|My daughter's desk today|
My girl has a busy week ahead with another two trips to Sydney for modelling commitments and a bunch of school exams slotted in around the edges.
For someone who is juggling a career with study, she has to make sure she's super organised and always a few steps ahead. She's chosen to take some exams early to fit it all in.
Her "head down, bum up" approach to life this weekend has had me reflecting on my own year 11 studies.
When I was only 14 and in year 9, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia and only given a few weeks to live. The emergency dash to Sydney for three years of life saving treatment obviously had an impact on my schooling and how I handled myself as a teen.
By the end of year 10, as my mother's life continued to hang in the balance, I was moody, restless, angry and ready to ditch school altogether but some
I feel sorry for the teachers who had to deal with me in year 11 as I made it quite clear I didn't want to be there. I was restless in class and made very little positive forward movement. I would always do the homework, but got by with a "bare minimum" approach to life.
Then something happened half way through the year. My English teacher saw something that nobody else had seen. A kid who had promise.
My memory is vague on the order of events but the book The Harp in the South was definitely the catalyst in this story.
I remember reading it at least three times over the course of my final years of high school as I prepared for the HSC. I was captivated not only by the story line and characters, but by the style of writing and the way Ruth Park brought old time Sydney to life.
I had always been a bookworm, but the previous years of high school had forced me to read books like A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights, with such heavy prose and unrelateable story lines, that it turned me off reading altogether.
The Harp in the South showed me a different style of writing that felt achievable. It was more than a book, it was a glimpse into the possibilities for me as a student and as a writer. I can honestly say that from an academic perspective, this book saved me. I became interested in school again. That combined with my English teacher's belief in my abilities saw my grades start to climb and a renewed interest in my future.
By the time I hit year 12, I was back to taking pride in my school work with much of my study done around the edges of a hospital bed as Mum went through her bone marrow transplant.
I was never any good at exams with the pressures associated with testing usually seeing my results suffer. The Harp In The South had me excited about exams for the first time. I knew this book inside and out and I could talk about it until the cows came home.
Ask me about the book now and I have little recollection (as with anything I learned in years 11 and 12), but I know how it impacted on my life story.
It's fairly safe to say, The Harp in the South helped me believe in myself.
As far as my year 12 exams went, I did far better than expected and ended up at uni as a result.
As far as my mum is concerned she's still alive and well today.
As for The Harp in the South, it's not even on my bookshelf, but a quick trip to an online bookshop will rectify that.
Do you recall what you were studying in year 11?
Ever read The Harp in the South?
Have you got people studying for exams in your house right now?
Today's post was inspired by Denyse Whelan's "exams" prompt for her weekly "Life This Week" linky.