When studying at A-Level, it's easy to feel discouraged. As if you’ve signed up for a life sentence to the subjects you pick. When did academic pursuits become so far removed from passion and interest? 


Secondary school and Sixth Form can place a tunnel vision onto learning; you memorise this, and memorise that, all to end up at the next stepping stone towards…What exactly? All whilst being constantly reminded you’re in competition with just about all of your peers : who wrote the best essay, got the highest mark, the shiniest badge, the bluest ribbon. This kind of attitude stunts the mind. A-levels are much more than a liminal space between school and adulthood.  


Studying and reading English literature has been my personal passion since before I knew what the word meant. I’ve been attracted to the written word and the techniques we have developed to express ourselves. In my opinion, it's the study of the human experience, in all its fluid forms. Taking it for A-Level was a no-brainer, the easiest decision I’ve ever made ; so when I saw my peers struggling with subjects they hate, I was perplexed. Weren't we able to drop this stuff? 


I realised I spoke from a position of privilege, unconcerned with the career prospects of my current choices in pursuit of expanding my knowledge of things I enjoyed. A-levels are meant for university, and university is meant for a job. This reductive statement is subconsciously ingrained into the minds of every Sixth Form student across the country, augmenting pressure for a five year plan or prophetic vision, something to prepare them for the next step - whatever it may be. 


When studying exclusively humanities, this pressure takes a turn. Suddenly you’re questioned on what type of job you expect to get, or how much money you expect to make. As if the only value of what you're doing now, is what it can get you later. STEM subjects and the Arts are polarised as if different, yet should be embraced as if the same, not co-existing but existing because of and for the benefit of each other.


To both make the most of and enjoy the Sixth Form experience, it's imperative to be in the pursuit of knowledge. To take Biology because you love the research, to take Art because you love to create and to take English because you love to write. To learn is to have a privilege - Who are we to hate it?