past three years, yet this time I’m not blind to the deprivation it brings, I don’t soak in it as I once did.
An easy solution would be to apply for a job, but I’m not sure I want one – I’m literally walking into money if I get into university, and the only thing I want is a laptop, which I’ve already saved up for. Plus my 18th is approaching, so drowning in a sea of the Queen’s and Darwin’s is expected. I could volunteer somewhere but I’m already committed to the radio, and if I was to work, I’d obviously prefer payment. But how else am I supposed to fill a weeks worth of time? I could start a new health regime, but I know I won’t commit; I’m healthy (looking) enough as it is.
I want to get a lot of writing done this summer, that I know. If I have one goal, it’s to get started on something big I have planned. I’m already nearing completion on my biggest writing project of this year, so expect big things on here soon, but I can’t just write to fill the time writing can I? I don’t think I have that much inspiration. However, I did buy a new journal recently, and I’m hoping that its pages are lined with creativity dust or something. It’s a cute little thing; purple as is my favourite colour, solid lines on which to write, it’s even got an space to write the date! (These are all important factors in picking the correct journal, even ask Niamh).
One thing that is on my ‘timetable’ is a new writing club I joined down at my local library. Not only are the members lovely (if not somewhat older than me), what better way to motivate to carry on writing than to join a group in which we share all the writing we have done the past week? On top of this, though they may be older, hearing the perspective they have on life in their stories is refreshingly different, and reminds me that there really was a time back then – a simpler time it seems.
Plus, there’s tea and biscuits…
My final point will be on what has truly kept me sane during this roller coaster of a fortnight. It’s something that I didn’t expect, but also something that can only have a positive impact on me and the people around me. You see, when I’m feeling low and lost (as I usually am nowadays), it helps if I just start cleaning things. Worktops, cupboards, whole rooms even. I actually cleaned a microwave for the first time this week – I never even thought those things needed cleaning until I looked at it closer. The tiniest specks and splotches of dirt, scum or crap on any surface tends to call my name nowadays and won’t stop until it’s treated by the firm scrubs of my scourer. I find myself getting lost in the catharsis of ridding my homes of unwanted mess. I turned my room upside down today, just to kill time, and found myself immersed in the process. I’m not saying that cleaning will soon become my true purpose in life, because I’ve seen what that can do to a person and it’s not pleasant. I just think that my lack of grip on recent days needs to be transmitted elsewhere, somewhere more productive.
I know that this summer I’m going to get heaps done, I’ll write more than I ever need to, just because writing is, and always will be my life. I’m still finding out things about myself this year and I’m expecting more of that to come once I move out; so until then I’ll live day by day, do what I enjoy and appreciate the time I have in my comfort zone while I have it. I think that is my purpose right now.