I find that often in life it is important to look back before looking forward. What do I mean by that? It is important to reflect on your past experiences, on yourself and your relationships to see how far you have come and look at areas of improvement before you go on to your next adventure.
Going back to Woldingham, an all girl’s school in the middle of the valley (Surrey) was on my mind for a long time, seeing as it has been five years since my graduation. The school hosted an Alumni event sometime in May that I was invited to but couldn’t attend because I was in Law School, (what Law School does eh?) So I knew that on my mini-holiday I would have to go back.
At first I was a bit scared. What would the school be like? Would the teachers and staff remember me? Would I know anyone? Would this be an awkward journey? Most of the girls in the years directly below me had all graduated and I was going back to Woldingham alone, all my friends that should have come with me; either went earlier in the year, or were busy. So I went, alone.
Never be afraid of following your heart, whether or not you are on your journey alone or with company.
My very good friend Alice, who is an artist, check out her gifted work here was painting in one of the art rooms and so she was working for a while on her latest piece, I know right? However, not to worry, one of my old teachers planned the entire day out for me, down to a T, this was with less than 24 hours notice that I was coming by the way, I was just so moved.
I was met at the station by one of the Woldingham buses and driven to the Main House, where I walked up the steps I once left behind. Going though the colonial maple double doors I was met by a smiling receptionist who breathed a sigh of relief when I told her my name. (She was glad I finally arrived, I had missed my train). Before I could say much more, here my teacher appeared, who introduced me to a current sixth former and Ribbon (Ribbon means Prefect) who took me around the school grounds. I could tell she was nervous at first not sure what to expect; however after couple of laughs and me sharing some of my memories walking down the English corridor, she soon realised she was in safe hands. That coupled with the fact that she could still relate to the stories of the teachers that once taught me, now teaching her just completed the circle of life.
We spoke about the school, the changes that were made to the classrooms, the ribbons, teaching staff, and general administration. I cleared up the rumours that I had heard whilst away and confirmed some of her own, some of which included confirming my year group was indeed the notorious year that kidnapped the Head Mistresses son as part of our muck up day presentation (one day in the school year where the Upper Sixth are allowed to mess up the school grounds in any way they please and dress up however they like. I was a nun.) Apparently we are infamous, I danced around in glee, our reputation preceded us – goals!
She later stated that my old teacher I was liaising with had sent an email around to the whole school to let them know I was coming, and by whole school I figured she meant the staff, she said no, the whole school, staff and students, that was why some of the girls were looking at me with such wonder. She confessed she had felt such trepidation at first, as my former teacher he had given them my rap sheet so she expected a stuck up or uptight ‘lawyer’ and was elated to have come across me. Bless.
Going to the science blocks, was interesting, the school has invested a lot of money into refurbishing the labs, making an extension, complete with purple lights and then I saw one of my own. I was a House Captain (head of one of the schools houses back at Woldingham) and I saw one of my younger girls in an Upper Sixth physics class. I looked over at her and I asked, ‘where you in Stuart house?’ she responded with a ‘yes’, I said ‘I remember you.’ She repeated the same. I was so touched. The Physics teacher couldn’t believe that I had such a memory. I was personally in disbelief. Time really had flown by. My little year 7 was in Upper Sixth, God is great. It was in indescribable feeling, one of nostalgia, one of…more of these sorts of moments followed.
Be mindful of your manner, always be kind, you never know who is watching, feeling, thinking, and remembering.
As I was catching up with my former English teacher, as she inquired about what I was up to at the moment, a young girl stopped outside her office, I said ‘Hi!’ in order to make her feel welcome, as I looked over at her I knew who she was, my little Isabella. She was another Year 7 Stuart member that took a liking to me back in the day. She always thanked me for the work I did in Stuart house and kept in contact with me on Facebook. Such a beautiful and kind spirit she is. Finishing my conversation with my English teacher we hugged and I asked her how she was doing, she’s heading of to University to study Linguistics. I can’t explain how it felt. Honestly I give the ultimate glory to God. You never know the impact you are making in someone’s life until you do. So be mindful of your manner, always be kind, you never know who is watching, feeling, thinking, and remembering.
I was met by my former housemistress who welcomed me with open arms and a loud scream. My tour guide, lets call her Emily, told her that there was someone downstairs that wanted to see her, she came down. We knew it was her by the rustling of the keys across her chest. As soon as she laid eyes one me, we did the exact same thing, ran towards each other and embraced and had the best catch up.
An old teachers girlfriend, now wife, is currently a permanent housemistress in the Upper Sixth House as well as Geography teacher and she specifically asked to see me. It was so amazing, to feel so much love five years on. We spoke about her son that is a fabulous new addition to her family and the cherry on the top was her reading a text message from her husband saying she should say hi to ‘Big Mama Africa’ for him. I burst into hysterical laughter. I couldn’t believe that he remembered all these years; I even forgot that was actually a thing.
Woldingham, oh Woldingham. It was a brilliant and humbling experience to speak to the girls who were asked if interested, to join me for lunch to talk about the Law, as they were all budding lawyers. They asked pertinent questions and like the typical Woldingham girl I was I threw in a few cheeky tips to surviving University. They certainly got a taste of the Georgie madness.
Going back to Woldingham was an out of body experience. Being back where you once where, walking the corridors you once traversed, classrooms and bedrooms you spent hours in, the pressure and tension you felt back then, the stressful times that just seem like banter now, it was special. There is no greater feeling of empowerment than going back and seeing how far you have come. It has honestly been by the sheer grace of God. We thank God for growth. I am a much more confident, determined and passionate young woman due to some of the experiences I went through at Woldingham.
Have you been back to your former school or University my star? If you haven’t, try it sometime, and if you have, message me with your story here.