What going to school at SGA taught me about life
Boys, bitching and Taylor Swift
A friend at Eton once escaped his room in the middle of the night and used an inflatable dingy he bought off Amazon to row across the river into Windsor to pick up some beer. My school wasn’t like that. Just to be clear, the only time I left school in the middle of the night was to go to a Taylor Swift concert for which I had signed permission from both my parents and boarding mistress before doing so.
However, that’s not to say that my all-girls’ school didn’t have its quirks.
Something weird used to happen every so often at school.
Once in a while, for some reason (usually for an extra curricular talk of some kind) an unknown male would enter the school premises. It was feeding time at the zoo. We had hot Australian Study Skills James at first and then Spartan came to school. Naturally we all freaked the fuck out. We cried. We took photos. You think I’m exaggerating? I’m really really not. Albums were uploaded to Facebook to ensure no one missed out on these incredibly precious moments.
Nail polish? Save it for the weekend girls. Hair dye? Save it for the weekend girls. Strappy tops? Save it for the weekend girls. Any attempt at expressing some form of individuality? Save that shit for the weekend.
Being at school was the time to learn new things, make mistakes and have fun being a kid but for some reason, this wasn’t possible if your skirt is more than three inches above your knee. Or if your shoulders are showing. And don’t fucking start me on people who wore “baggy or ill-fitting” clothing. Those people were the absolute worst so naturally this was considered a punishable offence.
On hindsight, the real issue here is that 11-year-olds wearing strappy tops “made members of the school community feel uncomfortable”.
The level of sex education at school was abysmal. To be fair though, they did make one attempt. Although we probably would’ve taken it a bit more seriously if the biology teacher didn’t use a model of a penis that was luminous blue.
Generally speaking sex education was kept to an absolute minimum so instead it was spread through the reliable source of older sisters and word of mouth. The girl who lost her virginity first was the one who knew everything there was to know about sex and therefore was the only person who we could talk to about the matter.
I could literally write a whole article dedicated to the food at school. It was crazy. I’ve been to restaurants with worse food than our school food. Our lunches ranged from mussels in a white wine sauce (with fresh baguette for dipping) to chargrilled halloumi with breaded mushrooms and garlic mayo. We knew we were spoilt when it came to lunches, and this was validated by the Tatler Good School Awards. As if lunches weren’t enough, snacks at 10am and 4pm would be provided: freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were everyone’s favourite.
There’s one thing that I’m sure anyone who went to an all-girls’ school can relate to; the excitement of a social. Nothing could produce a level of excitement such as a social: our annual opportunity to socialise with a neighbouring boys’ school. It was by far the most exciting part of the year.
This right here is where shit happened. This right here is where the drama would go down. This right here is where our teachers would watch us in our sweaty attempt to grind and slut drop up against some unsuspecting boys, whilst listening to Pitbull and Sean Kingston. And then, somehow, when we were least expecting it, without the teachers seeing, someone did the deed. Someone kissed a boy. On the lips. What. The Fuck. That was gossip for the next month.
You know those girls who obsess over celebrities? The ones who tweet One Direction millions of times a day? The ones you probably rolled your eyes at, mocked and teased? That was me. Not just me. It was most of us. We ran those Twitter accounts. We cried when the video for Little Things came out. We lost our shit when Justin Bieber got a haircut. We were distraught. We felt betrayed and confused. Some of us are still recovering from this.
Waking up at some stupid hour in the morning to drive to a school in the middle of nowhere only to spend hours in the freezing cold, constantly passing the ball to the only girl who could run all the way to goal without running out of breath (because that was our only strategy) doesn’t sound like much fun, but it really was.
Generally speaking, we were never that great at sports. I mean, we tried, but we were pretty lazy. The thought of doing the bleep test even today makes me want to vomit. However, this doesn’t mean we weren’t unnecessarily competitive.
Bitching was basically part of the curriculum. Everyone knew it and everyone loved it. The teachers, the students, the parents, everyone. There’s no way to deny it and honestly, it’s not always a bad thing. It teaches you to have thick skin as well as some other essential life skills. It’s nice to think that you can always be honest with people but in reality that’s just not true.
You can’t be honest with everyone all the time and you meet people you can’t stand but you still have to work with them. The bitchy environment at school taught us how to deal with this. By the time you’d finished seven years of non-stop bitching and gossiping you get it out of your system. You realise how bringing each other down all the time is detrimental to everyone involved and it’s more important for us all to support each other à la Taylor Swift.
So yeah, being at an all-girls’ school had its quirks. But that doesn’t change the fact that those seven years were the best ever.