If I were to mention the Lower Sixth, the more venerable (old-foagy?!) English members of the community will think back in fondness, to that entire year of school when they passed the days in a state of alcoholic stupor, doing nothing.
Happy days will be recalled measured by how much fun they had and, certainly, I was always looking forward to having the time, basically, to get up to no good in the loveably scampish manner that I do so well. I had been conditioned to believe that the Lower Sixth was a time for fun and frolics, so you can imagine the sheer heartache I suffered when informed that I was to get an extra round of exams.
It was to be quite simple. In order to broaden the minds of today's youth, they were to take four half A-Levels, the aforementioned AS's, three of which would be continued to a second half, A2's. This would be no harder, and would make everyone more adaptable. Little did the bumbling, yet well-meaning, fools... uh, ministers... realise that this method would be on the nastier side of satanic. The exams were supposed to be more like glorified O-Levels, not puny A-levels. Instead, all my teachers taught as though their subjects were simply an A-Level. This meant that I have had more work, and less time in which to do it. Needless to say that, despite even my colossus-like work ethic, I was defeated, and soon forced to complete work set the week before the day before it was due in just to keep up with it all. I was reduced to hysterics at least once.
We don't get time off afterwards like the rest of the country, either. Oh no, not us, those who go to Winchester College. No, instead we have already started on the A2 syllabus.
All this would not be so horrifically awful if the man who saw this thing through, one Dr Nicholas Tate, who is now headmaster here, had not turned around in the press and proclaimed the new AS's to have been a mistake as everybody in the country has found them difficult. This means that my year, one constantly used as guinea pigs for many cretinous government progressive educative schemes, not forgetting the year below, will have these problems, when everyone else will probably revert to the old, good system.
The unremitting workload has meant that I have been unable to do many things I enjoy, and has squashed me to such an extent that for two terms I was on the verge of leaving school and forgoing exams, in all seriousness. My university ambitions have sunk, and my general enthusiasm for work seems to have subsided. I'm quite angry about the whole mess, but I'm sure things will resolve themselves... eventually.