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Ansh Agrawal

The transition between primary and secondary school was a big one. The half-baked homework morphed into detailed essays, soft female teachers were replaced by enraged hairy males and worst of all were the countless people who strove to become perfect creatures of nature.

The constant pile of work fuelled my nervous disposition. GCSEs were coming soon. I chose my subjects and still regret picking music because I played the flute to grade 2 standard. They were abundantly irritating, especially with the masses of work which had no relevance to the brilliant career I had planned.

Along with GCSEs came the expectation to receive top grades and above all the extra pressures of the 21st century like social media; the kind adults simply seemed incapable of comprehending.

Tension grew and even the ‘not so bright’ children claimed they would buckle up. More competition piled. Tests flooded in. One after the other they hit. Despite not being taught much of the exam content, we were told it was somehow always our fault and were given the overused title: disorganised.

One after another, topics which we had only been studying for days resulted in a test, surrounded by the silence of nervous classmates and the alarming gaze of what would have passed as a sumo wrestler. Despite my better instincts, I soldiered on. Others unfortunately embraced the idea of a detention and continued to neglect the responsibilities that came with age.

It was 2020, another year, or so I thought. It was the start of a new decade and another chance to make new year resolutions that we would forget about the next day. Obviously, mocks weren’t that important. It was the real exams that counted. Mocks passed and most relaxed as before, some questioned teachers about oddly counted marks and worried that their questions had not been fully answered (the teachers really enjoyed watching us suffer).

I felt relieved consoling myself that only the real exams mattered. I had planned to study hard, burn precious midnight oil, knuckle down and absolutely focus on my exams. as I seem to recall.

Days passed and the coronavirus pandemic was growing. It soon became apparent GCSE exams may be cancelled and if that were to happen…

I found myself watching news for the first time.

My dream to get a perfect slate had been wiped away. I wish I had been nicer to my teachers now that I think about it!

Oh, well – all I could do was to embrace the new lazy lifestyle to accommodate the government’s (in)decision, make up for lost time and try to suck up as much as possible to my teachers online when Wi-Fi worked.

I didn’t get much sleep before results’ day hoping that my teachers had appreciated my newfound motivation to impress them and thinking about the best excuses just in case.

What a shock – a decent number of passes, even a 5 in music! Not bad all considered. I wonder if the coronavirus pandemic would affect my A level exams too?

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