I had a terrible dream the other night. I was trapped in a long dark tunnel that seemed to go on for miles. I couldn’t see a thing. It was suffocating, claustrophobic, frightening – overwhelmingly so and I didn’t know if I was going to make it out alive. A traumatic experience indeed.
As I was walking down this tunnel of doom, I noticed a light off in the distance. Fuelled by my newfound hope, I ran for the exit. I ran for hours (or was it seconds, I can’t remember), but the light never seemed to come closer.
Just as the darkness (enveloped me entirely) was about to overcome me, the tunnel vanished and I found myself in the open. There was a cool breeze and the sound of chirping that one might hear at the end of some gruesome horror movie where there’s only one survivor.
The feeling of liberation was beyond relieving. But despite this freedom, I couldn’t help but feel an odd emptiness as well as the feeling that there was something else in wait for me.
None of this is actually a description of my nightmare. This was exactly how I felt, during and after my A’ level exams and many others might have felt the same way.
Midway through my exams, I almost gave in to the feeling of mental exhaustion. Good thing I didn’t, because out of nowhere, I had finished solving the last Physics MCQs and I felt that lovely cool breeze, even though it was burning hot and I could feel my sweat boiling. But I guess the feeling of resolution beats the feeling of dying in the heat.
As for the dark anticipation I felt later, it’s merely Post CIE Stress Disorder which I’m sure I’ll shake off soon. What I can’t shake off, however, is the excitement for university. I will be saying goodbye to the British Councils reign of terror forever and I will never have to put up with that painful introduction that they give before the start of each exam.
Speaking of which, did anyone even listen to that hogwash? Hogwash; what an interesting word. I think I’ll use it more often now.
While that goodbye is more of a good riddance, I have more sentimental feelings towards leaving behind something dear to me. Amidst all the celebrations of ending the exams and going off abroad for higher education, I forgot that I would no longer be part of an institution that I spent 12 years in — Aitchison.
I realised that I would never feel that annoyance at having to wake up at 5am to get ready for school, that much needed respite at break time and that sense of familiarity and belonging while walking amongst crowds of similarly dressed students, the things I took for granted for most of my life at my school.
Life is a fine balance of holding on and letting go. I will bid farewell to a wonderful institution, which houses a multitude of traditions, I will hold on to all the memories, the good and the bad; both nurtured me. I will let go of one phase of my life only to welcome another phase – one I am afraid of yet equally excited to enter.