Going Back to Hell 101

No one ever did confess to being under the age of 11 so I’m going to assume you guys are in the same-ish age bracket as me and are school-age. By ‘school age’ I mean ‘in compulsory education’. I’m technically university age but am also technically on a gap year and I don’t have a clue how you degree-types work so I’m going to assume you guys have your shit together because this post is a guide to…

Going Back to Hell*

*In this instance “hell” can be taken to mean “school”.

Let’s level with each other first of all. I kind of hated school. I liked to learn – mostly – but I loathed deadlines and homework and pressure (seven years in a grammar school and a talent for being too conscientious made for one mini heart palpitation per day and cold sweats every fortnight. Oh, I’m kind of tense? Really? Ihadn’tnoticedI’monadeadlinefuckoffI’mfine). My favourite parts of lessons were when you could have conversations with friends and the teacher and learn without realising you were learning. Too bad it took until year 13 for that teaching method to really be okay with senior management…

So I was always reluctant to go back to school after the holidays. Every holiday, up to and including Easter 2014, I dreaded not just the first day back but all the days until my next piece of freedom. Once I was there I was fine. But I always resented my school for not being more like Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood. (Why can’t we have 12 Christmas trees and a lava wall? What is wrong with singing furniture and classes lead by students with the best monster-killing record?)

In retrospect, not fully embracing my fate as a pupil at an all-girls English grammar school probably set me back. No lesbian jokes please.

Because when I think about it, if I had fully considered the workload, if I had understood that sometimes you have to play the game in order to finish it – woa I’ve been watching too much sport – I would have made the correct preparations. In, say, August.

Since I care very much that you all don’t spend nine months of your life wanting to stab your eyes out with you HB pencil, I have put together a short list about how anyone – yep, even you with your weird as shit academic situation – can make school slightly less shit. You’re welcome.

Step 1: Prepare

Did Mo Farrah just turn up to the Olympic Stadium and go for a jog to win those medals in 2012? No. I presume he planned that gig, preparing himself for the utter tedium of a 5 billion lap run. He was not taken by surprise by the circus he was in.

From madmanmadeofstraw.tumblr.com
From madmanmadeofstraw.tumblr.com

So let’s confront the facts: you have to go to school. No matter how late you stay up playing Sims pretending tomorrow is Saturday, you’re going to have to get yourself out of bed and learn some information at an absurdly early hour. Take a moment to fully appreciate this, since acceptance that you have a problem is the first step to solving it. (I hear the same concept applies to quitting drugs.)

Now you’ve faced the butt-ugly truth, it’s time to review your physical belongings. Your uniform if you have one. Your bag. Your pencil case. It has been pointed out to me that I buy more time buying stationery than I do clothes, which is totally justifiable because you can’t see every piece of clothing you wear but you do have to get your pencil case out five times a day, five days a week. So it’s got to look damn cute and actually hold pencils for more than a term. Now get yourself down to Staples and if your parents don’t want to pay for functional equipment, point out that if fineliners are the tools of Oscar winners, you need them to not fail A Levels.

Step 2: Organise

… and stay organised for as long as possible. That goes for setting deadlines, completing projects, revising for exams, planning your actual life around school, etc. You will definitely fuck up somewhere along the line – I once forgot to go on a school trip; Ellen forgot to go to an AS module. But you can keep your shit together for more than the first week of September by doing one teeny tiny thing: using the brain cells you just exercised in class to remember all the stuff you have to get done. Or if that’s not your gig, then by utilising your school planner and covering your calendar in so many notes it looks like a courtroom puked. Use colour coding if it helps/you want your calendar to look like pride week puked. Keep your timetable safe. Keep your passwords noted. If you’re planning to skip school to see your favourite band play in Camden, do that day’s work in advance. That way you’ll get to see JBiebs or Green Day or whoever floats your boat and your teachers won’t think you’re a delinquent arsehole for missing a topic for the immortal sight of Jimmy Urine sticking a phone down his pants.

For the record I never skipped class for a band. MSI was playing Camden on a godly scheduled teacher training day. No one had to negotiate homework to see Jimmy do something freaky.**

Ah, regrets.

Step 3: Retain Your Sense of Humour

 Sometimes your attitude toward the dickheads with whom you spend 35 hours a week is this:

From let-it-be-infinite.tumblr.com
From let-it-be-infinite.tumblr.com

Sometimes you and your non-dickhead friends will experience this attitude:

Intense Contemplation black-white-and-perfect.tumblr
From black-white-and-perfect.tumblr.com

But mostly you’ll be like this:

Psychos from clairedelunes.tumblr.com
From clairedelunes.tumblr.com

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is compulsory reading for anyone who’s school age, by the way. But seriously, the ability to laugh will get you through those lessons where the clock has definitely slowed down or the lunchtimes when your friends are gloating that they got higher marks in some test no one will remember in two years’ time. You might be laughing at yourself or the situation you’re in or maybe at somebody else (don’t be a dickhead to others to make yourself feel better though, it’s very year six).

Sometimes things will be very grey and if you’re having more than just a few low days, do everyone a favour and talk to someone – turns out teachers are people too, how about that – because if you’re going to get through school it should be in one relatively happy piece.

So there we have it.

Three golden nuggets of advice to make your life superduper perfect less shit. Hopefully.

**For the record, I can’t remember if Jimmy did actually put a phone in his pants. I do know, however, that he fake-called the Queen.

Dear: Friends in Room 9

I would like to say that if any of my friends who have lessons in Room 9 saw a pencil-case on the filing cabinet recently that looks suspiciously like this:

THEY SHOULD HAVE PICKED IT UP, LOOKED AT THE NAME ON THE RAFFLE TICKETS AND GIVEN THE GODDAMN PENCIL CASE TO ME, PREFERABLY SLAPPING WHOEVER IT WAS THAT NICKED MY RULER, V7s AND PROTRACTOR.

  I lost that pencil-case in SEPTEMBER. I have, however, left a note in the box I found it in, asking for my stuff back.

  I didn’t know pencil-case had a dash until WordPress’s spell check pointed it out.

This Time One Week Ago, I Was a Bat. Complete With Cave.

  I pause in my revising of ultrasound waves to talk about the first week back at school.

  Jesus H. Christ. How can a week only four days long go on forever????? If you answer that question, I will give you a million pounds. Or a guest-post explaining it. But – seriously – I don’t get it. Is it down to becoming nocturnal over Christmas? Eating too much over Christmas? Only watching Glee over Christmas?

  Saying that, Glee is pretty much the only thing I’ve watched this last week too. I still can’t work out if I like it (and I definitely turn the volume down when they start belting one out). Having watched several episodes, I have come to the conclusion that I am drawn to the show because it’s about a normal school with, like, boys, in it. I go to an overly stressy all-girls grammar with uniforms. Green uniforms.

  Glee is a parallel universe. Also I’ve always quite liked the idea of singing and/or dancing when I’m pissed off instead of stamping around, swearing and occasionally punching stuff/people. What can I say, I’m passive at heart. Plus one of the guys is becoming more and more attractive every episode.

  If you can get who out of me, you really can have a million pounds.

Yo, Subscribers, Click the Link and READ THE WEBSITE.

  If I start this blog any more times I’m going to get carpal tunnel.

  A few years ago, I met this girl through a mutual friend. I’d heard her name on the grapevine, mostly bitchy comments, and when I met her I kind of thought “Is this it?” With a French plait and glasses, looking at me like I was some sort of shiny new object out of the box, she was more gangly than glaring. I think I thought she was weird.

  Next September, we had the same classes in a couple of subjects, and I learnt a few things very quickly: this girl talked. A lot. The teacher could have been discussing how not to set yourself on fire and she would have been turned around, whispering to whoever would listen about the time she really did set herself on fire. Next, she liked to be in charge. I found out later that she has two older sisters. The most important thing: regardless of your reputation or lack of verbal communication skills or pot habit, she would come up to you at twenty-five past eight in the morning and ask if you got your eyebrows waxed.

Then point out a hair the beautician (or the tweezers) missed.                  

  Fast forward two years. Well, eighteen months. Perhaps a year, but to be honest timekeeping went out the window half was through year seven. Anyway, this girl turned out to be really nice, under the thick skin and OCD. We chatted on the phone, I started paying attention to fashion after her fourteenth one-woman conversation about quiffs being two seasons ago (regardless of their newfound fashion in high schools).

  Then, c’est la vie, I screwed up. Big time. I learnt about feeling really awful for the first time… Also discovered that feeling shitty is worse when you brought it on yourself (Hear that kids? Treat others as you wish to be treated. KARMA EXISTS).

      

  Three months on, everything’s still a bit rocky. Okay, more like, ‘that’s a really huge mound of boulders, do we dodge or do we crash?’ Mostly we seem to crash. Well, I do. I call them learning curves.

 

  What have I learnt? Oh yeah. Honesty is key when one person in a two-way discussion offends the other one. Pretending not to care about hurt feelings and bringing it up two weeks later is not a smart move. Neither is having a hugely massive conversation via text. Thumb ache, dude. Also there’s no way to read expressions or interpret tones. So for anything more than a semi-important talk, leave MSN alone and talk the old-fashioned way. Face to face.

  In fact, employ honesty 99.999% of the time. More if possible. That way, nothing can bite you on the arse later on, there are no grudges. Plus, even if there is a screaming fight in New Look because one of you pointed out that the other needs a bigger dress size, you’ll laugh about it later. Three months of constant sniping is not so easy to giggle about.

  The moral to this story seems to be: don’t judge people on first appearances, judge them on how you react to the first appearance. And the second, and third, and ninety-millionth.

Happy Sunday Evening. Unless You’re in California.

  I’ve been having a discussion with a certain someone about pages on this blog, and what should be added to it.

  I guess I now owe her lollipops because there is a guest book here. In case you feel the need to sign it twice, go to Talk to Frank, then click on the bit saying ‘Drop Me a Line’. It won’t let you put in just Essex. Every time I tried to I got told I live in California…

  So I put London.

  Here is some of my summer holiday so far:

  Elizabeth chose the colour, but I’ve had to get my nan to undo so many stitches I’m starting to wonder why I nodded when she went, “That one,” in the shop. The colour is so… So… lilac. Then again, if it was violet with red patches and sparkly bits I’d hate that too.

  I think I’d hate violet with red patches and sparkly bits anyway.

  I had a very intelligent thought earlier, while pondering on the existence of hell. A lot of people say that high school is hell. I have decided that I would school would indeed be hell if I had no friends.

  Which makes me very glad I do… Even if there’s only five of them.

“Is my skirt too short? It is? Good. Screw you.”

  I thought I’d take a moment from everything that’s been going on and point your attention to the excellent new header I uploaded thirty seconds ago. It is staying up there for approximately eight million years, as that is the amount of time it took to match the colours to the format I write in on Picnik and Paint.

  Yes, I use Paint. I would also be a big fan of a website called Crayon, if one existed. It would teach people like me how to draw straight lines and font so art exams are less painful than French ones. There would be every colour and shade known to anyone, and people who own Flash/Photoshop/graphics tablets would not be allowed in on principle.

  However, I am digressing from the track I originally wanted to write about. Ah yes. This blog is a place for me to say what I want, when I want to, in whatever way I see fit at the time. No apologies for having an opinion, though bitching over the Internet is too 2008 to consider. It is also childish. So, without further ado;

Ten Things I/We/You Hate About High School

#10 Teachers thinking they are better than you because they are the ones with the diploma and whiteboard pen. Teachers saying they know what you are going through since they were once hormone-riddled teenagers, then lecturing you on the dangers of GHB. If we want to take it, we will take it. If we don’t die or become junkies, hopefully we won’t try it again.

#9 Classmates with their heads stuck so far up their own arse they can’t see the light. The ones who only see that they’re different to you, but act as though it’s a criminal offence. It isn’t. For God’s sake, accept that not everyone enjoys listening to Cheryl Cole and get over the fact they enjoy heavy metal or classic. These people are often also the ones who think it matters what your high jump score was and whether or not you can multiply out the brackets.

#8 A-Levels/AS-Levels/GCSEs/SATs/end of year exams/end of topic tests. Enough said.

#7  This probably only applies to girls and gay boys, but I’ll stick it in anyway: the fear of saying anything meaningful or personal to anyone, in case the next day four other kids know about it. Same applies to bitching. There are two people in my school I would take into my complete confidence, possibly three. The rest I don’t know well enough and/or don’t trust not to spill at the slightest pressure. Or on MSN.

#6 The permanent emphasis on gay people, sex and gay sex. No longer being in primary school clearly shows that every other conversation has to involve innuendo, especially about fags, but it’s totally not cool to come out about being a fag, which brings me on to my next point…

#5 There is no way to tell when you are fifteen, whether or not you are gay or bisexual. So, attention seeking kiddies, stop ‘coming out’. Everyone else, stop worrying. The consensus is; have a hell load of fun, experiment  and steer clear of STDs. Chances are in later life you will want to get married to a member of the opposite sex and help populate the Earth without spreading AIDS.

#4 The rivalry between schools and the stereotypes that accompany them. The typecast for my all-girls grammar is ‘posh lesbian’. You simply have to take a look at some members of Year Ten to see that this is not true.

#3 Confusion. Over what to have for lunch, what to say to whom, where to sit, what to put in the answer space, whether you like that person or not. I seem to spend seventy percent of my time at SHSG not knowing what to do.

#2 The toilets.

#1 Pressure. From everyone. On you. To ace that paper, sleep with that dude, practice for that assessment. To be nice to friends and family (which you really want to do because they are nice) while stressing out about tomorrow’s exam and wondering if you finally blew it and said the wrong thing to her again.

  I may add to this list and make it The Definitive Yet Unlimited List of Reasons Why We Are Allergic to Senior School. Watch this space.

  Good luck in the jungle, and remember: you can’t go to hell, you’re already in it. However, you will leave when you are sixteen or eighteen and at some point in your mid-twenties you will be glad you put up with it. Probably when you recognise some prep in the high street who’s not got the movie-star life she thought she would.