Milli Crouch joined the ESMS Junior School in Primary 6 when she was 10 years old and, having had the honour as serving as a Deputy Head Girl in Sixth Form, she left Mary Erskine in 2019 to begin the next stage of her life. In this article Milli reflects on her years as an ESMS pupil and her hopes for the future. Milli says:

“Leaving the Mary Erskine School at the end of last year was bittersweet. I was sad to leave behind all the people who had been a part of my life for so long, and nervous to be moving on from the relative safety and comfort of the structure which school provided, but I was so excited to be moving on to the next stage of my life at university. Summer was spent on lots of hill walks, an interrailing trip through Europe and, finally, packing up to move to Dundee.

ESMS had always encouraged active participation in extra curricular activities. Probably as a result in my first week of university as a History and Politics student I found myself writing a manifesto and designing a poster to run in student elections while my flatmates prepared to go out for the night. Additionally, exactly two weeks after I moved in, I was helping at the Open Day for the university, directing prospective students to buildings I had never been to myself! I have always loved being involved in as much as I could, and during my first year at university I was the Class Representative for first year history and helped in encouraging students to vote in the General Election in December. The opportunities that ESMS gave me, through foreign exchanges, clubs and leadership roles, led to my passion for being actively involved wherever I can.

It was when I was writing my first university essays that I realised how valuable S6 dissertation writing had proved to be. The seemingly endless hours of ensuring my references were perfect suddenly became the most useful skill I had developed through Sixth Year, and the importance of historiography was stressed just as much at university as it had been in my Advanced Higher History classes. The self-discipline needed for a course with 14 contact hours was much more than I expected, and a steady routine of working in the library became essential.

When I visited Mary Erskine in January of this year, it was strange to realise just how similar and familiar it all was. Eating the school’s fish and chips was a nostalgic experience, even though it wasn’t that long ago when Friday lunch fish and chips were a given.  Once you leave school you expect everything to be different, and it is a weird feeling to realise that school continues on after you leave more or less identically.

I feel sorry for the disruption caused by Covid-19, particularly for the current Sixth Formers, who will likely miss many of the end of year events which stand out as highlights of my school experience: the summer ball, Alton Towers trip and our Leavers’ Ceremony to name a few.

The coronavirus has now more than ever demonstrated to me the importance of making the most of every opportunity, whenever you can. I am planning to study in North Carolina, USA, later this year (2020-21) however this opportunity may be taken away from me due to closed borders or grounded airlines. I am currently uncertain about which continent I will be living on for the next year but what I do know for certain is that I will get involved in as much as I can, and not take anything for granted. I would encourage others to do the same.”

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