April 7, 2009
By Anonymous

Growing up is like waking from the dream of childhood. You can never be sure when and where it happened, but all of a sudden, you’re awake. You try to go back to sleep, to go back to your dream, but once it’s gone its lost forever. Your mind becomes clear, you can’t hide behind the fog of your imagination and you lose the ability to become whoever or whatever you want. You are who you are and being a teenager is all about accepting that fact and learning to get on with it.
When you’re small you divide your day into: getting-up-time, breakfast-time, play-time, lunch-time, play-time, dinner-time, bath-time, story-time and bedtime. However, sometimes you do something bad , and get sent to your room. When that happens you usually miss out on play-time. I’m not quite sure what age I was but it must have been quite small because there was someone with children my own age coming to our house which was why I was way over-excited. Unfortunately, just after they arrived I did something bad and got sent to my room. At first I just screamed, shouted, cried and generally threw a huge tantrum, but when I realised no-one was coming and that this was not the way to get the attention I craved, I distracted myself with a book. I don’t know how long I waited, or if it was really any time at all, but by the time mummy eventually opened the door she seemed surprised to find me sitting, tear stained in the corner of the room. She had completely forgotten about me. I thought this was dreadfully unfair and demanded to be allowed down stairs to play, but to no avail. I was plonked straight into a bath and then bed. I had learnt that lost time is lost forever. This was my first learning curve, one that I have never forgotten but not always heeded.
Apart from the odd incident like the one described, the first five years of my life were happy and carefree. Every change was an adventure. There were lots of changes, big and small, but back then, changes didn’t seem important enough to take into consideration as they just became a part of my daily life. However, there is a certain time in everyone’s life when the ordinary day-to-day events take a rapid turn. This for me was like a big bang. It shattered my world into thousands of tiny particles and left them floating around in space. The big bang is otherwise known as school.
I watched my mum walk off down the corridor, leaving me in outer space with nothing but a few confusing instructions and a scary, alien creature in a tweed skirt. I was on my own in the classroom except for the tweed skirt lady; she wasn’t taking any notice of me. I busied myself with staring absent minded at the brightly coloured displays on the wall. The class gradually filled up with raucous children. They all seemed to know each other but I was a new phenomenon to them. Girls came up to me and asked me if I knew where to put my coat, which was still tucked under my arm. When I said I didn’t, they lead me by the hand into a little dark cloak room hung with coats and bags. The only peg left was behind the door so that I had to half shut it before I could hang up my coat and lunch box. Everything was going fine; I had made friends (of sorts). Little did I know that everything was going to go fall apart.
Things are easily mixed up on that first worrying day at school. Especially if the only instructions you have are “do what the big girl over there does” and especially if the “big girl over there” happens to have brought a packed lunch. My mum, being a worrier, had put a break time snack into a lunch box for me. When the vast tweed skirt asked me whether I had a packed lunch or a school dinner as she took the register, I must have given her that blank look that I am now famous for because she sighed at me exasperatedly and asked me in an extremely patronising voice if I had a lunchbox with me. When I said that I did, she walked off and left me staring after her like a gobsmacked fish. I can’t really remember what happened next but I’m sure I didn’t dwell on it too much and just accepted the fact that it just the way school was going to be. Until lunchtime that is. As you can probably guess, I sat down with my newly found friends (who were so close I can’t remember their names), opened my lunch box, and of course saw nothing but a lonely chocolate bar sitting at the bottom of my lunchbox. I looked around the table at all the other children tucking in to ham sandwiches, cheesy dippers, and other things you might expect to find in your average children’s lunchbox. I did what any five-year-old would do in my situation, my lips wobbled, my eyes brimmed and I cried. People didn’t seem to notice me at first, but then a kind faced teachers assistant came up to me and asked me why I wasn’t eating. She saw my lunch box, gave me an understanding smile and said “You’re new aren’t you?”. She disappeared before I could answer. I never got lunch that day but I don’t remember feeling hungry. After what seemed like years, the school day was finally over. Everyone gathered up the pencil crayons, sticky scissors and dry glue into vague heaps in the middle of the tables. The tweed skirt lady, who I now knew was named Mrs. Bishop, issued instructions in her loud voice. I was swept away by the crowd of children at the sound of a deep, mellow bell but I couldn’t get to my coat and empty lunchbox soon enough. I was left alone in the side room; all the children had disappeared down the narrow corridor. I found my mum waiting anxiously for me in the playground when I eventually found my way out. She was on her own except for a few gossiping mothers standing but an iron gate that marked the end of the schools territory. In the car she asked me how my day was. I said that it was alright but I didn’t get any lunch.
I don’t remember much about the second day at school but at lunch time the kind faced woman met me at the entrance to the dinner hall and showed me where to wait in the queue. She stayed with me until I had plonked my green plastic tray with compartments filled with food onto the table that I had sat on the day before. Despite the bad start, I was happy at that first school . It was a local primary school except I was almost the only one who wasn’t local, I was also a year ahead of myself (I started in the year one class). I stayed in Mrs. Bishop’s class for two years and by the end, I was at the top of it. I also had a best friend, a shy but giggly girl my own age called Isobel. Together, we moved up through the classes, encountering all the obstacles that stood in our way. I had never really thought about the possibility of moving to another school, or if I did I assumed that I would stay with the rest of my classmates. That is, until around halfway through my 4th school year.
This was when I learned that my parents had decided to move me to a new school, a prep school. I vividly remember my parents driving me up the school drive that first time, for my taster day. My hair was restrained in a tight pony tail, my shoes polished. I remember feeling the butterflies in my stomach, my pony tail pulling at the back of my head. My parents kept turning and asking me if I was alright. I assured them I was and gave them a brave smile. They didn’t look convinced; maybe they were having second thoughts as well. As we drove around the corner I got my first view of the school itself. The thing that first struck me was its enormity. It was an old, grand, red bricked building quite different from the friendly, cosy school I was used to. It made me feel extremely small and insignificant; I had to fight hard to keep the butterflies in my stomach. The place was empty, lessons had already started. The large oak front door was decidedly shut. All I wanted to do was jump straight back into the car and drive off, but I was marched in through the heavy door. The front room looked just as ancient as the building itself with its shabby faded patterned carpet and old empty fire place. There was a door with the words “reception” on a bronze placard. My dad knocked on this door and told whoever was in there that I was having a taster day while my mum and I perched on a sofa. A blonde, smartly dressed woman came out and smiled at me. She told my parents that she would “take it from here”. I tried to hide my horror at being left with a small nod. My Mum didn’t look to happy about it either but she said that she would pick me up at half three. The blonde lady chipped in and said the school day didn’t officially finish until half past six, but if I really wanted to go home earlier I could. I told my mum that I didn’t mind staying, but regretted it as soon as I watched the oak front door bang behind my parents.
When, after five years ,the time came to leave, I could safely say that I enjoyed my time there. We were given a lot of freedom which lead to loads of fun times, although I often found myself in trouble for having a little too much fun. It was hard at first; I came home every day at six thirty absolutely knackered. I was worked hard as well. In my last year, Moor Park pushed me to getting a scholarship to my present school, Moreton hall.
When you wake up from a dream, and then try to tell someone about it, you will realise that most of the time your dreams make absolutely no sense at all. Except at the time, in the dream, everything made perfect sense. Childhood experiences are like that, they may seem insignificant to someone else, but they make you into the person you are. At senior school everyone expects you to be mature, organised, and generally sorted. But there are times when all I want to do is forget about my responsibilities, my future and people’s expectations. I want to turn the clock back and relive those years that flew by so quickly. The years spent in the safety of my own imagination, the real world shrouded in fog. But once you’ve woken from the dream there’s no going back. It’s called MATURITY.

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