The final column

For the very last time, hello and welcome to the #YEAR13PROBLEMS column. From Year 10’s problems of uniforms, ignorance to suicide and to Zayn Malik leaving One Direction to Year 11’s problems of ageism against young people to the GCSE English exam and to female superheroes, it has been a wild ride.

In Year 12 we discussed young people saving the General Election, true friendship and how feminism is for everyone – not just women. In Year 13, we’ve talked about the Royal Baby, toxic lad culture and what it’s like being teetotal. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and it has been, without a doubt, one of the greatest pleasures of my life so far.

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While this column doesn’t pull in millions of readers, it does have a few loyal ones and some fleeting ones and one-timers, who pop in when I’ve done something of note. And to each and every person who has ever read anything from this journey, commented on it or shared it, thank you. This column series has given me space to develop not just as a writer, but as a human being. It’s given me space to express and to share my thoughts. So, thanks for listening.

There are two stand-out moments for me when I look back at my time writing this.

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The first is tragic. When we were in Year 11, a young girl, who we all knew, or knew of, committed suicide. And, truthfully, it shook all of us to our core. It could have been our best friend, or our sister, or even us in some cases. When I wrote about this, I talked about preventing bullying and how important it was. Having grown since then, I can honestly say I still agree with every word I wrote in that column. And talking about it still puts a lump in my throat. For me, it was a defining moment because it was a way of paying tribute to someone incredibly special who lived an all-too-short life and using the column for good.

The second stand-out moment for me in this column journey came in Year 10. I did an ‘emergency’ #YEAR10PROBLEMS column in a fit of rage to stop my school scrapping A Level RE. Little did I know it was the beginning of what essentially became a campaign to save the subject I love. And it worked. I ended up being mentioned in Parliament, and, as they say, the rest is history. It only made me more political and more determined than ever to make a change in the world. And if it wasn’t for b**p and my column, I probably wouldn’t have started, let alone finished, my RE A-Level last week.

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These moments have been truly life-changing for me, but I owe them to the people who encouraged me to speak up for what I believe in, and who gave me the opportunity to do so. There is nobody to thank for that opportunity other than Melanie Cornish who has poured her heart and soul into creating not only b**p, but Bringing Words to Life. Without her and the opportunity, she gave me with these columns, who knows where I’d be. Thank you, Mel.

So…I think that’s about it. It feels strange to say goodbye, especially since I’ll still be writing here. But this is a goodbye because it is the end of an era.

Goodbye to all – new or old – and best of luck with whatever it is you’ve decided to do with your life. Even if you haven’t got it all figured out, you’ll be fine.

It’s been a pleasure.


-Lauren x