9 days, and counting down. I want this to be over.
For years we have been counting up: one term has passed, then two, yet another and we’ve completed a year in school. We count up until the last days of Year 4, as Farewell Assembly approaches. Up, until we’re about to leave the school. I can still vividly remember counting up the months I’ve entered JC, savouring the firsts in this new environment—the new people, new campus and the endless experiences that came with it. Until quite recently, we were still counting up, “you’ve been Year 6s for 6 months already and still…” was a frequent opening ‘address’ before we began with lectures.
Now we’ve finally gotten to counting down: 9 days. Armed with 6 years of dy/dx and F=ma, November is a test of stamina as we perform the finale.
In the weeks following up to this and the days in between the papers, there has been frustration—frustration that came with learning to ace rather than learning to learn. To be better. (In my head, they’re not really the same thing, though I give Cambridge the credit for trying as best as they can to assess what we’ve accumulated in our years of learning with fair papers) There is frustration, also, that came with insomnia. The sleepless nights where countless thoughts stand between a night’s rest and me. The night is still, except for the sound of the cars entering the highway every once in a while. Then, when I close my eyes, the only sound I hear is the throbbing of my heartbeat, anxiously waiting for sleep to befall upon me. It is no less than counterproductive to think about sleep, but it is even more so to think about how to stop thinking about it.
There is also reminiscence. Tonight, I find myself missing the days in the classroom. The luxury of the Raffles Program has been the community of learners and the fortune of having passionate teachers who care about us as people. A visit back to RGS recently reminded me of the very culture of love and support we used to prize: we valued kindness, rewarded good character and gave meaning to one another’s experiences based on how much we cared for what we were working for. Counting down the days in the RI campus has also put things into perspective—the ‘safe haven’ of tables outside lecture theatres, Raja block, a combination of food choices from Manna, RI canteen (x2) and Chill (x2), the most beautiful libraries—in a month we wouldn’t have the freedom to come and go as we please. We so often take these for granted, but one day, the emptiness in realizing its absence will hit us hard, I’m almost certain.
I dread this month, but I also want to savour these memories and emotions that will one day be too fuzzy to recall. Friends I know who’ve been here and done this tell me it’s “the time of life they loved and made the best friends, but would never want to go back to again”. If that is it, then I’d better remember this.