My Last Year: Reflections of a Head Girl
As Tori’s time as Head Girl nears its end, she reflects on her time in SGS:
I only have a few months left as Head of School at Stafford Grammar School, therefore I thought I would write about some of my thoughts concerning my eleventh and last year.
Reflection: The Past
As a student at Stafford Grammar School, I have been quite consistent in academics. Doing well in the classroom and in exams are an important part of life, especially if you plan on taking a competitive degree course or attending a Russell group university. However, I have found it is important to have other interests, such as sport, to take your mind off all the stress that is associated with school. It is strange to think that in my first year at SPS when I was aged 7, I thought I would never reach Upper Sixth. I remember looking at the sixth form students in their smart blue suits, and thinking they looked like “adults”. Yet, now I am here, in Year 13, I can honestly say that I don’t think my classmates or I look or feel as old as the sixth formers did back in 2012. Its all perspective I suppose, as even though we are all old enough to drive and some of my peers can legally drink, it’s difficult to think of us as adults. That said, I can safely say I am more grown up and mature than I was back then, though I still have a long way to go!
Head of School: The Present
Being chosen as Head of School was honestly one of the proudest moments of my life. However, realising I was going to have to make a speech in front of the whole school, governors and parents was one of the most stressful moments. Once I found out about my position I was overwhelmed with support from family and friends, but this never seemed to reduce my anxiety surrounding my prize-giving speech. As the day approached, I remember feeling as though a success would be to simply get through the speech without fainting. But, weirdly, on the day of the speech I was more relaxed than I thought. My rehearsal in the sports hall a few hours before went well, but as I had never done LAMDA or a school play, I had never performed in front of such a large crowd. This was concerning. As I drove to school an hour before prize giving, thoughts such as “I could just keep driving and miss the speech” definitely did pop into my mind. After meeting the governors and speaking to some of the teachers in a small reception, I was beginning to feel my heart beat faster and my hands perspire. I could barely talk to anyone. Waiting for my time to speak was agonising, it felt like time stood still. Finally, I was introduced by one of the governors and as I was walking to the stage, my heart felt like it was about to burst out of my chest. It was all down to this, all the hours practising, and as I safely reached the top of the stairs and turned, I saw nothing but darkness. I couldn’t believe it! It was like I was the only person in the room. The room was so dark that I couldn’t see a single face. It felt like I was cheating in an exam (not that I would know what that feels like!). After I had safely made it back to my seat I couldn’t believe it was all over. But if you told me I could do it all again…let’s just say I am happy to say I did it once!
University: The Future
Unsurprisingly, thinking about taking my A-Level exams in May is an excruciatingly painful topic on many different levels. Firstly, as anyone who is or has been in Year 13 will know, A levels are difficult to say the least. They are also the only barrier left between you and the next chapter of your life. For me, my new chapter will be attending university, which is something that I have been looking forward to since the beginning of Sixth Form. Independence and change are key words which spring to mind when I think of university life, but ultimately it represents a new challenge. My choice to study Law is a decision I did not take lightly, but after much consideration and research it seemed the best fit for me. Studying Law goes very well with the two of my final three A levels (English Literature and History). Additionally, after my work experience at a solicitors I feel confident that I will be able to succeed and enjoy the subject. But of course, I would be being dishonest if I didn’t admit that my eagerness to attend university is also due to the chance to live away from my parents! Not because I dislike living at home, but I have always been quite independent. Therefore the prospect of living away and developing new life skills is quite exciting. The thought of playing hockey at university, as well as the student nightlife, sounds rather appealing too. However, part of studying law at university is that unconditional offers are uncommon and so in order to read law at university, you must do well in your A-levels. The pressure!
When I was asked to write this piece, I could have written about so many different moments from my time in school. I chose to write about these three different topics because they represent my past, present and future. As myself and my friends near the end of our time here, we often “reflect” on the many happy memories we have, and how our lives have changed since the days of the prep. The prize-giving speech was the biggest personal challenge I have faced, but is the high-point of my school career. Finally, I wrote about my intention to study at university because it represents my future. Everyone’s final year at school is different, but I am sure they will all agree to a certain extent that it was the hardest and greatest one of all.