After what felt like an eternity, I was delighted to be able to return to school this June. My sister and I often refer to ‘the Hill’ as a second home to us, as it has been a place of community and happiness for the past six years of my life. Therefore, it was with excitement that I learned I would be able to return. On the morning of the 19 June, I was able to come to school to complete practical coursework for my Biology A level. This gave me the chance to once again see the beautiful grounds in all its summer glory, and seeing a deer as I left was the perfect ending to a beautiful morning.
More recently, this week, I was able to return to school to enjoy a day of intensive university preparation. The day began as I ventured up to the Lower Sixth flats, to be greeted by the friendly chatter and hubbub which would be found any other day. As we moved into the hall, and were greeted by Mrs Neil and Mr McCready, I know I was not alone in worrying that lockdown had affected my courses. Our minds were soon put at ease, as teachers from all subjects explained how, if anything, we had got ahead in our courses over the past three months. The rest of the morning was filled with useful sessions on the upcoming applications to universities, and the technicalities of UCAS applications. Girls that have elected to take on an EPQ were given the opportunity to discuss projects face to face with their supervisors and form a plan for the summer.
At lunch, the auspicious weather allowed us to sit on the hill and, while we ate, the familiar scene was welcomed by all as we felt the excitement to be back at Farnborough Hill. Despite the familiarity of the day, there were certainly challenges faced in the changes made around school. One the differences of the day was the one-way system around school. Admittedly, it did take time to wrap our heads around, as the typical routes we might usually take had to be modified. However, we quickly adjusted to the new and safe routes of travel around school. Distancing rules, too, provided moments of sudden realisation and abrupt jumps away from one another.
The afternoon consisted of vital university preparation, including one on one discussions with Mr McCready about predicted grades and which universities are suited to this. We then had the opportunity to discuss with familiar faces (both the current Upper Sixth and old girls) the subjects we would like to read at university. For me, this was incredibly beneficial, as I learnt a lot from those who have already gone through the process of personal statement writing and applications, as well as what university life is like in general.
Being back at school was truly a joy, and as life begins to return to a new normal, the familiarity of school life was certainly needed. While adjustments had to be made, these changes were welcomed as it allowed for the return to a place missed by us all over the last few months. In some ways, I was surprised to see school still standing exactly as I had left it, and yet, the familiarity was so comforting it was not unexpected at all.
Eleanor, Lower Sixth