Tuesday 1 December 2015

Reflections on the past and how far I've come

Sophie writes about how the Christmas holidays can be used to reconnect with people who have supported you in the past...

- Sophie Rees 

It was a cold winter’s morning in the middle of December as I was walking the familiar road to the entrance of my old sixth form. I had just completed my first semester at university which had gone by like the speed of lightening and the Christmas holidays had just begun for me. Since my sixth form was also my high school, I felt it important to take a visit to let my teachers and the staff I knew how I was getting along at university. The school had but a week left until they were to take their own Christmas holiday for the season and the holiday vibe was present all around the school. I first approached the main office who had decorated their working area with shiny tinsel and a tall, homely looking Christmas tree. After going to university whilst living at home and leaving my sixth form days behind, this was all so wonderful to see again.

As I went inside the building, I signed in as a visitor rather than a student which felt quite weird but made perfect sense, the lady at the office instantly recognised me and gave me a beaming smile. She said, “Oh! It’s Sophie” and gathered the staff around her to see me. I explained that I was now at Cardiff University studying Journalism and English Literature and that I had come to visit before the school had broken up for the Christmas holidays themselves. Everyone was so intrigued by my visit and it made me feel part of the school again. It was lovely to have been greeted this way. I went around sixth form concentrating so much on my A levels and meeting my friends whilst recovering from my anorexia and didn’t realise how many people knew of me and cared about how I had been.
After this, I wandered through the school building in search of my A level teachers, hoping that they would be in the same rooms they had when I was taught by them. The building had a fresh new look to it with new painted walls, new student artwork and even the kids wore a new school uniform. 

Although these new things were now here, I still felt like I knew this place like the back of my hand. I peak through the door to the sixth form common room as I pass and nothing has changed there. I imagined all the times I would have been in that very room with my friends worrying over my university application or next essay result and yet here I was now as the accomplished student visiting from university. I eventually found all my teachers from A levels and they were all just as happy to see me as the office staff were. I could tell they were all super proud of what I was doing at university and that I had enjoyed my first semester, it felt great to finally see them and to share my gladness with them too.

In total I had visited for just under an hour but it felt as though I had been there for ages. As I exited the school gates, I left feeling as if a part of me was still in the sixth form. This visit was totally worth my time before Christmas and exams, it felt great to be remembered as a successful role model for the school. Education and studies is important at all stages to us as a person to develop our own footprint and memories that we have of ourselves, so that we can look back and be proud of what we have been through, overcome and have achieved.

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