20/1 = Years/Posts = My Life so far.

It’s unusual for someone else to say your life is boring. Sat in front of a computer all day playing video games doesn’t sound boring to me but that’s because it mean’t more of my life 6 years ago than it does now. 6 years is a long time. Considering I’ve only in the last month or so turned 20 and surpassed the fact that I was pretty sure my stupidity would kill me before that age, It’s taking what’s happened in it’s stride that really makes you think, writing it down is how I’m doing just that. My first 20 years in a blog post, fancy that?

A few years ago the primary school I attended was on the brink of closure due to the fact that there simply wasn’t enough kids in the area for it to sustain itself. Men in suits were dragged in and thankfully it’s still open, although I can’t imagine how they did that. Did they ship in more children? God knows. My primary school life was something that probably hindered me more than helped me, considering when you only have about 5 or 6 friends in your whole year you begin to see yourself as more than you actually are. My brother and sister were are both smart people, so I see myself as the third film in the trilogy of being Mannion. (I’d prefer to be Return of the King, if I was able to pick and choose.) At that age I was blissfully unaware of what was expected of me, all I remember was being promised money on behalf of grades. Some sort of malevolent scheme so I would get what I always wanted, money good grades. Although that’s where life really started. When your in that group of 7 and you think of yourself the smartest the realisation when you go to a school, where your form is the same size of your whole primary school, that you’re merely average can knock you down a few pegs. Yes, I count myself as caring about that shit at 11 years old. So that’s stage 1, going from a self proclaimed smart student to being the average Joe, which didn’t help because I bundled myself with the smart kids before I knew I was stupid. Fuck.

The next 3 years we’re boring, despite being the average student I just got on with it like the lazy person I was am. I can remember my dad getting me to sit on the floor and read a maths revision guide, only for me to simply sit behind it playing Pokemon on a Gameboy, wiggling my eyes every now and then so It looked like I was actually reading. There was this 1 guy who sat next to me in English for 2 years that bullied me, whom I recently found on Facebook to make signs for a living. If he ever tries to talk to me he will be on the receiving end of having one shoved up his arse. Although the purpose of this post isn’t to bitch about people I perceived to have bullied me, It would probably never be published as I would still be writing it now. Not that I’m saying I was viciously bullied within an inch of sanity but that simply, “I had my fair share of the shit going round”.

Cue the 6 years ago mark, my friends from secondary school all ended up in different forms and as the new school was a 1500 capacity one they were shipped off to the smart classes and I stayed in average. Then things started on the road to what they are now. A kid the same age of me who’s mum worked with my mum happened to appear on the same bus route and he became the person I hung round with all the time. Thankfully he was popular enough so that I could become friends with his friends without my reputation coming back to haunt me. You see, apart from being the average student with the massive ego, my appearance was not something I had learn’t to care about. I barely washed my hair and when I did I didn’t do it properly and it was long and often sticking all over the place, this was something I didn’t sort out until the start of year 12. 16 years old and unwashed hair was a bad reputation, not to mention some… other things. This is where I learn’t about addiction, something that isn’t supposed to be a practical lesson. I’ve always been a gamer and while I was always up to date with my studies I feel like my GCSE’s were my last years where natural intellect could get me through. Therefore spending the hours in between getting home from school and sleep playing World of Warcraft didn’t rear their head until a couple of years later, something of which I will go into a lot of detail. This is the point where the shit really hit the fan. I spent my GCSE’s in school and online, leading a double life. I blame this on the fact as that being an unpopular person the idea of knowing people on the internet that were funny and interesting let me to yearn them more than the close friends around me at school. So I became a recluse and eventually became known in my group of friends as a part timer. I was there for all the school shit but all the fun they had outside of school I was nowhere to be seen. I blame that on the fact I was never invited to these so called “Camp-outs” and other events, but why should they want to invite me? I was simply that part time kid with greasy hair and bad teeth that was lucky to have known the tall one before he had his reputation. At that point I wouldn’t have invited myself either. This continued through until the summer of 2008 when It came round to picking A-Levels and this is where it gets miserable. My World of Warcraft life had taken a turn for the more competitive. As someone who spent so much time on the game I’d become overly average at gaming rather than learning, leading me to start playing the game competitively. Instead of casually playing the game in between school and sleep I played the game seriously for the whole summer, which once again ruined my chances of being sociable. This also made me even more of a recluse to my parents who were obviously pissed off to the max that their difficult 3rd album was wasting away playing video games all the time, with my failed attempt at learning to play the guitar sentiment while sitting in its frame in the living room at the time. Then came the start of my A-Levels.

Ego right on target, I chose Maths and Physics as 2 of my subjects. Fucking fuck tard shit balls why did I do that?! Average student couldn’t have fucked himself over much more than that. Looking back on It I always hoped people would slap some sense into me, but my ego couldn’t take the fact that the smart kid in primary school would ever fail. Speaking of which, my ego was even dropping me friends on the internet. I eventually left the competitive side of the game and reverted back to using it as my only social activites with the same people as the last 2 years. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I wasn’t on the same schedule as my school friends. Leaving me at times running across the school just to try and meet up with them and follow go wherever they went. In the first few months though I’d got my act together with my image (which I can give thanks to the fact we had our bathroom redone and instead of a bath now had a shower, oh wow how much easier that made things…) up to the point where my maths teacher pointed it out to the whole class like the 16 year old finally learning how to wash his hair properly was deserved of some sort of award? Looking back on it he was an arse as well, although my ego at the time took it as the best compliment of all time. I had been clouded to the problem with my grades and the year ended simply showing signs behind the scenes of what the Queen would call an “Annus Horribilis”. (I only know that term because I read it on wikipedia, coincidentally the Queen’s Annus Horribils is 1992 which is the year I was born. Coincidentally…)

First off, the following year was no one else’s fault but my own. In January It turned out I’d failed all my exams with the highlight a year low of 12/100 in the maths exam, leaving me immediately kicked off the course. As they had decided to keep me at the school rather than kicking me out all together and wasting a year of my life, along with the eternal disownment of my parents I had to continue on with physics and business classes that I also failed. After this I had a rather private mental breakdown. I was a failure to everyone and I can say most importantly my father. He is the hardest working person I know and I can only hope that one day I can develop 1% of the effort he puts into his life and I will be a success, that’s how much I think of him. I then flipped my whole life which was upside down the right way up, if not on stabilizers. Warcraft was out the window, I said goodbye to those that still liked me and I never spoke to them again. I started working, if only on the business side of things. I had already spoke in February about taking up an AS level in year 13 if I failed Physics, which I actually planned to fail. Do enough work to not get kicked out of school and bias my revision schedule so that business was bound to succeed. For reference however, I actually failed the first business exam again but managed to get a good grade in both my Design and 2nd Business exams to stay on. I’d love to say that I successfully failed Physics, but I almost passed one of the exams and that would have been so embarrassing. So maybe my bad year on extended to the first 7 months, but I count failing my driving theory test before Christmas one of my worst moments and that stretches it from January to December, yet once again I only blame myself. Backtracking slightly, I wasn’t totally back on track because the AS I picked up was ICT, which I expected to ace without needing effort. Leaving me in the end with not only being ripped down by actually doing ICT as an A level but the fact that despite my love of computers, my lack of effort got me a D grade in the end. Like I said, all I want is that 1%…

On the warpath I manage to keep the fail-streak all the way through the A Levels with only my own saving grace keeping me in the game. I failed the 1st business exam AGAIN, before getting a decent grade at the 3rd attempt. I also failed my Woodwork coursework with only an A in the written exam saving me from missing out on the university place. Speaking of which, I applied to the University of Hertfordshire (for which I am entering my final year of Motorsport Technology, a subject NONE of my A Levels have helped with whatsoever) without going to an open day, along with the Sheffield Hallam second choice for which I didn’t go for an open day simply because I couldn’t be arsed to. That attitude and laziness… aren’t I lucky. Eventually after all my exams I got up on results day to check the UCAS website a whole 5 hours before I was scheduled to pick up my detailed results.

Rejection from Herts.

Rejection from Sheffield Hallam.

Oh, fuck.

Cue 5 hours of borderline suicidal tendencies of extreme anger at myself and embarrassment of once again failing everyone and most importantly my father. Rumour has it that my dad spent those 5 hours tried to get me a job on the shop floor at the place he worked, he will say that he always had faith and that what happened when I picked up my results was always my true ability. I guess there’s someone out there to thank for that, but that’s another thing I don’t talk to others about. 5 hours into the worst day of my life, I actually pulled myself together to pick up my results from the school and boy will most people not believe this. I’d actually done better than I needed to. Now imagine me channelling all the rage and sadness into just rage, and all directed at some useless person at UCAS not being able to count up the points tally for the most important exams in any persons life. Many people say they’ve never seen me truly angry. Those people obviously didn’t hear from me on that day. I will say however that I dedicate my University course to the person who convinced me to do a little course called Extended Project which was a 5000 word essay worth an AS Level. The work put into that single handedly pushed me over the tally to qualify on my course. Secret weapons and all that.

That was the last really bad thing that’s happened to me over the past 2 years. Although certain people who I looked up to aren’t around any more I’ve kept in contact with friends from home and made a bundle more at University. A place where no one gives a shit who you were before, only who you are now. My lazy side still exists, however I’m smart enough now to know what counts and when to put in the effort needed. In all I guess I’m once again leading 2 lives. My home life and my University life, 2 groups of friends and people I’ll never forget. In a few weeks I’m moving into a house with 4 great friends on my course and it WILL be amazing. I’ve smartened up by dressing more sensibly and having a more grown up hair style (mainly because someone pointed at my hair and said it was “Justin Bieber like” /shudder) This summer has been a culmination of things I expected to happen. My dad followed an ambition and now lives with my mother in China, where he now works. His contract is for 3 years and I hope that when he comes back he will see me as a graduate working in my profession, following my dreams with a part of the effort and work that he has put in over the years. I’ve put my mum through enough as she’s usually been there first hand to watch me crumble at times, and again I hope she will see me when they both come back in 3 years. When they’ve been away I couldn’t wish for a better brother or sister because compared to them there’s no better than them.

This is no ode to life like I’ve completed everything like a video game. This is a statement to say that this is what I’ve done so far and to those that doubted me like I know you did. There are some who crumbled like me and never made it back. Those who continued to berate me I can only say: I’m not that shitty failure of a child that never wanted to grow up and never looked like much in the future. I’m better, stronger and nothing can stop me now. Oh, apart from the fact I’ve not passed my driving test yet. I’ll get round to that…

 - Mike


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