A-Level (n.): a protracted method of twisting that which is beautiful into a cage of tedium.
Exam season has arrived, drawing swathes of once-vibrant youths to the limit, as they battle to jump through the cast-iron hoops of their examiners. Myself included.
Months of revision, months of dogma, months of pep-talks: we have been led to believe that our entire lives hinge on this one week. We have decided on our favourite university, our favourite course; we know what is needed to get us there.
9.00pm Go to bed early, read a couple of chapters of Breaking Dawn.
9.30pm Lamp off, eyes closed, think of anything but tomorrow.
10.00pm It’s hailing.
10.30pm Still hailing.
11.00pm Ok, this is ridiculous. Move into spare bedroom.
11.10pm There’s no way I’ll get eight hours sleep now… It doesn’t matter. You can still get seven- what difference can an hour make?
12.00am Need a glass of water… Don’t think about it.
12.15am But I’m so thirsty…
12.30am Right, I’m getting some water.
12.45am Seven hours isn’t going to happen… Six will be fine.
1.30am I literally can’t sleep… Shut up and put a relaxation CD on.
2.00am ‘Feel your whole body settling into the ground… your whole body…’
3.00am I am literally never going to sleep. What if I don’t sleep?… Well if you keep thinking about not sleeping then you’re on your way to finding out.
3.30am Counting sheep.
4.00am Stopped hailing- I’ll go back in my own bed.
4.30am Oh my God: I cannot remember how to sleep! What do you even do? Is there a special way? Is it just close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best?
5.00am May as well not go in tomorrow. Have essentially failed anyway… Stop being immature.
6.00am Just manage one hour- one hour of sleep, please!
6.30am What am I going to do? I have an exam in less than three hours.
6.45am Maybe if I pretend I have the onset of some awful disease…