UNO.’s youngest columnist shares his year’s highs, lows and learnings.

PHOTO MADELEINE DONOVAN

What’s happened in the last year? Singer Glen Campbell passed away, one of the largest icebergs ever detached from an ice shelf in Antarctica, and I managed to pass this year of school.

BUT WHAT DO I KNOW NOW, THAT I DIDN’T KNOW THEN? And by that, I don’t mean algebra. I’m talking life lessons. This year’s big takeout for me is that my plans need to be much more exible than I’m comfortable with!

I FINISHED YEAR 11 THIS YEAR (fifth form for those of you who are a bit more, um, mature), which means I’ve started to think properly about my future career. At 16 we’re told to choose six school subjects, which will steer our course for quite a while after. I might say today that I want to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, but in an ever-changing world with so many different careers and jobs on offer, what I choose to study now might not have any relevance in the future. I need to stay flexible.

HOWEVER, I’M AN AVID PLANNER, so not planning down to the smallest detail is hard for me to do. I have a diary, a calendar, my Google calendar, my school timetable, and countless notes, which all keep my life planned down to the second. Words like ‘unpredictable’ and ‘spontaneous’ send shivers down my spine. I don’t like random events. The realisation that I can’t plan my entire future is scary, but I need to get over that.

IN MY LAST COLUMN, I TALKED ABOUT STRESS. I do get stressed and afraid of the future, even though I know it’s better to be optimistic and hopeful. The best strategy, when I look at the future, is learning from my past, and not becoming overwhelmed by all the unknown possibilities. I am working hard to learn to live in the moment, while keeping an eye on how that moment fits into what I’ve planned for the future!

I’M DEFINITELY NOT A TYPICAL TEENAGER. I know that. I like order and responsibility. I like alarm clocks, and ironed trousers. I like politics and the military. You’ve probably all heard the quote, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” Whilst I could argue forever against that, I am learning to see the benefits, slow down, and take a look around.

I also hope that there are no fidget spinners, racist politicians, or lattes with more than two prefixes. I vote this next to be a year of positivity, kindness, and NORMAL coffees! Louis Donovan is on his way.

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