A couple of weeks ago I became a student again, only this time it's minus the two weeks of freshers and I actually have to turn up. Other than being safe in the knowledge I wouldn't remember a single name, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Still, the day arrived and armed with fresh stationary (Tesco sucked me into its back to school range like a basic bitch in dick sand) I made my way to college.
Given previous travel experiences, I decided to leave over half an hour's room for error. Naturally, I arrived with two minutes to go. Wearing not even a shred of makeup (what a portion of those 30 minutes were intended for) I walked into the entrance to be greeted by what appeared to be my fellow classmates. So ensued the awkward hellos, shuffling up on the sofas to make room for a little one and my uncontrollable, competitive streak. Immediately I began attempting to suss everyone out. Who in the next 12 months am I going to have to take out? Cue some serious side eye.
I am brought back into the room by the arrival of our lecturer. Engaging, enthusiastic (thankfully not in a cringe way or I'd be gagging my way through class) and a former police officer. Great. Clearly, he’s going to be taking zero shit from Faulkner. After the niceties of his introduction it was time to enrol. Again, admin not one of my many talents. Pizza eating on the other hand, definitely a forte of mine. However! Feeling rather smug that I'd done this prior to arriving, said smugness was quickly eradicated when my name didn't even appear on the system. Of course it didn’t. Strong start.
In order to enrol I then had to make my way to a separate building, fill out the forms (again) and trudge back to the library whilst it was tipping it down. Drenched and slightly unimpressed (I say slightly...) I bowl into an almost silent room where my already enrolled classmates are happily sat at computers having a tutorial. Good for them (eye roll).
Next up? The photo for my student card. Back when I did it at Uni the first time round, it was not ok. This time round? Still not ok. Must have been something to do with the no makeup slash drowned rat look I was really going for that evening. So far, so good, until my lecturer mentioned that we would be using Harvard Referencing and I mentally did the closed eyes, backward head tilt with a simultaneous 'the fuck!?' gesture with my hands. Again, first time round, not ok.
Heading back into education got me thinking about the glory days when having to adult wasn’t a thing. The baby-faced days of Nivea Pearl and Shine, neon coloured bras from La Senza (purposefully on show at any opportunity) and the multi-coloured ‘heat mapping’ Photobooth filter. As it goes, I thought I was rather well behaved until I entered into a conversation with some old school friends. Safe to say living in a boarding house with your ride or die hoes was only ever going to lead to trouble. And by trouble, I mean the relentless attempts to wind up our House Mistress and live-in Tutor.
One evening during prep break, having taken all the cling film from the house, Phoebe and I really went to town on wrapping up the tutors’ car. Mid mission, out of the corner of my eye I was all of a sudden aware one of a security guard stood just meters away, arms folded, watching us having a great time. I am sure there was probably an eye roll in there somewhere. Freezing on the spot I gave him my best nose scrunching, cheesy grin after which he said, 'I saw nothing' and walked off. What a megababe! Even more satisfying was watching said guard being frog marched by said tutor down to her car to help unravel the mess we’d made. Even then he still didn’t tell on us. Win.
On another occasion, Phoebe and I (can you see the running theme here?) laid out a minefield of plastic cups, row after row filled with water from the tutors’ front door all the way down her spiral staircase. Whether she was in or out of the flat, she was going to be making multiple (and I mean multiple) trips to get rid of the water. Our antics weren't always directed at the staff, one Sunday afternoon was spent collecting all of the left footed shoes from the 3rd form just before we had to go to chapel, sneaking out on a Saturday night only to return the following morning after the boarding house alarms had been turned off and finding the best location to hide a fish in our House Mistresses office. OK. Most of the antics were aimed at the staff. All apart from one.
Manny. Our matron. What a woman! The type that had everyone's respect, who would let me order a box of bacon fries on top of the tuck order, just because. The type that would remind you where the boundaries were whilst simultaneously locking you in the tuck cupboard because you thought it'd be a good idea to climb in and hide in an attempt to scare her. Manny's remedy to a bad day was escaping up into her flat where we'd make fruit tea and watch episode after episode of NCIS. Worked every time. More often than not, waking me up in the morning involved throwing her lovely little Jack Russell, Stan, into my bedroom and closing the door behind her.
I remember very clearly after knowing Manny for about a month she told me with her wry smile that I 'wasn't half bad'. Apparently a rather naughty reputation had preceded me. I'm not sure what she was referring to. Although, as I am often reminded by the Mother Hen, the letters from the Headmaster she’s kept might suggest otherwise. One of the few actual fuck ups from school involved getting caught necking vodka in the ladies loos during the annual swimming dinner. Classy bird, right?
Side note: Originally, I hadn’t been invited because I was only 15 and they were going to be serving booze. Like the self-righteous little shit that I was I campaigned (with the headmaster) for myself and 3 others to be allowed to go due to our top dollar contribution to the senior team. Having swayed his decision, we then proceeded to do the exact thing I said we wouldn’t. Dick move.
I think it's safe to say this time round I won't come out with many stories like that. Hopefully, that means I may actually get the grades I'm after.
...seriously though, Harvard bloody Referencing!?