Hello! Yet again. We weren’t ready to let go of the ‘TLC Writer’ era this soon, so we’re back—just in time for you to read this glorified A2-has-ruined-our-lives rant under the guise of an article: the 5 stages of grief brought to you as transitions from A1 to A2.
The concept of the stages of grief viz., denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, is probably not very foreign to you; amidst all the experiences (read: trauma and disappointment) that come with desi households, teenage romance, and devastating band break-ups (no, not One Direction), each one of us has had our MCR™ days.
The first stage of grief and the most human reaction to adversity: denial.
We won’t say we weren’t warned by all those that came before us, but A2 truly does microdose hell, one deadline after the other, consecutive assessments, incomplete assignments, the hovering balloon of SAT prep over our heads that we all so religiously choose to ignore. And, most importantly, the elephant in the room that none of us should ever take note of lest we wish to be cursed at: university applications. While the sense of impending doom grows exponentially each passing day, us A2’s incessantly choose to take 6-hour long naps, binge watch shows on Netflix and complain about how difficult life is without doing anything about it (self-burn?).
To our luck, the trance of procrastination and the Netflix binge-watching marathons do not last forever. When hit with a series of text messages about predicted grades from the guidance counsellor, reality comes barging its way through the door and our shock will have you believe we never heard the doorbell. As denial shows itself out, the campus no longer witnesses everyone discussing the batch ‘tea’ but rages with students who are,yet again, left to wonder what sins they are paying for. If you were to read the ferocious eight-minute speeches which students draft to convince their teachers they are owed a better predicted grade, you could assume them to be national level parliamentary debaters. Some students rush to set meetings with the counsellor to show that their past record is clearly deserving of an A, while other students don’t mind straining their relationship with the teachers in exchange for an increased grade.
These resentful faces soon wilt when their demands appear too naive to be met. Between the monthly assessments that become significantly difficult because of the A2 syllabus, and the predicted grades which did not do justice to the sacrifices made during the entirety of A1, extra subjects really start to seem like a horrible idea. It is now that the ‘five-subject-student gang’ begin to go extinct. In efforts to rationalise their behaviour and unnecessary burden, students deduce that extra subjects are the only cause of their sufferings—by eliminating this factor, their A2 would probably be much easier to navigate through. And the fact is: one less subject does translate to one less predicted grade, one less assessment and three less classes.
Main doob raha hou ab
Dooba tou nahi hou
Sajjad Ali never sounded so relatable at this stage. It doesn’t matter that some of us have had to rewrite their college essays for the umpteenth time, or that our send ups start a day prior to the latest heaping tablespoon of stress-only-to-be-cancelled-a-day-before from CollegeBoard, the damage has been done. Depression is the stage where suffering is a constant. You are between a rock and A-Level—there is no good ending here. In those sleepless, red voids (also known as eyes) that contain whatever is the antithesis of hope, will be a partial memory of maybe a Physics class or two, with the impending doom of a missing assignment five minutes away (and a tearful walk to the washroom in ten). You will probably find yourself sitting somewhere and… that’s about it really, but because of this you might get some time to think and evaluate.
Although by no means is it a light at the end of the tunnel, acceptance does bring in some wisdom. Where there has been consistent chaos and disdain in the previous stages, acceptance introduces a breath of very, very normal air. After going through the essentials of the A2 experience and basically screaming BINGO, acceptance allows for a lot of understanding: one gets an outlook of a new reality that may be difficult to digest at the start but is digestible nonetheless. It leaves you with optimism going forward.
There are no promises of a solution for all of the compiled workload, only belief; however, that would be good enough, since although there will be dozens of deadlines to meet, there will be hope for a carefree sleep.
Arooj Tiwana, Khudija Munawar & Wasay Rafaqat
TLC Associate Editor, Editor-In-Chief and Managing Editor