Farewell to the Upper Sixth

“When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go”. The words of Nanny McPhee, but sentiments that also apply to the Upper Sixth. Today will be a bittersweet occasion in sixth forms across the country as A level students go on examination leave and effectively say farewell to their peers, teachers and schools. If schools and colleges have done their jobs properly there will be much sadness at leaving staff, friends and familiar environments behind, but there should also be a readiness to move on because students have been given the skills and knowledge needed to “fly the school nest”.

My advice to the Class of 2015 – with thanks to Baz Luhrmann:

Wear sunscreen
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
Believe in yourself
Do one thing every day that challenges you
Eat well
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours
Don’t waste time on jealousy
The race of life is long and in the end it’s only with yourself
Some days are good and some days are bad
Storms pass and the sun will shine again
Be kind to your knees
Remember in life your successes are part chance
So don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either
Fail and learn from failure
Love your parents; you never know when they will be gone
Be nice to siblings – they are your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future
Understand that friends come and go
But cherish those who remain
Live in London once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in rural Worcestershire once but leave before it makes you soft
Don’t mess too much with your skin
Or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85
Be careful whose advice you follow
Respect your elders – intellect matters but experience counts
Remember certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander
And you, too, will get old
And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders
Keep a sense of perspective
Do not read beauty magazines they will only make you feel ugly
Stand up for yourself
But if in doubt say nought
Help others for in doing so you will help yourself
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults
Air your problems and discuss your worries
Never suffer in silence
Plan for the future but expect to be surprised
Follow your head and your heart
Life is a balancing act
So make sure yours is balanced

….and trust me on the sunscreen.

Mr E

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1 Response to Farewell to the Upper Sixth

  1. Don Servant says:

    I love this poem!
    And I still remember waiting to sit my A levels in the sun…

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