Hi everyone, I am sorry that I have not written a post in over a month. I have been so busy with school and continuous assessments, unfortunately blogging has not been my top priority at the moment. I was also struggling to think about what to write in this post so I thought I would just give a sort of update on how I am doing, maybe some people might find it useful.
First things first, I have decided to only select the Accredited Grades option for my Leaving Cert. Up until this point whenever I have said that, I have felt a need to justify it, but as Arya Stark would say to Death, “Not today.” All I will explain is that it is the decision that suits me. Of course, I am looking forward to having a relaxing June that I had not originally scheduled, this does mean that right now school is a lot more stressful. I have to make sure I am fully prepared for the tests I now have because now they really matter.
Last week before the Easter Holidays, I had three tests. A mock-German oral, an English Poetry essay and a Geography test on Population, Migration and Urbanisation. This might surprise some people, the Geography one was actually the easiest of the three, a lot of it was just common sense. The German and English ones on the other hand felt nearly impossible. They both required a lot of rote-learning. I am sure that one day I will write a much longer passive aggressive article on the topic, but for now I will keep it simple: if something has to be rote-learned in a short amount of time for an exam, there is no true value in knowing it.
Over the past month, my mental health has really suffered. I was having meltdowns nearly every day and they were the bad ones, with screaming and crying and just generally falling apart and having to try and pick myself up again. Even when I was not in the midst of the existential crisis that is a meltdown, I could not say that I was okay, in my best moments I was neutral. I will be honest here and say that the attitudes of certain teachers, were certainly not helpful. I feel for them, I know that this timeframe is also hell for them, but it is not fair for them to offload all their stress and anxiety onto us when we cannot do the same with them.
I was very grateful to have a talk with my counsellor last Monday. Sometimes I worry how she will react when I tell her that I am struggling but she was kind and she did not judge me. She gave a great breathing technique, where I simply blow a big balloon. I like this as it is kind of brainless and easy to focus on. She also encouraged me to embrace little moments of rebellion with teachers, whether it be not studying one night or doing small things that a teacher would not like, but that does not do any harm. I will admit, it is my councillor’s sanctioning of this behaviour that allows me to do it, but it does make me feel better.
One thing that has also been really helpful is my councillor’s suggestion to make a note of three positive parts of my day. I have done this every night in my diary and it is not just good for the bad days but also for the boring ones. It allows me to find meaning in even the most asinine things. This is especially helpful right now, when I am kind of bored during my Easter holidays. She has also told me that I am not to feel guilty for the rather large amount of chocolate I have been consuming recently.
If you were to ask me how I am doing right now, I would say I am at the positive end of okay. I would also say that I am prepared for things not to be okay. I am lucky to have the break that is Easter, but I know it won’t last forever. The phrase I hear most often, usually from Mum when she is trying her best to comfort me is that after Easter, I only have five more weeks. In some ways I find that statement so complicated. I look forward to the summer and the freedom that comes along with it, but it will also be sad saying goodbye to school, which has become so familiar to me and change always has a slight element of fear involved for me.
If you are a fellow Sixth Year reading this, I hope things are as positive as they can be for you. For some people, this might mean studying for four hours a night as you prepare to sit all your exams to get over 550 points. For some people, this might mean doing the basics of self care, like showering regularly. Either way, the thing that is most important is that we look after ourselves. The weeks ahead are going to be hard, they will most likely take all that we have left to give, but if we do basic things, like making time in the day to acknowledge the good things in life, we will be left with a strong enough foundation to rebuild on.