Headfirst/there is no escape

The state of waiting is over. The race has begun. Let me be neither the tortoise or the hare, but my self (others’ lives are a scare, will explain later).

This week I finished my personal statement and university application form, which will be checked over by my teachers before I officially apply. I am not fully awake right now, I am tired but trying to escape or find some better purpose than schoolwork and homework. Dad is still not well enough to return to work, but, fortunately, his hearing aids have come!

In the morning, 3 questions I decided I would like to ask myself (in no particular order):

  1. Will my father get better?
  2. Will I get into Cambridge?
  3. Will I publish my book?

The first and last are the most important, although they are all significant for different reasons.

I have much to say, but little awakeness.

I will try to recall the sentences I weaved in my head earlier today on the journey home from school:

The self-sacrifice, holy and whole submission to the system here is comparable to the self-sacrifice that the Christian religion demands.

Reasons why I want to go to Cambridge:

  1. Beautiful place, most beloved in terms of location, architecture and atmosphere of all the universities I have visited!
  2. Awesome lecturers and supervisions- should make an interesting education!
  3. Location- close by, in case anyone in my family gets ill.
  4. Prestige…
  5. Money (I know this shit from sociology and too much sensitive data)
  6. Mixture of private/state school students
  7. My father is very smart and comes from a poor background, however he did not get into the Chinese equivalent of Oxbridge for various reasons, therefore I want to make it up for him by getting into Cambridge, because I know I stand a good chance. Also because my father has not been well so I want to make him happy.
  8. Childhood dreams… perhaps something I have little freewill over since I didn’t choose to spend my 4th birthday at Cambridge (although I did consent to it for my 16th!), that’s how things went.
  9. I have the opportunity to. When I was younger, I wasn’t particularly smart, or at least I wasn’t perceived to be. It wasn’t until I was 13 I made the decisive realisation that I could/should aim for the highest grades possible, and it wasn’t until I was 16 that I had the grades the would give me the greenlights. I have high predicted grades, but a candidate that looks good on paper must look good in the interview. Also, many people simply do not have the support to apply to Cambridge, which is why I am trying my best to use this opportunity (will leave it to you to spot the irony and the cyclical argument here…)
  10. Range! The course is run by a broad range of specialists, unlike at other universities where certain topics aren’t really given that much depth and the choices are narrower (esp. Durham).

There are probably more reasons, quite tired.

I did get a headache today.

The attitude I have to things now, means everything.

It will hurt if I do not get in, because there will definitely be noticeable swathes of people at my school who do get in.

And my father’s health, means I haven’t been able to devote my full concentration to homework.

And then, my own desire to escape this cycle of death, this death of the self (perceived).


The End is Nigh/Before the Storm: Reflections on the Summer

Yesterday I felt rather calm, and the day before, even calmer. But slowly, I felt the breeze prickling my skin, memories of mind violence come flashing back to me sporadically. Excitement, restlessness, anxiety.

Many things happened this holiday. And all I can say was that it did not go as planned, at all.

When I came back from holiday, I actually got past my ennui pretty quickly. Which was nice. But then sizzling temperatures of 30 degrees celsius and above left me unable to work after lunch. And then, my dad fell ill. I had to take him to hospital many times, and at the start I was extremely scared. My mum wasn’t in the country, and I couldn’t drive. Luckily my dad and me managed to get to the hospital, even though he could barely walk and needed a wheelchair- the ambulance (999) had refused us. His illness was re-diagnosed several times, and the doctors kept on messing around and changing his medicine. Anyway, he recovered some of his hearing, stopped puking and is able to walk now. However he still has severe tinnitus which is preventing him from returning to normal life and work. I am grateful for the fact my dad has an stable job, which he won’t lose if he is ill for a long period of time. This is a privilege I know many people do not have. I remember when my mum lost her job after she went to visit her dying father abroad for 2 weeks. But looking back, it’s for the best that she quit that job, if people there were really that horrible. Her wages weren’t good and she had to work long hours. Although it was a few years before she found a good job, I am happy that she has a stable job now that pays at least the minimum wage.

I wasn’t able to read as many books as I wanted. Partially because I was note-taking which meant it took 2-4 weeks to complete a book. I did a lot of revision this summer (well not “a lot” but more than in the past summers).

At the start of July I forced myself to start writing to participate in Nanowrimo. This was both a good and bad idea. Good that I wrote. Bad that I went straight into it without being able to plan. This was because I was still at school for all of June so I couldn’t do any planning. I went on holiday and I fell behind by a week. I tried to catch up. I joined a chat with other people who were doing a word war, which gave me writing anxiety. Then my dad’s illness came. Then, I finally became passionate about my ideas and stories again. A lot more planning. Then, I finally feel ready to write. Although I only write a very small part. A lot of rearranging of the first few scenes. I can see where the connections must fall. But I must think of them. A bit ugh. I still need to get past my problem with writing.

In the last week of the holiday, I finally met up with my friend D. We talked about lots of stuff in small chunks. She disliked the school. She had become a nicer person two months away from the English clique. I wondered if I should talk about school. She was extremely scared about what was coming. The weather was warm, sunny, and stifling in some of the museum rooms. Unfortunately both of us get a bit frazzled in extemely hot weather.

Didn’t talk to my friends for 3 weeks. Although I really needed someone to talk to as my father was ill (they talked to me for the first two weeks, but not much afterwards). Was disappointed, desperate. Angry, needy. Finally met up with them yesterday. Although they may have solved one problem, they have many to solve. Listening to their personal problems and existential crises, I expected myself to give some enlightening advice or sweetening words a la my old self, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have much to say, I felt a bit empty, as if listening was filling my time- both good and bad. I was nice to hear someone, they thought it was nice to hear their voice again.

Didn’t finish the essay for the competition on time. Could have did it today, but I would have rather have rested before the storm. The storm, all that must come.

University, Cambridge- exam-interview-rejection/acceptance/pool, examinations. Also, societies. Sounds like nothing in these condensed words. But I sense the mind violence and paracetamol, sweat-filled nightmares, compulsory sleep on a conveyor belt of work. Weekends spent doing essays, spare moments used to calculate the order of work, surreal philosophical bus journeys. Cold. Winter. Oh and. Interview practise, exam practise, and a hundred other stressed Oxbridge applicants, some who think private school students are oppressed by state school students via positive discrimination/affirmation. All my friends on caffeine again. Anger at the teachers, the terrible teachers who do not teach. Trying to catch up on scarcely available ideas of Plato & their criticisms (irony) and rare German texts, and pieces of German phrases. No scissors. But I feel angry at her already. Also my awesome left-wing politics teacher is gone (up North, laughter).

I said for a long time that I was prepared to die this death. And now it is time for the finest race of my seventeen years. And now I must prepare myself to hit hard, slam onto the bus face-first and travel at Olympic speed. But this is a marathon, and we are half way through. It was merely a long break at a water station with towels and television. Now to return, to the race. To the terrible storm that awaits, the unpredictable days and ambiguous future that awaits me.

Review: Radio Silence



I hope somebody is listening.


Frances has always lived as “School Frances”- the perfect headgirl, the robotic high achiever devoid of personality. But when she meets Aled, the ingenius creator behind her favourite podcast, she feels free to be herself for the first time. But when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is forced to confront the past. She has to confess why Carys, Aled’s twin, disappeared. And she has to rescue Aled from Universe City before it’s too late.


A fast paced, contemporary YA novel that explores relationships in a digital age. On one hand, Radio Silence revolves around an Internet mystery- an anonymous Youtuber who creates a popular podcast series called “Universe City”, and on the other hand, it follows a group of stressed and tired sixth-form students who are about to make the most important step in their lives- go to university (or so they think). When these two worlds collide,  everything explodes: fandom, the effects of fame, friendship & trust, sexuality, the thin veil between reality and fiction, the ‘real’ person vs how they appear, expectations vs staying true to your self.

At the heart of the book is two things: Alice Oseman’s wonderfully diverse and fascinating characters, and a discussion about going to university- something that’s become a rite of passage for British teenagers (or should I say, new adults?). Alice Oseman has no difficulty getting her message across, doing it succinctly and with style.