On the 19th of May, at exactly 12:00 my final exam was over, marking the end of the academic year. As much as I am looking forward to summer and being a relatively stress-free human for a few months; I am feeling particularly reflective. As well as experiencing all the typical student scenarios; coffee induced late nights in the library, intoxicated Wednesday evenings at the student’s union and subsequently rocking up to your Thursday 9am lecture half still in your pyjamas at 9:10; the most rewarding and exciting moments of the year, are a collation of completely unexpected, spontaneous and terrifying scenarios. Here are a few of my favourite:
The Time my Grandmother Came to London and Got Very Mad at Theresa May
I had an unexpected phone call off my mum one Wednesday morning, explaining that my Nan and her two friends would be travelling to London to take part in a protest. I was instructed to go and ensure that she “didn’t get herself into any trouble.” Assuming this was a slight exaggeration on my mum’s behalf, I arrived at Parliament Square with intentions of a relatively calm afternoon with my Nan. However, when I emerged from Westminster Tube Station, all I could see was thousands of women draped in purple sashes labelled “WASPI”, yelling, singing and waving their fists towards the Houses of Parliament. A few hours later I found myself in the heart of that crowd, with my Nan, learning about their struggle and chanting along with them. After living in London for two years, my first genuine experience at a protest was completely accidental but a completely irreplaceable adventure.
The Time I Got Lost at 4am
We were somewhere in central London, it was 4am, I was exhausted, my friend had just lost her Oyster card, our phones were on low battery, and we weren’t entirely sure of where to get our next bus from. We decided to walk down the road towards the street map, and stopped to check the name of the street we were on. Tired, lost and so very ready to be at home in bed, we both looked up at the street name. Turn Again Lane. London was surely mocking us. We looked at each other, both perplexed but desperate enough to be willing to take advice from a street sign, without any exchange of words, we turned around and began walking in the opposite direction. As if it were a miracle, within 30 seconds we could see our bus stop and within a few minutes we were on our bus, driving through the city centre. It became clear that being lost in central London isn’t actually something to be hugely concerned about; I mean, I wouldn’t suggest looking to inanimate objects for advice; however, the number of maps, night busses, and people in the similar situations as you almost ensure that there is a way for you to arrive home safely.
The Time I spent 76 Minutes Stuck in a Lift
Living on the 5th floor meant that, occasionally, I had to overcome my slightly irrational fear of lifts. One morning I was supposed to be travelling to South Wales for a family party and I was running extremely late. I hopped into the lift with my shoes still untied and clothes falling out of my not very well packed bag. I was so preoccupied with composing myself that I failed to recognise that the lift was not moving. It wasn’t until the lights turned off that it dawned on me; I was stuck. None of the buttons were working. Everyone I phoned was busy. After being stuck for 15 minutes, I had to call the fire brigade. They arrived swiftly but were at a loss when considering possible ways to get me out. When it got to the half hour mark, I had stressed, cried, gotten frustrated with myself for being lazy and not taking the stairs, called my mum, and finally, accepted the fact that I was probably going to spend the majority of my day completely alone in a glorified box. One of the firemen stayed outside the lift the entire time, and we discussed a variety of topics from my increasing levels of hunger to the British weather; until finally, after 76 minutes, I was released.
From my first experience calling 999 to accidentally protesting the rising age of pensions with my 60-year-old grandmother, this year has been a series of peculiar events; but I honestly don’t think I would change a thing. Soon I’ll begin organising my Summer; even though knowing my luck, none of it will go to plan. I look forward to the slightly terrifying, unsuspected chaos that will almost definitely unfold over the next few months.