All work and no play

I feel so sorry for Child One. Here she is, at her brand new shiny school, and she scarcely has a moment to enjoy it – or anything else for that matter. She spent Saturday going round a university, and she was supposed to go to a gallery yesterday for her Art A level. She was too tired – so she revised Reformation history instead and practised for a piano exam on Friday. She has assessments all the time, she has AS exams looming in only 9 weeks time, she has an UCAS statement to prepare and then she has to do the actual A levels. In the meantime, she has to do work experience whenever she can and develop hobbies interesting enough to make all these jaded universities sit up and take notice. Blimey, it’s harder work than a job out there in the real world.

By contrast, when I was doing A levels, I remember falling asleep in the park reading King Lear at least three times. I’m not sure I did anything at all in Year 12, and only remember working towards the end of Year 13. My UCAS statement was about two lines long, as I had no musical accomplishments, hobbies or interests. Way back then, you didn’t get to see the reference the school wrote about you. Mine apparently said I wrote poetry, which I didn’t, and which led to great confusion in one of my university interviews. And that was that – I got a place at university and my parents didn’t even have to pay.

I almost wish there was some sort of time machine I could push Child One into, so she didn’t have to go through these terrible stressful hoops they make teenagers jump through now. She could come out at 22, poised, with a degree under her belt, and then, hopefully, she will be the only one of her generation to get a job. Sigh. All this competition, all this money wasted on university, and there’s nothing really at the end of it for her generation. I just hope the economy perks up soon, or we’ll have droves of burnt-out over-achievers with very interesting hobbies in the dole queue.

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