From A-Levels to University places…what it’s like to turn 18!
One day you’re walking into your first day of secondary school, with the depressing thought of “I’m going to be here for the rest of my life”, then it feels as if two seconds later, you’re turning 18, leaving school; making decisions for yourself. The realisation hits – you’re actually expected to know what you want to do with your life…
I’m currently 17 years old, and about to enter my last ever year at school. The main thing that everyone is focusing on is their A Levels and trying to do the best that they can. But if you don’t have an idea of what you want to go on to once you’ve left year 13, then what are you working for? You need to have the motivation to carry yourself through the year, and that is what most of us are struggling with.
Our school have recently been asking us to ‘visualise where you think you’ll be by 2035’. Are. You. Kidding me? I really don’t understand how or why I’m expected to know this because to be honest, what weirdo spends their time planning out every single thing that they’re going to do during the next 17 years? Exactly. I get that you need a plan. Everyone needs a plan. But personally (I’m not just saying this because I’m a lazy teenager) it makes sense to me that you should just let some things happen without trying to control every aspect of your future, because what will be will be.
The topic of conversation amongst students my age right now is university. All anyone can talk about is open days, grade requirements, and how amazing the courses that they have chosen are, and for someone like me who isn’t 100% sure on what she wants to do yet, it makes me feel kinda scared tbh.
There’s a lot of pressure on A-Level students right now. Pressure to succeed. It doesn’t help that you’re turning 18, meaning you’re officially an ‘adult’, therefore everyone thinks you will be able to make all of these big decisions on your own! It’s one of the biggest years of our lives so far – if not the biggest – and teenagers do need a break every so often.
We often struggle with all the pressure and the constant nagging, and we sometimes feel as if we don’t have anyone to talk to about how we feel. Mental health issues are typically most common amongst teenagers and young adults. This can be because of anything, but it is often due to all the things that are being thrown at us, all at once around such a difficult and sensitive time: School work, friends, family, relationships, exams, focusing on career paths…the list is endless. A main problem that I personally struggle with is opening up about how I feel in these kind of situations. Something that constantly sticks in my mind is that I’m weak. Weak for struggling to cope with everything going on at the minute; that I cannot deal with the stress. Now after learning that most of my peers feel the exact same way, I don’t feel so helpless and nervous.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still so many positives about turning 18 – they just need to be balanced out amongst the struggles! Turning 18 means we are going to have such a larger sense of freedom, one that we have never felt before. It means that you are no longer considered a ‘baby’ and you can make decisions for yourself (personally something I cannot wait for).
In my opinion, that is one of the main challenges of turning 18 and becoming an adult – learning that you are not the only person feeling like everything is against you! Yes – some things are meant to be hard, because otherwise, what is the point? There would be no real sense of achievement. I believe that you should have to work hard to get to where you want to be, and that hard work will always show in your results! On the other hand, turning 18 is an inexplicably sensitive time for a young adult, where some days you can feel as if nothing is going your way, and that the world is against you. But other days, you can feel stronger than ever, and on top of the world!
Although there are endless challenges that come with turning 18, it DOES mean that I am feeling more motivated than ever; ready to overcome every big decision thrown at me – because this isn’t going to last forever! (I’m sure that when it’s over I’ll soon wish I was 18 all over again). Most of all, I am incredibly excited to begin one of the most important years of my life – feeling super strong and ready to take on anything! 🙂