Only Sixteen

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

That was half my life ago! I think what I remember most about being 16 is leaving school and doing my exams. I felt a lot of pressure doing my GCSEs and possibly didn’t cope too well while I was doing them despite getting half decent results.

I had done exams twice a year from a young age. I remember doing a test in class with bags sitting on our desks to make sure we didn’t copy the answers from the person next to us when I’ll have been maybe 6 or 7. Incidentally, I also remember the tank of frog spawn sitting on the window ledge in that classroom! Other earliest memories from school were meeting Jamie Spencer for the first time, being taught to write, milk cartons, Andrew Carter forgetting his lines in the school nativity and someone checking I was alright after my brother headbutted a door handle and had to go to hospital. But I digress…

So it wasn’t like I hadn’t had practice at exams, but GCSEs were the first set that, at the time, you see as affecting the rest of your life. They carry importance at that age however much they are belittled as one gets older. Part of my worry was caused by letting people down (specifically the people who paid for my school fees – I was very lucky to have gone to the school I did) and that people would think less of me if I failed.

I can’t say I was a stressed individual though, but I will need to caveat that to say that self-assessment wasn’t something I did as a matter of course at 16. I review situations and behaviours to see what I could do better more as an evolutionist from the base I’ve created over the previous x number of years of my life, rather than as a revolutionist starting over. Some of the same fears still persist, but I’m much more pragmatic now about what I can and can’t control.

So what else about being 16? Umm… My horrific idea of wearing a red shirt with cream trousers. And it wasn’t just red, it was RED! Not proud. McDonalds every day for three weeks when we started college, before it became too much of a hassle to walk down there. Having the head of the school choir as a girlfriend. How cool it was when school got drinks vending machines. Final Fantasy VII. Fred Perry polo shirts. Summer working on the farm and running my CV padding “lawn mowing business”. I fear I’m digressing again… Or not, which is more worrying, so I’ll stop now.

Every night I dream the same dream
Of getting older and older all the time.
I ask you now, what does this mean?
Are these problems just in my mind?

16 by Green Day

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