As of writing this article, I have approximately 5 months until school is over.

5 months until I have to say goodbye to 13 years of education and routine that has always had a sense of dull ease to it.

And though it’s been hard and occasionally terrifying, I haven’t had to think much about anything of real importance. I haven’t had to think about paying bills or insurance or any of that dull stuff our parents have always taken care of.

For some weird reason, I’m looking forward it; to the stress and panic and the complete and unadulterated freedom. And as the title suggests, this appeal comes from the fact I get to leave the town I’ve spent so much of my teens hating.

If I was to be faux-poetic, I may call ‘here’ the City of Stagnation. Nothing changes. The buildings don’t change, the people don’t change, the weather is always the same. Where even slightly altering yourself brings about questions and stares and – if you’re especially ‘lucky’ – a varying degree gossip may join the mix. And I need to shed myself of this place, a place where the most exciting thing that happens is the odd festival.

Obviously, I’ve started to make plans to get as far away from here as possible. A gap year or two in another city – maybe another state – or country. Because I need to figure out who I really am. Because I know I’m more than just the person everyone expects me to be.

I mean, it took me 12 years of education, my final marks, a couple of well-timed compliments and one tiny e-magazine accepting my work to make me realise I’m a really bloody good writer and have the potential to be even better.

I need time to figure out what I genuinely want to do with my life. The freedom and the highs and lows of adulthood are the best things to help me do just that.

So, while everyone is panicking about their future, I’ve developed a weird sense of comfortable discomfort. I’m not aiming to get into a uni that requires a high ATAR and that’s even if I end up going.

I actually have the time to work on more than just school, I can work on self-improvement. Hauling my unfit ass to the gym, publishing my writing, being the sole creator of a short film, rediscovering old hobbies. And it’s obviously not the most fun thing in the world, but already it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m trying to be more than what this city expects of me and I’m getting there.

It’s okay to change, to give everyone’s expectations the middle finger and do what you think is best. Because if I chose to listen to everyone I’d probably be going to uni to next year, not at all ready and end up loathing every second of it. But I know that I need a year or two off.

Maybe I have a passion I didn’t know I had. Or maybe I’m exactly what I think I am – a curiosity-driven writer who can’t not study media at uni. Either way, I’m not going to know until I try. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t know a whole lot – but I’d like to get as close as possible.

Written by Isabelle Traill