Zoe McDonald (12B)

There is something so profoundly honest about the feeling at the end of your schooling years. It’s this naïve giggle, a gasp of oversaturated images collected like shiny pieces from older friends, cousins, siblings; it’s this ripple that seems to go through each and every girl, where we take the step from child to adult.

It’s in this honesty where we find the fear – the terror at how vast oblivion seems and how dimly lit the path of the future is. It is the wholly-enveloping, mind-numbing fear of making one of the biggest decisions of our lives. It is where we define ourselves as adults.

With this decision comes the finality of who you are. You are choosing your identity, and for the first time, you have complete control over what that is. There is no one telling you who you have to be – of course, there is sometimes the persistent push of parents or the grudging grit of teeth from older family members – but for the very first time in your entire life, none of them can do anything about it. You, and you alone, have the final decision.

When you’re in that transition stage, where the phases overlap and the line between adult and adolescent becomes hazy, there is a completely foreign feeling that replaces the immaturity and the passivity within you – a need to be respected.

When you are younger, there is a certain sense of submissiveness within you. Whenever an adult confronts you or reprimands you, although you may roll your eyes or initially feel angry, there is always a small part of you that feels guilty at disappointing someone older than you. You are the child, they are the adult – it’s the natural way of things.

But when you reach the critical transition stage, where you’re sitting right on the cusp of adulthood and all the responsibility that comes with it, that disappointment is replaced with disregard, or even contempt; the dynamics have changed. You are no longer the child.

Your metamorphosis brings with it a new sense of entitlement – an entitlement to respect, from both your peers and your teachers, and from society as a whole. You feel a need to be treated not as inferiors, but as equals. You want to stand in the middle of this firestorm of grades and lectures and unrelenting pressure and scream – you want to be unafraid, despite the all-consuming fear lapping at the edges of it all; you want to be wholly eager, despite the earnest brush of nostalgia against your heart; and you want to be seen completely as an adult, despite your numerous relapses into a state of childishness.

So it is here, amongst these words, where I hope you can remember your final year of school – the tears, the fervent joy of taking the final step, and most of all, how you blazed so brightly amongst the darkness of the future.