After 10 weeks away, going back to school is not only a major, but a terrifying, transition. Readjusting to early nights and early mornings, endless hours of homework, and time-management considerations is altogether quite exhausting.

I’m in sixth form now, sometimes called Key Stage 5, working toward my A-levels.* I’m not sure what it’s like in other countries, but in England, these last two years of secondary education are different from Key Stages 0–4. For one thing, I don’t have to wear a uniform anymore. I still have to adhere to a dress code, but I get to be a little more comfortable than I would be roasting in a blazer.

Another change is a significant decrease in the time I spend in class. Where I used to have five lessons a day, five days a week, I now usually have three or four each day. Today I only had one, in the morning, so I came home around the time I had gotten used to waking up all summer. Now, you might think this sounds like a great opportunity to socialise and eat excessive amounts of cake, but, though you would be right, I barely have time for anything fun anymore, because I have more homework than ever.

The cool thing, though, is that fewer classes means instead of struggling through 11 or more subjects that for the most part I intensely dislike, I get to concentrate on three or four that I actually enjoy. The three subjects I’m taking are media studies, film studies, and maths. When I mention the third subject on that list, people always act shocked and concerned, often slightly disgusted. “Maths?” they repeat, in such a condescending tone that I begin to question my life choices. “Did your dad make you take it?” My dad is a maths teacher, but no, he did not make me take it. Is it so hard to believe that mathematics is something I actually enjoy? Apparently so. ♦

* Editor’s explanatory note: Sixth form is roughly equivalent to the last two years of high school in the U.S.