Let’s Talk: My school life

Well hello there! Seeing as the new academic year is about to begin I think it would be a good idea to talk about my experience at school, because school is always an interesting time for everyone because of the things we all go through and all the same challenges like making new friends, finding a girlfriend or dealing with a bigger school. So I would like to share my experience of secondary school with you all.

I attended Exmouth Community College for my secondary school and looking back, it was a really lovely environment to be in. The school was the biggest secondary school in the country when I was there with 2,500 students, 450 students in each year group. There were two campuses to the school connected by a bridge across a main road. It was nice being in such a big school because no one really paid attention to you unless you played for the schools football team, and I can assure you I didn’t. The thing about secondary school is that it isn’t the classes that really matter. For guys, the main thing was getting female attention. It seemed like that was all that was in focus at that particular point. The one problem with that is that if you look like me, girls don’t really feel the same way. I was never going to be the guy that girls fought over in the playground. Come to think about it, I wouldn’t even like to estimate how many times I heard the sentence “I really like you, but just as a friend” and it is still something that I get told today.

Having never really fit in with anyone before in school I made it my mission to find a group of kids who I thought I would fit in with. After two years of hanging out with people from my form group I finally found that group in year 9. There were about 20 of us, two of which I still frequently talk to and would consider to be some of my closest friends. We all used to hang around by the music department. It was away from the teachers and everyone else just left us to it. I can remember there was this girl in the group who I was desperate to impress. I saw her the other day while I was out for a run and she is still the cutest girl I think I have seen. However, I was a short, fat kid who was never going to impress anyone. I thought that if I could show that I was smart, it might work. It always does films after all. I was reasonably clever, I was in top set French (not that I can remember any of it) and this meant I was allowed to choose Spanish or German to study after school. I chose Spanish because Enrique Inglasias was around back then and every girl loved him so I thought it would work. Now, I never learned anything but one phrase which was “Donde estar la polo?” which exactly translates as “Where is the chicken?”, something that would never help me impress anyone.

Soon after my failure of mastering the Spanish language, we had to choose our GCSE options. I chose to continue Spanish, hoping that something miraculous would happen and I would seem really intelligent and attract girls. I also chose Drama, which was something that I was good at and the girls that took drama were very good looking. I managed to get a part on the GCSE course were I got to kiss one of the good looking girls, something which at the time I was very proud to say to my friends in year 10 that it was my first kiss. Drama was always fun, it was really the highlight of my school week. It was such a relaxed atmosphere and the teacher was also my form teacher so he gave me all the good roles. Over the course of the two years of double drama on Thursday’s I had three girlfriends. Of course I was still the short, fat kid, but I started hanging out with more popular people and I was good at it. I thought for a very long time that I would be the next Hugh Grant and auditioned for literally everything I could. The best role I ever got was Leroy the boxer in Bugsy Malone, where during a stage fight I accidentally hit someone in the face and split their lip. I remember a family friend told me that the film War Horse was being filmed on Dartmoor and that I should audition, so I did. It was only for a background role but I took it so seriously. I thought this was going to be my big break and that was going to be it. I showed up to the audition and got a call back after playing a vulnerable child in the back of a scene. The call back was in a couple of weeks and me and my parents went to Spain on holiday. When we got back I attended the call back but got told straight away that I was too tanned for the role and should go home. My acting career was very short lived.

Year 11 came and it was a normal year really; Show up to lessons, do enough work to avoid getting told off, prepare for exams. Year 11 was also probably my least favourite year at school. I got really badly bullied by other boys, and the girls got a lot meaner. I was getting bullied because I started to develop a stutter and I was short and fat. Basically a bullies dream situation; someone that doesn’t look as good as most other people and with something they are insecure about. It got to the point where I played sick to my parents to avoid going in to school. Something they’ve never known. When I returned to school after a few days my form tutor noticed that I was a lot less confident than I was the previous year and I was a lot quieter. He sat me down one morning during P.D and chatted to me about it and he said that it always happened to the nicest, best achieving students. Of course he was going to say that, it’s what he got paid for. Although I’d like to think that he was actually telling the truth in that case. He suggested that I auditioned for the school play that year, which was Bugsy Malone. He said I would feel more at home like I did in drama class, and that it would help me get back to myself As I said above I managed to get one of the lead roles, and I was so excited about it. But once other kids in school found out they used it as a reason to beat me up because “acting is for gays” and that I was “a poof”. This was a time where I was very insecure about a lot of things and that didn’t help. But as soon as I walked into the rehearsal space everything was okay. Even standing on a boiling set during a tech rehearsal was the most fun thing for me and anyone that knows what a tech rehearsal is like knows it’s like hell on earth. Once it got to the shows opening day and we performed for the whole school, everything stopped and for that week I was one of the popular kids and everyone treated me differently. It was amazing.

Now, the point of this is that school is always tough. It’s not ever straight forward and its never an easy ride. But finding a group of friends who are amazing is decent. When I’m a parent I will tell my kids to always pick something fun like drama or music or art because it gave me time to relax and escape everything that was happening outside. School only lasts for a few years though and then you get onto University, which essentially the same thing, but a lot more stressful. You still get the bullies, but they are a lot smarter about how they do it so they don’t get thrown out and still keep the Student debt. If you’re starting secondary school this year, good luck! It can be really fun at times!

Love you, Bye!
P.S. Don’t forget to be awesome


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