So. I have come to the end (technically) of a fantastic, 3-week summer program with NCS with The Challenge and – obviously – I needed to blog about it. I mean, what else would I do?
First of all though, shout out to Dezza (who will read this when she gets back from HER first week of NCS) who is somehow managing to survive… wherever she is. Stay strong Dezza and always remember that #TheLads love you.
Back on track now.
So, it has been an absolutely amazing experience; to all those who are fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) enough to be living in England, I would definitely advise that you apply for this either now, or when you reach the summer of Year 11. I am telling you, despite the drama, the hardship, the sore butts, the aching legs and the late nights… it is completely worth it. In retrospect, it’s easy to say that actually; I had about 5 breakdowns (that was everyday during the first week, and maybe twice a week during the second… then three times a DAY during this week), I cried, I laughed (a lot), I raved (#GetRekt – also, last weekend, I had TERRIBLE rave feet; more on this in a moment), I screamed, I shouted.
But I will never forget any of these memories or the people I met. (Literally gonna see you all again in September, but still… Trying to be emotional and hard-hitting here…) After all, as a wise character once said:
“Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can’t remember.“
So, there’s the emotional tirade. Obviously, I have to update you on what I’ve done this week and in the past week as well. Here is last week’s report:
So. There we were. A bunch of inexperienced teenagers faced with a near-impossible challenge; survive without your parents.
(By the way, this is sarcasm. I can survive perfectly well without my parents, but you’d be surprised how many people couldn’t! And, God bless, some people couldn’t even make their own bed 🙂 )
But anyway. So, we got to experience University life for a week; living in our own flats and having our own dorm rooms, cooking dinner each evening, making breakfast and lunch in the mornings and – most importantly of all – TIME MANAGEMENT! (Which is a LOT more difficult than it sounds, especially when you need to be out of your flat by 9:00 every morning and you wake up at 7:00 but you’ve only had about 4 hours of sleep because you’ve been organising your life and doing your hair the night before… sounds crazy but seriously, you’d be amazed how long it takes to do hair when you’re really tired and there’s just SO MUCH of it)
The mealtimes were hilarious. We made a schedule when we got there about who was going to cook and we did it in two pairs and one group of three. All the girls in our flat (7 plus our Senior Mentor) were from our Team Reiss anyway, so we all knew each other, which was good. Basically, one evening (here comes the rave bit now) one of the pairs was cooking dinner, and myself and Jess decided that we should put on a bit of music to make us all feel a bit motivated.
What was supposed to be an stimulating session of music turned into a dance party. We danced to everything, especially Beyonce (Single Ladies, Love on Top, Crazy in Love). We actually danced so hard that by the end of it, our feet were hurting and we were sweating. We also recorded ourselves doing the Single Ladies dance (so terrible it was hardly recognisable), but the next morning we woke up, our feet were LITERALLY throbbing.
We also went to a public speaking workshop, where we had to talk about something which we felt strongly about. I wrote my speech down, so HERE IT IS for all those who want to read/hear it (I promise that it sounds better when it’s read! A tad controversial perhaps, but YA KNOW me… 🙂 ) :
You’re walking down the street and notice a Muslim woman in a hijab with her partner. “Oh look,” you think to yourself, “a Jihadi bride and her terrorist husband.” There’s a black boy in a hoodie walking towards you, so you quickly cross the road. “Gotta be safe”, you tell yourself, “he probably has a gun.” After all, you wouldn’t want him to shoot you.
Hang on a second, you’re thinking right now. Where are you getting these images from? This is a bit drastic isn’t it? And where exactly are you going with this?
Well, I’ll tell you where this is going. I’ll tell you where I’m getting these racial stereotypes from. Because every terrorist or violent radical pictures on the news is a Muslim. Because every black boy in a hoodie you see on your TV screen is either a mugshot of a murderer or the picture of his victim from the opposing gang.
And we lap it up. Even if we don’t think about it consciously, it is in the back of our minds all the time. And whether we accept it or not, these ideals are the propaganda being drilled into our minds, fed to us by the media.
We need to cut it out.
Latino does not equal drug dealer. German does not equate to Nazi. Polish and Romanian do not translate to illegal immigrants. The only way we can stop these misconceptions is by moving past them, stopping the jokes and the dirty comments, and the things which take us away from our humanity and basic empathy.
Okay, so there are radical Muslims; but there are radicals who don’t follow Islam as well. Poles and Romanians aren’t the only ones who migrate, and perhaps some Latinos are drug dealers; but being Latino or Hispanic doesn’t mean you ARE one.
The minority does not account for the majority.
So we should stop letting the small-minded views of people who don’t want to move on from the race-fuelled past dictate to us these stereotypes. Because that’s all they are.
Surprisingly, I got quite a good reception for that speech, especially considering the rather controversial opening HAHA (just to clarify, I don’t think that, it was just for emotional impact… it was a technique I learned in Creative Writing). But that was a great day we had.
Also, because our Team’s skill was Drama, we visited an elderly Centre, Age UK in the area we are based in, and had to make a piece of Verbatim Theatre based on what we saw. It was very much interesting, as I got to speak to some wonderful OAP’s (Old Age Pensioners) who told us their stories about wen they were teenagers and the sort of #antics that they got up to.
It was enlightening. Our piece was entitled ‘The Journey’ and followed the story of a young girl named Simran who moved from India as a teenager to come to England for better life prospects. Upon coming to England, and being entirely unable to speak English, she met Uri, a Russian immigrant, who also couldn’t speak a word of English. At classes, they learnt English and eventually got married and had two wonderful children, Mary (named for the woman who taught them English) and Nikolai. We chose to portray this life as many of the people at the Community Centre that we spoke to had told us about their lives on arriving to England, and how difficult it was for them. When we performed it to them, they felt that we had effectively portrayed their stories through our theatre piece, and we were very proud of ourselves.
We also got to take part in two things at the Community Centre; a Tai Chi session and a game of Bingo. The Tai Chi session was comical – I hope I don’t insult anyone who likes and/or does Tai Chi, but really, nothing the woman was saying actually made much sense to me. She was all like, “Dance with the rainbow. Feel the floor beneath your feet, be at one with the energy, dispel the energy from your body, feel the energy pulsating through your body…” (She said pulsating) And we were trying REALLY hard not to laugh. Because we REALLY wanted to. But we managed to take some tips and incorporate some Tai Chi into the end of our Drama piece – and of course, / played the instructor woman. Everyone seemed to find my portrayal quite comical. (I did NOT say pulsating, however)
We also got to play Bingo. Let me just tell you, the movies portray Bingo as some happy game that OAPs play to win some money and have a bit of fun.
That Bingo hall was so quite you could hear a pin drop. Those OAPs took their Bingo SOOOO seriously. One of the women told the number caller off for repeating the numbers because, according to her, “If people wanted to hear the numbers, they should be listening in the first place.” Uhm… honey. Some people in here have hearing problems… Do you want to maybe find a bit of chill?
Anyways. That was last week. I kind of spoke about what we were doing this week so if you want to know then read about it here (it’s more a rant than a summary, but if you kind of pick through the ranty bits then you can find out what we were actually doing). But today we presented the campaign we were working on to a team of Dragon’s (who actually gave us the full maximum amount of £50 that we asked for, which was great!) Also, on that note, if you would like to support our Campaign about Dementia Care Homes and raising awareness of them in trying to get more volunteers, then hit us up on social media:
For anyone who is interested, all the donations on our page will be going to a charity called Attend which runs several care homes, including the one we visited. Even if you don’t want to be an active part of our campaign, or are in a different country, your follows, likes, retweets etc. are supportive of our campaign and help to spread our message. (We also have a hashtag, #MissingPiece – if you want to understand this reference then head over to our Instagram page…)
*Self-promo moment over*
Also, seeing as today was the last day (and we got Pizza! 🙂 ) they did loads of awards and stuff. I got elected for the Youth Board representing my wave (Zak and I are #DreamTeam), I also got voted Most Likely to Be Prime Minister by the staff on our wave, and I also won the TRUE Award for the week. (Only TRUE NCS people will understand… haha, did you get it? TRUE Award… TRUE NCS…)
And Kimmy K bought me a bunch of chocolate. (Not the irritating one on TV, the lovely one from my wave)
Overall, it has been an absolutely brilliant experience for me and I’m sure everyone on my wave and all my new #Squad will say the same thing.
It’s getting kinda late, I started this post at 7:30ish and now it is 10:19. I am thinking I should probably finish this up now. (It didn’t take me that long to write, I just had to wash the dishes and do some ironing and feed my children and check up on my dragon and stuff…)
Love you all, and I wish you a very happy evening tonight,