Six months is the longest I've been away from WinColl for several years. It’s no surprise then that, walking onto campus for the first time at the start of term, passing New Hall, glimpsing the serenity of the Warden’s Garden, hearing the Itchen softly running past, walking out onto Meads and soaking in the familiar reds and greys of Sci School, Art School, QE2, Musa, War Cloister, Flint Court, School, College, Chantry, the spire of Chapel Tower towering over this vista, that all I could do was smile.
There’s always a sense of purpose to the start of term: bags and boxes to be moved; items to be unpacked; toiletries and stationery, which you’ve forgotten, to buy; people to bump into; activities to begin; new teachers to meet; emails to answer. Before we returned, I was terrified all this would be gone - replaced by a chasm of two weeks, filled with work, IT issues and ennui. Surprisingly, school hasn’t been much different - maybe last term made online lessons the new norm, but having extra tables in lunch, socially distancing during Preces, spending most of our time together as a house year and doing activities as Houses have also felt very natural. Perhaps it’s just our typical “make do and mend” attitude? Regardless, we’ve been remarkably resilient I think.
It’s those House activities that I’ve really enjoyed. What do you do on a Sunday if you can’t eat out or go home? If even Chapel can’t happen? It turns out you listen to Rev White’s podcast (replete with Lord of The Rings references) and then head out to the Warden’s Garden to read Coriolanus with Mrs Quinault, or you play croquet, or tennis, or football; you spend an hour and a half running a science trivia quiz for your house, and lounge in the sun, remembering Conway’s Checker Problem and the six types quarks (up, down, top, bottom, strange and charmed!); you play board games after Tea. You spend time with your year. You chat.
I’m not sure how much longer I can go without Domino’s or being able to rehearse a play together with other people but this “new normal” feels… normal. And, with nineteen different channels in College’s own Ekker program, along with all the school’s offerings on SOCS, it certainly isn’t boring. Houses are wonderful communities (which only grow more wonderful the more you do in and for them), the school gives a million opportunities to get involved every single day. I hope once life isn’t so restrictive we keep something of this time - I certainly hope I’ll choose another Improv workshop over going into town for the third time that week next term if the opportunity arises.
2nd July 2020
In our last postcard from home this term, Anvesh explains that, whilst he misses friends and school life, he has enjoyed spending time with his family, learning recipes from his older sister and playing games with his parents.
27th June 2020
Struck by the terrible hardships facing vulnerable communities in his home city of Bangkok, Toh started making nutritious, tasty food to be delivered to those most in need. In an inspiring postcard, he explains how he's balanced his charity work with his school work.
22nd June 2020
Denied a public stage on which to act out the drama that is such an important part of his life, Oscar has improvised whilst in lockdown and created his own set, costumes, and cast family members, to bring theatre to life inside his home.
18th June 2020
Tristan is finding new enjoyment in classically British pastimes and literature, as well as finding the increased independence required of online learning the perfect preparation for university.
15th June 2020
Volunteering in his local village and cycling for charity, Alfred is using his time away from school in a particularly inspiring way.
11th June 2020
Writing from Hong Kong, Seb is missing dorm life in his boarding house. He's working his way along the main island's walking trail, to escape his apartment whenever possible.