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Doubt and assurance

There I was. Sitting on my bed in my very own flat, with my acceptance letter in my hand. It was the fifty thousandth time I read it through.
“Dear Mr. Lockwood,
We have all the necessary documents from you.
We look forward to welcoming you on Monday 10th of August.”

Some more information and at the end… the signature of the headmaster. I still couldn’t believe it.
But that was the proof it’s real. And there was my name on it.
The letter lay next to me after I had lain down.
All of a sudden, the feeling of happiness was gone. Instead, I felt an inexplicable exhaustion wash over me as I stared at the ceiling.
Then it began. I didn’t feel like I could take any more steps. I felt lonely.
“What is wrong with you?”
“I don’t know. I should be happy, you know?”
“Why aren’t you happy then?”
“I just don’t think that I can go on like I did. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought this would be easy, I never dreamed too big. It’s just that I hoped, maybe somehow, I would be proud of coming this far.”
“You shouldn’t bring yourself down like this…”
“Why not? I feel like it.”
“Cause this is your time. This is going to be your year!”
“But now I’m questioning… was it worth it? What lessons have I learned? That I can’t trust? That no one stays and is going to take care of you except of yourself? If yourself at least…”
“You’ve been waiting for this moment. Yeah, you’re gonna own it. I can watch you shine. This is gonna be your year!”
“You don’t get it! I’ve battled everyone but I don’t know where to turn now. I want to be more than I thought I could… I just want to feel like I’ve done some good.”
I sighed.
“I’ve beaten everyone but I feel like I lost who I was. I reached for the stars yet I feel like I’m falling down…”
“Now get up! Listen to me, this is gonna be your year!”
“My year? Are you sure?”
“It will be your year! Watch it come together and be the best one ever! Because this is your time!”
“It’s gonna be my year..?”
“You have been waiting for this moment.”
“I’m not gonna lose. I’m gonna own it!”
“That’s the spirit!”
“You can watch me shine, this is gonna be my year!”
“Your year”
“Yeah, and maybe somehow, I then can be proud, of coming this far.”
For a moment I looked around in the empty room. Then I took the letter and got up. Preparing my backpack for my first day of school, second trial.

by Kimberly Sommer

The jury comments:

  • The combination of two very different songs like these is an excellent and creative idea! You transfer the doubts and insecurities of „this far“ into a motivating and powerful message like in „my year“  in your written dialogue. This could be a hymn for everybody who does not believe in his strengths and who needs a helping hand to remember how much potential everybody has to achieve every goal. 
  • An original idea to express the fears and hopes that can be associated with going to school as an adult based on the two songs. The inner monologue reflects the different perspectives very well. 
  • Unfortunately, you have written a story and not a song. However, your text combines the ideas expressed in the two songs in a creative way and vividly reminds the readers of challenging turning points in their lives and the accompanying ambivalent feelings.

Robert’s got a quick hand
He’s looking around the room
He will tell you his plan
got a rolled cigarette
hanging out his mouth
he’s a cowboy kid yeah
Writing an exam again
After way too long
But he’s knocking it out the park
I don’t even know how
But he’s coming for it, yeah he’s coming for it yeah
All the other kids with the summed up wits
You better learn better learn, learn for terms 4x
At the end of a long day
he’ll be coming home late, he’s coming home late
And he’s bringning me a surprise
‚cause dinner’s in the kitchen and it’s packed in ice
I’ve waited for a long time
the slight of my hand is now another try
I reason with my cigarette
And say your head’s on fire, must have lost your wits yeah
All the other kids with the summed up wits
You better learn better learn, learn for terms 10x

by Yosche Malkus

The jury comments:

  • The song itself is a very good choice as a starting point to expound the problems of (peer) pressure in school. You express the energy of a situation described in the song quite well. 
  • It’s brave to rewrite a song about a potential rampage into a more harmless version about exams. Interestingly, the structure of the song works to convey the burden of exam pressure.  
  • You have transformed the slightly disturbing song „Pumped up kicks“ into a song which expresses the pressure to perform at school well.