Short diary entry by Amy Stanborough
Tomorrow will be my last first day of school. There will be no packed lunch box with a note from my mum zipped away saying something like “have a good day!” This year there will not be a final parent’s evening completed with a hug from my dad, telling me how proud he is (words of affirmation have always been my love language). Nan and grandad won’t be at the school gates, waiting to take me home with a bag of randoms in the side pocket of the car door for me. This year I have not got new pens or had any last minute homework to scribble and rush. I just have my iPad and a Mary Wollstonecraft novel. This year is the one my whole educational and academic life has been working towards. I will finally graduate and hold the piece of paper to prove my hard work and intelligence. I once thought those certificates were impossible to attain, only available if I followed the scarecrow down the yellow brick road and politely asked the Wizard of Oz to magic me a degree. I have lost count of how many books I have read this year, let alone how many I have read in my twenty-one years.
God, that went fast. I started journaling regularly like this when I finished year eleven, and now I am going into my third year of a Bachelors. I hope little me knows that the Year Six booster sessions are worth it, and that her grade 4 in music GCSE really does not matter because in hindsight, the one subject and grade that did matter was English. The subject that sparked conversations about race and gender; that made me fall in love with the aesthetic of novels, cuppas and sunsets. The subject that taught me there is a term for studying the relationship between people and places - psychogeography. The subject that no story is ever too small or mundane, and mine is one worth cherishing, a story worth writing about. I sometimes wonder why I chose English as a degree when I want to work in journalism or media or marketing. It is because I love stories. Not just novels, but stories. The stories, in things and objects; adventures and journeys; people and their businesses. I love the story of how, one day, I went to school for the first time and my parents were worried but proud as they waved me goodbye. Tomorrow I start my final year of university and I know my parents are proud, but no longer worried because that little girl they once knew became everything she wanted to be in her eighteen years of education. Twenty-one years of learning life’s stories beyond the books.
The chapters and sequels that follow will only be an enhancement of that.
Artwork courtesy of Aanchal Chawla