Yesterday was my last ever day of school and I still haven't quite recovered from the realisation that I am very nearly free from compulsory education! It's safe to say it truly is the end of an era, as I've been at my current school for all my primary and secondary education and known the same people for twelve long years. We've been through so much together, from running around playing made-up games when we were six to becoming the mature adults we are now (not to mention the awkward puberty stage) with countless memories along the way. There are so many school trips, memorable lessons, projects we've worked on and other general experiences which are unforgettable - the people I've known for most of my life are the ones who have shaped me as a person growing up and I like to think those parts of me will stay with me forever.
But while I'll miss the people I know I'll miss the place almost as much. Those orange brick buildings, nestled in the heart of Brussels and surrounded by a mixture of sparse greenery and concrete, will always hold so much meaning for me. I have quite literally grown up there, and the thought of not spending eight hours each day on the campus is more destabilising than I might care to admit. When you've spent so long in what is essentially a bubble of education and friendship, where you have such a feeling of safety and being at home, it's the scary to think that that safety net will no longer be there - you're on your own from now on.
And of course, an end like this means a new beginning is on the horizon. In the autumn I'll be off to university in the UK - the country change is an adventure in itself, but I'm so excited for all the new opportunities I'll have, both academic and personal. I can't wait to live in a country which has always been a sort of ideal for me growing up, a strangely magical kind of place which combines the feeling of coming home with the feeling of going on holiday. I can't wait to soak up as much information as possible and learn about things that I'm really passionate about, rather than being forced to take certain subjects I have no interest in. And I can't wait to meet new people from different backgrounds and hopefully make friends for life.
But there'll be no forgetting the friends who I've known for two thirds of my life so far - I don't think that's even vaguely possible. The struggle is going to be letting go enough to be able to move on, while also keeping hold of the past. As you might have noticed, I'm a very nostalgic person, so here are just a few things I'll miss most about these twelve years at my school:
- Going out for lunch with my friends on sunny days
- Sitting on the grass and making daisy chains
- Taking the bus with my friends in the mornings and evenings
- Hanging out at the lockers first thing in the morning, especially the days after holidays when everyone's catching up
- School trips, especially the recent ones in secondary
- The library with its pitiful selection of books (albeit in seven languages)
- The art building with its warren of staircases and corridors
- Walking down a corridor and hearing multiple languages being spoken
- The smell of coffee near the staff room on the third floor
- Getting our timetables at the beginning of every year
- The first day of school after the summer holidays
Nope I'm not crying, there must be something in my eye...