As the season of spring draws to a close, I feel it is apt to think about how the past year has gone by. Only a year ago, my friends and I were preparing for GCSE exams and looking forward to the prospect of a sunny, stress-free summer. Personally, I’d seen Year 11 as a momentous milestone in my life. The beginning of the end of learning. Soon all of the hard work would need to present itself on a piece of paper. Another piece of paper would tell me a grade. A single number/letter – a showcase of my apparent self-worth and value.

But this year I have come to realise that learning never really stops. You learn, take exams, reminisce and repeat. The facts, processes, and diagrams all seemed so tediously long. The textbook pages endless in their moroseness.

Yet there is a certain joy in doing something you truly want to do. The spark you feel when the dots connect, and the edges of your lips curl up in an emotion that can only be described as pure and utter joy. The feeling of engaging in a subject and thoroughly enjoying the process is a difficult one to come by. Perhaps with decisive effort, like me, you can learn to love the intricacies of biology and the many details of human anatomy. Or like my friend, Rashmi Banerjee, a subject like English simply fascinates you. She attributes this to the “diversity when it comes to literature and the freedom to explore so many ideas.” The “limitless concepts, hidden meanings and symbolisms” all draw her in.

Whatever it may be, I hope anyone reading this takes some time to evaluate what they’ve accomplished in the past year. Big or small, if it’s something to be proud of, it’s worth it. If it’s something that brings you joy, go for it. You won’t even realise how much you can learn in the process. As Aristotle said, “man is, by nature, a political animal.” You only need to discover whose politics you will follow. The logic of your classmates, or parents? Or your inner logic and reasoning, pining for the knowledge that suits you best?