Boys, Reject, Uncategorized, Zero to Hero

Today’s Assignment: Make a writing prompt your own

Reputations; I currently attend a sixth form college and it seems to be a top hang out for superficial impressions.

Looking round our Sixth Form common room it was evident form the first time I stepped foot in there that divides and breaks were forming. My parents would laugh if I told them it was just like an American high school, but it’s really not that far off. As Janis from Mean Girls once put it:

“Now, where you sit in the cafeteria common room is crucial because you got everybody there.”

Maybe the stereo types in mean girls do take everything to the extreme, but I can relate to a few:

Let’s start with the greatest people you’ll ever meet. My group, my friends, made up primarily of my form class. As we’re now in Y13 we have inherited the comfy black seats that last year’s Y13 ‘main’ boy group used to have. There are about 20 of us…? We party on select weekends and don’t really pay that much attention to the other groups. We’re a diverse bunch of people and between cover just about every subject going, excluding maybe health and social and child care.

But in the next arrangement of black comfy seats such subjects are rife; health and social with child care form a definite majority. I don’t know the Y12 girls who sit there, but I’m pretty sure I don’t like them. I’m not some raving prejudicial stereotyping being, but before any one of them begins eating their lunch, the lipstick is out and applied in copious amounts. My particular grudge with his group began the day I asked one of them if I could borrow the chair her bag was placed she flatly refused to let me have it! If I could go back now I’d probably remark something like:
“Why is you bag using it? Trust me honey, I don’t think I’ll ever get over that one!”
But no… I probably just nodded, smiled politely and walked away.

I’m glad to say that since I left secondary school the Umpa lumpa race of girls- those who wear so much orange make up they’d give the Roald Dahl characters a run for their money- has somewhat become completely extinct. Maybe it’s due to the need of a good 5 GCSEs to get into college. And if they didn’t understand the conception of foundation (where the instruction are printed on the pack of the package) they didn’t really stand a chance did they? Nowadays they only seem to be gracing the younger years, with the exception of a few sixth form girls imitating them from time to time, claiming to have ‘done their make up in the dark’ that day.

Currently there is a rather large and growing intimidation circle which dwells in the corner on the walkway to the vending machine, but personally I haven’t had a single misdemeanour with any such member of that group. My only worry is that they do all look when somebody walks a little bit too close, and maybe that’s why their circle is described as one of intimidation…

We also have a pool table and X-box in our common room but sadly our final avid gamer graduated last year. Luckily this year the amateur inhabitants of this area are currently in the process of making a comeback since the thief who stole Fifa 14 has kindly returned it (nice catholic ethos right there). The pool table population is composed mainly of Y12 boys who all avidly watch whoever’s playing, adding the sound effects between conversations. Said pool table only takes 20p coins and there’s one individual, known to have over £20 worth in such change, loved deeply by each of his pool playing friends. However not even he can overcome the sad day when the pool balls are removed after bad sixth form behaviour…

“Look out, incoming Band Geeks!” (or as I prefer, the Music Kids). Such lucky individuals have gained unprecedented access to music facilities during school hours. Last time they entered the Common room expressions reading ‘Where are all the guitars?’ crossed their worried faces. For them, it had definitely been a while. I’m surprised I didn’t slip into their inviting trap, as a choir goer, and guitarist, I’m sure the jacket must fit. Maybe I was lucky to read the rejection get out clause at the bottom.

All members of the music kids will be forced to work unreasonable out of school hours singing and playing for the enjoyment of others whilst raising of charitable funds…

They infuriate me, but I promise to write a full review on this music society at a later date.
I also believe there to be a group of individuals whom I have never seen before in my life, but sure as the Pope’s a catholic, they attend my small sixth form, and some of them are even in my year. They inhabit the lunchtime-abandoned arts classrooms working to finish their projects even though they’re 539085 pages ahead of everyone else in the class.
You may be surprised to learn that taking, art, or textiles or photography doesn’t grant you access to this group (there are in fact amazing artists who are frequenters of the common room) I believe its roots lie between each individual having the shared fear of entering the common room. In this each member decided that it would probably be best that they brought their own lunch and found an empty far away (art’s on the 3rd floor) classroom, where they wouldn’t be bothered. And so when all the classrooms were taken, the art club was born, a club where each separate person realized they actually quite enjoyed the company of one another. If you’re out there, art club goers, maybe give me a sign sometime?

And how could I possibly forget the jocks? Well they’re an endangered species in Y13 with the endless parties and nights on the town taking their toll. Few make it past Y12, due to the reluctance from teachers to sped anther year battling for them to get some work done. In the end I think it’s the PE teachers that have a quite word, show the teachers to the trophy cabinet, and express the unending pain associated with finding such cabinet empty were these young jocks to be exiled.

And finally tucked away near the back, there’s a group of about 15 who sit round two wooden square tables and discuss Manga magazines and TV programs with frequency. Sometimes they place empty packed lunch boxes on their heads with cries of “you’re a wizard Harry” and I have to be careful my Harry Potter pencil case is shoved firmly into the bottom of my bag, safely out of sight. If I were ever to be alienated tomorrow form my group, this group would welcome me in with open arms and it’s true, I do enjoy the company of some of its members. In all honesty I’m probably like each and every one of them at heart; I just didn’t express my shared interest before the imaginary passes to each group were given out.

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Oxford, Reject

So did you get in…?

The 8th of January, 2014 had been a set date in my diary for quite some time; the day I’d receive the final decision about my place at Oxford University.

I’d like to say the letter I received was cold and heartless; but it would be a lie. Had I the unfortunate task of having to draft one, to hand out to candidates such as myself, I don’t think I could have done a better job. At least the cliché phrase of ‘competition being extremely strong’ was spared till the third paragraph and there was an actual signature at the bottom (even if it was a little scruffy).

It did actually shock me that I’d even received the opportunity to have an interview.  I’d tried very hard with my personal statement, tailoring it to Oxford’s course. I did however fail to mention, that from the age of five, I had always wanted to be an Air Hostess. And that unfortunately, this dream died the death when I realised that the staff (on short haul flights) never actually got off when it reached its destination, and that if they did then they would have nowhere to stay and never be able to make it back home.

There were no three days quite like my experience in Oxford. I suppose it’s comparable to the ‘Trial Run’ experienced by players of ‘The Cube’ prior to making the big decision as to whether they want to play the game or not. You’d say no to such a scenario, right? Honestly, I didn’t want to miss it for the world. But at Oxford it’s not the player who gets to decide, you’re told whether you can play the game or not, based on your trial run and history.

During my visit I was overwhelmed by the private school candidates that were competing for places against me. Not only by the fact that I seemed to be the only individual that had never experienced a public school at some stage in their life, but also because of their achievements. I felt physically sick listening to them talk about everything they’d done; from Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards to musical grades, in addition to countless previously attained AS levels and A levels stuffed under their belt.

I live in the North-East and have attended state schools all of my life.  I have 8A* GCSEs and 3As. I loved my secondary school and if it had a sixth form attached I’d never have left, even though it was placed in the failing category by Ofsted, when I was in Year 11. I have achieved 4 AS levels at grade A and I’m currently studying for 3 A-levels.

I knew in my heart that Oxford and I would never properly mix. I did my best, which is really all I could do. I don’t want to set myself some crazy goal whilst in a jealous and upset rage. I want to make myself proud of what I do every day.

So after crying my eyes out, like the mature and established 17 year old I pride myself on being, I realised that I’d always known the Oxford dream was a long shot. I always said tears would be shed today, regardless of the outcome and I am a girl who likes to keep her word. After a huge hug from my mum, words of wisdom from my dad and a long deep reflection in the bath, I’m ready to face the world again!

I know that all my friends, family and teachers are very proud of me for making it as far as I did. Honestly, I think there are some people who deserved to be interviewed far more than I did.

Congratulations to everyone who made it into the Oxford cohort today and commiserations to everyone who feels like I do right now!

Through all of this, I am acutely aware that many other leading universities will offer me amazing opportunities and I dare say I always slightly feared what the Oxford social life would include. But, above all of this, as many people will say, everything happens for a reason and Oxford just isn’t the University for me.

Thanks to everyone for their huge amounts of support; I couldn’t have made it to my interview without you.

Tomorrow is going to be a hard day for telling people, but I know I’m stronger now, due to the closure received, now I’ve become an ‘Oxford reject’.

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