Today was my last A-Level exam.
What the fuck???
After 7 exams and the most exhausting and draining two weeks of my life, I’m done. Should I say two years? 7 years? My time in “traditional” secondary education is over. 7 exams, 3 subjects, and it’s over. I don’t know how to process that.
Looking back on it, I worked myself to the ground and I only hope that it was worth it. The exams themselves ranged from reasonably alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire. I revised constantly – though I must say, it took me a while – and the only thing that existed for the last month, for me, was work and exams and not letting the crying that wanted to get out escape. It all feels strange now – so much of what I did was orientated around trying to keep afloat through it all. Until it was over. Now, it is.
I’m going to write an exam recap – in my typical, “WHAT WAS THIS HELP NO” fashion – and post it tomorrow. Until then, I don’t know what I’ll do. I feel cut loose, with strings of unfinished thoughts trailing behind me. I’m exhausted from a breakdown I had yesterday; I’m just tired in general. I’ve barely been getting sufficient sleep and at the worst points, I felt like I was going to scream unstoppably.
When my last exam ended – Psychology – I cried. I cried when I left the VI unit (place where I do my exams) and I cried whilst I waited to go home, when I was saying goodbye to the teachers who’d adapted my work for 7 years. I cried when I said goodbye to the taxi driver who’d driven me to school, every day, for the last 6 years, when he said I was like a second daughter to him. It was a day of tears that stung my eyes and near-tears that shimmered just behind them. All of this seems bland and blank: I want to have the presence of mind to describe my emotions but that’ll come with time.
Now, I feel listless. The purposeful drive will come tomorrow, when I decide I need to write and read, to sing and to reconcile with people who I’ve needed to gain closure from for years. I’ll get sudden bursts of inspiration; I’ll have a myriad of blogging ideas that clammer to be written. I’ll want to piece together my identity piece by piece. But for now? I don’t want to do any of that. I want to sleep, or feel these overwhelming feelings of complete sadness that have been overdue. Suppressing your mental health through exams is genuinely painful and I don’t know why I did it to such a horrible extent but it’s done now. All I can do is pick myself up after and not lose contact with the world around me whilst I’m doing that.
I’m so tired. I’ve said that already but it bears repeating. Who am I now that I’m not just trying to survive until the end of exams? Who am I now that I have feelings and confusion I can’t understand?
The only thing I regret right now is only being a shadow of myself when I spoke to, and met, some of the important people in my life. I’m afraid that they won’t recognise me now. Saying that, it’s not like I’ll have a personality turn-around, or that ending A-Levels suddenly makes me change. It’s just that I’ve repressed so much of myself to be able to cope that I don’t really know what to expect now. Does that make any sense?
A-Levels were awful; I can’t deny that. However, they did teach me things. I can work if I try and I can get through things, when at times I genuinely didn’t think I would. My mental health gets so bad at times that I feel as if everything’s hopeless and terrible; it only got worse with A-Levels. But I did it. I’m alive. I’m here. Is that enough to be proud of myself?
I’ve missed this blog, writing and feeling like I can truly call my work my own. Primarily, I want to get that back in the next few months. I’m out of the worst now, right?
This doesn’t feel quite like a victory. It feels more bittersweet but I’m celebrating, in my own way. An era of my life is over and I don’t know who I’ll become in the next one. Perhaps I’ll have a major crisis in my mind this summer; perhaps I won’t. I think that now everything is done, I need to start processing.
Maybe I’m on my way to okay, and then on the way to happy. I’ve got the entire summer to figure that out.
Have you had exams? If so, how have they gone?
Love from Elm 🙂