Tuesday 21st November
7am feels an almost deathly early time to be waking after an extended coach weekend to get to school for an 8.30 call over, and the subsequent lessons of double history, RS and English pass in a blur of catching up on people’s coach weekend and the gradual realisation that all the work I meant to do over the weekend is still not done, as the weekend commitments were seemingly so much more pressing at the time.
After lessons we have a hockey practice and then get ready for the joys of winter timetable and afternoon lessons. As I’m walking back to EDH in the dark and the rain a teacher happily cycles past and reminds my friends and me that it’s all “character building”… We suspect he may have had two frees that afternoon.
My evening was spent waitressing at the SSDPA (Shrewsbury School Day Parents Association) drinks with Rosie and Holly, which was held in Emma Darwin Darwin. It was really nice to meet and chat to the day parents, as being in a mixed day-boarding house and spending so much time at school, it’s easy to forget sometimes that I actually still live at home! I realise how ideal it is to live so close to such a unique school and how great it is being in a house with both boarders and day girls as we all get so involved in everything going on. The evening seems to be a huge success for the organisers and guests and indeed for Rosie, Holly and me, as we all managed to get through the evening without dropping or breaking anything. However, as the parents become increasingly involved in the vodka tasting, and Grant Williams steps up on a chair dressed in full Cossack dress and begins a speech in Russian, my friends and I decide it may be time to retire back to our rooms for some top schools before I head home.
Wednesday 22nd November
This morning we have an early part-song rehearsal for our performance in lower school chapel. With the exception of a few notes and awkward dance moves that had slipped our minds since the House Singing competition, it was (almost!) note perfect. It’s possibly even more fun to perform now as the initial nerves of the competition are gone and performing in front of the rows of bleary eyed 3rd, 4th and 5th form first thing on a Wednesday morning feels a great deal less daunting than the eager and critical sea of parents, teachers and judges assembled in the Alington Hall on the actual night. From the point of view those of us performing it went really well and our collaboration of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and “Riding Solo” was a tuneful and inspiring start to the day...however, the lower school boys (our audience) seemed possibly a little less impressed and more preoccupied by dozing off in a state of deep contemplation of their looming day of lessons and sports fixtures.
After lessons on a Wednesday we would usually have a 1st XI hockey match, but this week we have a training session instead (we can’t help but wonder if the prospective opposition have been scared off by our recent success against Shrewsbury High...). We spend the majority of the session working on shooting, leaving us optimistic about Saturday’s match against Bedstone College. After hockey training I have an athletics session with my club in town, and return to school thoroughly exhausted but determined to get some top schools done. After this I go home at 8 for a meal and to catch up with my parents before an early night.
Thursday 22nd November
This morning I woke to the huge promise of an email from UCAS. Having seen a number of friends recently receiving seemingly endless offers from their prospective universities I opened it with a great deal of excitement and nervous anticipation...only to discover that it is merely UCL inviting me to yet another open day. Excitement over. Oh well, I hear they always save the best ‘till last, a statement I choose to firmly believe in, having still not heard back from anywhere yet! Thursday morning begins with an early call over before sixth form chapel, with Moser’s performing their part song and Reverend Dobbie attempting to explain to us the supposedly philosophical meaning behind a diamond encrusted skull… After this I head off to a morning lessons.
On Thursday afternoons, while the rest of the school embark upon their vast range of 'Thursday afternoon activities', the upper sixth are given the opportunity to work or rest, whichever seems more important at the time. Whilst I confess to having spent some of these afternoons watching 'Come dine with me' on repeat, this afternoon history coursework seems more important…Thank goodness for 4OD. After spending all afternoon in the library with some friends (minus the occasional trip to grot) supper serves a well deserved break before top schools and when 9 o'clock arrives I'm well ready to return home and go to bed.
Friday 23rd November
The alarm clock takes less of a hit this morning than usual as Friday is a relaxing day for me in general, with a double PR in the morning and a set of my favorite lessons. My parents are obliviously also feeling unusually relaxed as they agree to let me drive to school. Despite a few 'near misses', and ignored red lights, I arrive at school in one piece and personally think I drove perfectly, though the faces of my parents would seem to tell a different story. Friday morning lessons of photography and English pass quickly, and after lunch we have another hockey practice despite the inclement weather conditions. After hockey I would usually have double RS but I'm excused for the afternoon to visit the hospital and have the stitches removed from a rather dramatic head injury playing hockey last week. (All worth it though as we won the game 5-0). As I sit in the waiting room I suspect my nerves may be similar to those felt by my parents felt when I was in the driving seat this morning, but 20 minutes later the stitches are all gone and I'm left with only a tiny Harry Potter like scar to show as battle wounds. It feels strange to be at home so early on a weekday and I actually miss the atmosphere of the house in the evening, but manage to catch up on some sleep…and Thursday’s ‘Come dine with me’.
Saturday 24th November
One of the things I convinced my self I would never get used to at Shrewsbury was the prospect of lessons on a Saturday. Having always been at a local day school, the idea is sacrificing a day of the precious weekend for lessons seemed simply preposterous. Whilst it is nowhere near as bad as I was anticipating, it still feels unnatural to be waking at 7 on the weekend. Maybe my body clock will have just about caught up by the time I leave… Despite being a half day, Saturday is very busy with a full set of 5 lessons followed by fixtures. After having been tormented by the predictable Harry Potter comments in callover, I head over to MSB for the first of my lessons. Before I know it, it’s Period 5, although the works of Milton and Shakespeare seem somehow marginally less inspiring (despite the valiant efforts of Doc Law) just before lunch on a Saturday, and the 1 pm bell comes as a welcome end to the week.
This afternoon we have a 1st XI hockey match against Bedstone College, and we are determined to continue our recent winning streak. Despite the horrendous weather conditions, we played an excellent game, although at times it must have resembled more a rugby match than a game of hockey due to the number of impressively bloody injuries we managed to pick up. Despite this minor hitch the game went very much to plan - winning 6-4. It's great to be heading to end of the season having won our last few matches, and hockey's definitely one of the many thing's I'll miss the most about Shrewsbury come July.