Sunday, 4 September 2011

I ended my last blog promising to reveal all regarding our plans for the traditional Theme Your Team competition taking place on the last afternoon of Clearing.
We have all worked so hard over the last few weeks and this is an opportunity to come together to celebrate and to say good bye to each other as the whole clearing mechanism is wound down, packed up and moved back to the store rooms in Avery Hill – until next year.  It feels like the end of a summer festival!  I have worked for eight weeks straight as have many others from the enquiry unit team while the newbies joined us for the last four.  We are exhausted. We answered 12,500 calls in A level week and 12,700 the following week.  We had to retain so much information about the complex Clearing process, and about so many aspects of the university system in general, and about our university in particular. As we work so closely with our colleagues we form amazingly strong bonds as we help and support each other through such a stressful event.  In the week just gone, the calls were of a different nature; more people with registration, start date, and accommodation queries and just a few still looking for university places.  In between calls we began our preparations to decorate our bay with our theme of Twister Party. We kept it top secret until the last minute after rumours that our first idea had been commandeered by another team who shall remain nameless!! 
 Everything was covered in spots, feet, and hands while we each dressed in one of the twister colours of red, yellow, blue or green.  We had backboard decorated with ‘twister’ written in many different nationalities to reflect the cultural diversity of our team and the university.

I started cooking my twister fairy cakes the evening before and didn’t finish decorating them until 10.30 pm while Cherie came in early to finish decorating her wonderful cake. Anaum designed our twister hats, beautifully modelled her by team leader Laura, and recruited several team members to get them finished in time.

Each computer was personalised and played a special twister screen saver.

Royalle and I model our spinner hats.  Note we still have our headsets on ready to convert instantly to our professional telephonist mode!

We had a twister game in progress as demonstrated to the  judges as they did the rounds.
Our team Leader Laura gloomily announced that her team never won anything and was known as the bad luck team; undaunted however, we were not prepared to give up that easily!  As we toured the other teams we realised what stiff competition we were up against.  The themes included Pac man, Ghostbusters, Casino Alex, Clearing Superheroes, Clearing bandits, and High Vis party and the standard was incredibly high.  We came close second, losing by only three points to Pac Uz-Man the theme of my old Team Uzma. After stuffing ourselves with cake, sweets and treats we then had to have the whole thing dismantled and tidied away by 5.30pm.
As I left that evening, I looked back, at the bare room. It was as though it had never happened, the only evidence of our fantastic Theme your Team extravaganza being in the many photos we all took.
… and now as the weather turns to Autumn it is time to prepare for my last year of college.  It feels an age since I was preparing to start my first year, yet the time has flown. Last week I took a call from a young woman about to start her degree, who wanted to know whether she needed to come to Freshers’ week and her ‘meet her year group’ event. I encouraged her to attend, trying to explain how helpful it is to meet your fellow students in a social setting, to find your way around the campus with everyone else who is just as lost as you and to begin to form bonds that will stay with you through your three years of university and possibly beyond.
…so to all those readers about to start their amazing university adventure my advice is make the most of it. You can never have this precious time again. Look for opportunity and when it comes along, grab it with both hands. Work hard, stay curious, stay safe and have fun!

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