There are days (although I’ll admit that they’re becoming less frequent) when I want nothing more than to go back to school. Today is one of those days.
The difference between school and university is that at school, there’s someone who cares. You may not always realise it, but there’s always someone watching out for you, making sure that you’re okay.
It’s not like that at university. To lecturers, your face is lost in the crowds, and when you’re feeling down, it’s all too easy to hide in your room. You can put on a smile when you need to cook, and blame the sleepiness on a hard night out to your friends in lectures. It doesn’t matter that it’s a lie, they’ll go for it. They don’t know you any better. It’s not their fault, I know that. I don’t want them to know that I’m ill, because I don’t like being weak and people fussing over me.
But at the same time, I guess I need someone to notice. Sometimes it makes you feel loved to hear someone ask ‘are you okay?’
And recently, I’m in more pain than I’ve been in for a long time. Some combination of on going problems, a new pill, and iron deficiency has left me in a pit of headaches, sleepiness, nausea, and other grim symptoms. I’m struggling to get out of bed in the morning, and not allowing my eyes to close in lectures is basically impossible. I should see a doctor. But I won’t go again, because he might tell me things that I don’t want to hear.
But I don’t get ill. I pride myself on how little schooling I’ve missed through illness, my ability to persevere and cope, unless I’m literally throwing up in the toilet (which hasn’t happened for years!). But I’m struggling right now.
But nobody knows me well enough. Nobody will check that I’m okay or make me stop for a few days, and so the cycle is endless, the headache is back, and I’m even more behind with work than I was before.
However much I may have hated the fussing over me, the endless questions in flute lessons about how I was coping, or teachers giving me a sympathetic smile after I messed up yet another exam, at least someone knew me. They knew when I wasn’t okay, and they didn’t always have to ask questions. Because I was not just another face in the crowd, I was a human being, and I’d like to think that they truly cared.
There’s some days when I plan what A Levels I could take if I went back, and what I’d do with all my time.
Tomorrow, I’ll probably wake up dreaming of the future, and so grateful that those teachers ever helped me to get where I am. To be who I am. To be studying this course. Tomorrow, I’ll realise that dwelling on the past helps no one.
But I think a part of me will always miss my school days.