I kind of hated school. Well actually, school up until 6th Form was just about bearable. Have you ever read Louise Rennison’s novels that became a film, Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging? Well, in those books, the main character Georgia attends a girls school in Brighton and the way it was described reminded me of my somewhat mad girls school that I attended in Sussex. Our teachers, were at times, questionable and at one point I thought the whole system had lost the plot because we were allowed to wear whatever clothes we wanted if we were in GCSE year. It was brilliant. Yes it was very bitchy at times – but I challenge anyone to tell me of a school, single sex or not, that isn’t bitchy – however, most of the time we got along and had good relationships with our teachers and enjoyed the work we were set because of it. I loved that up until 6th form I experienced a relaxed school, because when I moved to a different, mixed college for my A-levels, that all changed.
I had moved to a school that promised an intense working environment to ensure Oxbridge-level standards of results. Rigid rules were enforced, to the extent that I couldn’t even carry a paper cup around the grounds in case someone saw. Yes – even paper cups weren’t allowed to be seen and I don’t know to this day what was wrong with the innocent drinking vessel. There was no customising the uniform or wearing a skirt any higher than knee length. If so, you were given a detention and/or sworn at by a scarily tall man called Mr Radj who terrified me. For the first few weeks at 6th form I was miserable and it took a long time for me to get to grips with the system and learn how to work it so that I could get away with certain things without getting into trouble. At that stage I began to enjoy my 6th form a little more – it was still huge amounts of pressure, but getting to sneak off to the local deli for a toasted goats cheese, humous and roasted vegetable ciabatta in my afternoons when I was meant to be sitting in the library was, sadly, very exciting for me! I skipped my (pointless) yoga lessons, managing to get a friend to sign me in and pretend I was there, and left to go home or go to lunch early. I began to get on well with my English teacher and it was nice to have someone who was quite young, she was about 25, who was fun and passionate about the subject that I wanted to pursue at university.
The boys at my final school were rugby jerks who I didn’t get along with and there were only a few girls that I jelled with. The social side was hard and it felt very much like I was living in a super-rich, closeted bubble. It was a privilege to go to such a fantastic school, but I’m glad I was only there for two years and had the time before hand to really enjoy going to what felt like a bit of a naughty, care-free girls school. It’s a funny thing, reflecting on the school years, because at the time it feels like they are never ending and you wish them away, however before you know it, they’re gone within the blink of an eye and all that is left for me are some fond memories of delicious toasties, mad teachers and far too much time spent thinking of ways to skip P.E.