The end of summer is coming. I knew this would happen, and I am really feeling the Tame Impala song where “nothing ever changes,” but “everything is changing.”

It’s the end of summer, of carelessness, when the exam results come out. Yet it’s also the beginning—the beginning of the next phase. I didn’t like my old school, so I left and did my own studies at home. I only went back to sit for the actual exams, and on the 16th, I’ll have to return for the last time to collect those results. The last LAST time. I want some kind of ceremony, someone to throw confetti over me as I leave, and a banner saying “Well Done for Surviving.” I am pretty sure, though, there will be no ceremony or celebration for me personally. No party invites, no big ideas, no huge sense of achievement. And that’s OK. I always feel like I haven’t achieved anything. But I have.

Now I am sort of “moving on” to a new place for my last year before university, a new building of education (otherwise known as school, but I don’t like that word). I’ll have to make big decisions about where to go next and whether I even want to go anywhere, decisions that I’ve been able to delay for a year. I feel like an elastic band stretched far, far away from all of that, but slowly moving back towards it. When the first day of the new term arrives, I feel I’ll be snapped right back into place. It might hurt.

I am glad I don’t have to go back to my old school. But how do I explain this gap to new people? I guess I could say “it was an early gap year” or “I hated my old school” or “they kicked me out.” I’ve already said these in my head, looking for a sentence to silence anyone who asks why I am a year older than everybody, rather than explain my whole complicated history. But then, they’d only have to read my Rookie diaries to know this.

So I am in an awkward position. I am waiting, I am in anticipation, I want to know my exam results right now. But I am pushing all of that away, too. I want more time. To do what, I don’t exactly know. But I always want more time. ♦