17th June 2005 at 01:00

Life is Just One Big Rush By Timothy Hu, Fearer of the Wrath of Piano Teachers, 11, Homefield school, Sutton, Surrey

Note before reading: some information contained within this autobiographical piece may be slightly exaggerated.

Nowadays it's all about "finishing this" and then moving on to the next dozen-or-so essays, reports, or whatever. No room for rest or breaks. An average day for me goes something along the lines of this:

Morning - wake up. Do things expected of a person who has just woken up: eat, brush teeth etc. Go to school. Have lessons. Receive ridiculous amounts of homework. Try to stay awake - not because of uninteresting lessons, but just due to severe lack of sleep.

Lunchtime - eat lunch. Start worrying about next lessons, depending on what next lessons are of course.

Afternoon - have lessons. Look forward to going home. Then realise that ridiculous amounts of homework are, as of yet, undone. Regret not doing them while waiting to be picked up. Once home get shouted at by family for various reasons. Do homework. Complain about homework. Eat dinner. If on day before piano lesson then (if you are a piano teacher STOP READING NOW) somehow fit in a week's worth of piano practice. Regret not doing it on days that offered more time. Blame heavy, work-laden schedule. Brush teeth and wash self. Go to bed at extremely late time.

As you can see I clearly live the exciting life.

The thing is, though, I spend so much time working now that I don't have much of a life to write about any more. I thought life was supposed to be fun! We aren't around for long, so we might as well try and make the best of it. After all, who wants to just do work 24 hours a day? We shouldn't just be pressurised by competition deadlines (such as this one) and the like all the time. Why even at this very moment I am struggling to stay awake, type this up, and not get distracted from my goal. And then after this I have to (I mean it, if you are a piano teacher then get out of here if you haven't done so already) do a week's worth of piano practice (see above for excuse). It isn't meant to be like this! We should be out there enjoying ourselves, not cramped up in some stuffy office typing up what is only one in a long line of time-consuming essays in front of a light so dim it causes eye-strain in even those with the greatest night vision.

So, what I'm trying to say is: don't let your work take over your life like it has done mine. Have fun while you're still around, because when you go, unless you have done something truly memorable, the world will not remember you for your academic achievements alone.

Timothy was "a bit reluctant" to hand in his piece as he thought his teacher might not approve of its jokiness, writes Heather Neill. He need not have worried: James Langan, Timothy's teacher, says he has a good understanding of irony and an individual take on things, that he enjoys opinionated writing and is creative as well. Timothy plays the violin as well as the piano, is a member of school orchestras and sings in the choir.

He is particularly keen on drawing and makes pencil sketches of subjects in stories he has enjoyed reading. He also likes drama, attends the school club and recently took part in "a little production" of Romeo and Juliet.

James thinks that the Write Away materials are useful for subjects such as citizenship as well as for encouraging autobiographical writing and helping pupils to look at life experiences in a unique way.

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