(sadly I’m not referring to sexual innocence)
Tomorrow, A-level results are released here in England, the slips of paper and single letters devoid of meaning that are apparently more influential over our university options than our identities, interests, or characters. The day itself will be a mixture of fear, despair, and elation, all conveyed through the means of poorly-organised alphabetised queues dispensing bits of paper and envelopes to eighteen-year-olds faster than STDs at a Christian rave, where the alcohol is plentiful but contraceptives still totally banned.
I could stay up until midnight, frantically refreshing the UCAS homepage to see if my first-choice university has, indeed, given me an offer, but I’ll just wait until nine o’clock, when I will go to my school and be given my results in the archaic form of paper; essentially, the outcome of these exams has been settled for over a month now, so waiting an extra nine hours for my results is no problem, considering I get much more sleep that way.
This Summer has been by far the weirdest as a result; I’ve found devoting myself to work – in case I get in – has been difficult to motivate myself for, and devoting myself to enjoying my summer – in case I don’t get in and this is my only big holiday of the year – can’t be done without a niggling feeling that I should really be reading some poetry or something. I’ve basically had to settle for a halfway house of watching Naruto while talking about university stuff with a friend, a compromise I never through I’d reach.
I called this post ‘The Last Day Of Innocence’ because I feel that I will have lost some of my innocence as a student at the end of this process; this is the first set of exams to have a direct and meaningful impact on my later life – secondary school admission wasn’t based on the big, end-of-year-six SATs – and so whether I pass or fail, I’ll have undergone a process with a big impact on my future for the first time in my life.
If I ‘pass’, and I get the grades, I’ll have both lost my innocence as a school student, and my identity as one altogether as I’ll be able to move on with my life and get to university; if I ‘fail’, and don’t get the grades, I’ll have tried, sucked, and will have to repeat year thirteen with my tail between my legs, both wiser and angrier for the failures of what will be last summer.
But either way, I’ll be glad to have done something for myself – I wanted to complete these exams, and I have – and something difficult, as I don’t think the exams were a catastrophe or flawless victory so this should have been a challenge that I’m pretty close to matching.
I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow, but I might not upload a whole post about it – life’s too short for focusing on just one thing. And I’d like to say ‘best wishes’ to all of you getting results tomorrow, but honestly, I don’t know you and can’t be happy for your success, so I’m actually going to ask you to piss off and fail spectacularly, to keep the grade boundaries low for the rest of us.