Still Nothing To Worry About

Our final student blog of the academic year comes from Keira in Year 9, who we first heard from when she had just started Year 7.  Over to you Keira…

Back in year 7 I wrote a blog about my experiences in my first year at AKS called “Nothing To Worry About” (July 2016). So here is an update on my journey since then.

Last Easter holiday my family and I walked Scafell, the highest peak in England. Last year we reached the summit of Snowdon and so I felt confident I would make it to the top of Scafell too. However, after what felt like a gruelling two and a half hour climb up the steep fell, things took a turn for the worse as we neared the summit.  Thick dark mist descended, the air became freezing cold and suddenly there was snow under foot making walking really difficult. I started to feel anxious and incredibly cold. I couldn’t see ahead or behind me and I felt panic set in. I was worried we’d get lost on the top and fear nearly caused me to stop, turn around and admit defeat. But I wanted to make it to the summit and after a few minutes to stop and battle my thoughts, somehow I managed to dig deep, push through and make it.  It was a big achievement and I won’t forget it.  Nor will I forget the fear I felt!

This experience reminded me of some of the personal ‘Scafells’ I’ve climbed this year at school which were equally as nerve wracking.  It’s been a busy year for me overall as  I’ve juggled many activities alongside my academic work such as choir, hockey, Health Leaders, Combined Cadet Force and singing lessons.  I have gained enjoyment and new skills from these activities but there have been a few mountains to climb too.

In December, I was given the opportunity to read a lesson at the school carol service. Over the last 3 years I’ve had chances to speak in front of smaller crowds, but this crowd was much  bigger and  more formal. Maybe it was a small mountain to climb but it was a new experience and  I had to battle the nerves on the night. I felt  really good afterwards and I think it made me start to realise that it is OK to feel fear in certain situations and that I can push through it and use it for good too.  Little did I know that this experience was preparing me for a much greater one.

Back in September I made a last minute decision  to give the auditions a go for the school musical production ‘High School Musical’.  Having never done acting or sung in front of people other than the choir and drama lessons at school, I didn’t know what to expect.   I quickly realised that I love acting and taking ideas from rehearsals, putting them all together and then performing it on the stage. I gained a lot from it but it also stretched me too!  I was given the opportunity to sing and act a small solo part.  If you’d told me at the beginning of Year 7 that  I would have the confidence to stand up and sing a solo in front of a packed audience at The Lowther Pavilion I wouldn’t have believed you. But I did. Nerves very quickly gave way to excitement and now I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I feel very grateful I was given the opportunity to do something different and build more confidence.  I learnt a lot about teamwork through that process and it was a valuable life lesson to watch so many people work together to make something happen.

More recently I climbed my biggest mountain yet. Although I enjoy singing in the choir and I had managed the solo part in the drama production, I still get very nervous singing in front of people on my own.  Doing a solo is very different  to singing in a big group or acting on the stage.  It’s just you up there, just as you are, with nothing or no one to hide behind.  So when my singing teacher entered me into the Lytham Music and Arts Festival a few weeks ago I was incredibly anxious. I had to sing four solos to a crowded room and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; I was so worried I thought I was going to faint!  All eyes were on me and me alone. I was convinced I would forget my words each time, but I didn’t.  The achievement was in simply turning up and taking part whilst battling the nerves.  Like the panic I felt trying to reach the summit of  Scafell, I really didn’t think I was going to make it.  But I held out despite the fear and somehow managed to sing.  It was a big achievement and who knows – maybe I’ll do it again next year.  I’m learning to harness my fears and turn them into something positive that can help me in tricky situations.

Next year I will be embarking on my GCSE journey and I’m sure there are a lot more mountains to climb. I hope to do the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and continue building confidence in singing and drama.  School life at AKS is always busy and full of twists and turns, but I have learnt that you can let experiences defeat you, give up, turn around and walk back down the mountain, or you can push through it and get all the way to the top. The feeling that you get when you have achieved something that you know you have worked so hard to do is amazing!  And that hard work can sometimes just be overcoming the battle within yourself.  You get out what you put in and there are rewards for just stepping out there and giving something a try.  Even if it does look suspiciously like a mountain at first.

Keira – Year 9