When they told me A-levels would be tough, I shrugged. Sure, I thought, there will be a lot of work. Yes, it will take a lot of time. Yes, I’ll still write as often as I can.
I was wrong about all three assumptions. I do have a lot of work, but it’s not unreasonable and the beauty of the humanities is that essays are never due the next day. Also, an history essay seems less painful than a chemistry sheet, even if it takes three times as long. Secondly, the individual pieces of work do take a long time, but it does not seem much worse than juggling eleven different subjects all with short pieces attached. What I did not bargain for was the extra-ordinary physical and mental effort required. My cerebral palsy makes an essay quite laborious, so even when I do have time to write all I can do is sit in front of the telly and vegetate.
Which is a shame, because I miss blogging. It’s my thing. It’s here that I express my interests and passions – politics, current affairs and equality. It’s here I get to develop a voice – another thing cerebral palsy makes slightly tricky in the real world. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s here that I can just be.
Apart from essays, I have been doing other things. I’ve begun researching universities. A while ago I went to look at Warwick, which is fab, and next week I’m going on a tour at Cambridge. I have to say, however much I love my family and friends at home, I can’t wait for such an opportunity to start over. So I’m really enjoying deciding where and how I will do this.
I’ve also been indulging my interest in my beloved social sciences. As a prospective social science student, I am starting to read around these subjects. With politics being my main passion, I read The Economist practically cover to cover every week, and have just started Jonathan Powell’s book The New Machiavelli – an account of his time with Blair in Downing Street. Not only does it brilliantly display some of the key concepts of politics at AS, it also provides a (biased) window into the life of actual politics and power. But I am also trying to branch out into the other social sciences. I am beginning to explore sociology, philosophy, anthropology, international relations, law and psychology. To many this will all sound rather nerdy and slightly obscure, but for me these qualities just add to the charm of these disciplines. I discovered a new service on my iPhone called iTunes U. It lets you download free lectures from loads of academic institutions so I’ve downloaded about fifty to watch during the summer or in some miraculous spare time.
I’ve also been working on my campaign World on Wheels. I had a reply from TfL to my letter complaining about the inaccessibility of London’s bus service. They basically said that everything I am asking for is already meant to happen and they do not know why it does not. This is clearly not satisfactory and I will be replying soon. I also gave an assembly on WOW to my sixth form. I am so grateful for all the support they have given me, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all you Paulinas for caring so much.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I am dedicating this post to Nat. RIP.