Tales from college

I have so many anecdotes and stories from college that I often talk about with Mike or Gush, so I’ve decided to make a note of them in this article.

Three A stars
On the very first day of college, I was quite nervous because I didn’t know anyone and it was a big change. The main thing that everybody was talking about was the grades they’d got from their A levels. One guy, Jobe, asked me and I said “I got A, C, E.”
He said, “Three A*s? Nice one.”
I didn’t correct him, I just said, “Yeah.”

Asleep in drawing
I quite liked drawing lessons. I wasn’t very good at it, but the tutor – Kate I think her name was – was a nice woman and she seemed to like my work. The main reason I enjoyed drawing was because I’d found a small space behind the shelves where I could sit and work on my own with nobody around me. I was quite introverted at the time, so I loved having my own little space. I used to put my headphones in and listen to music while I was working.

During one lesson, the theme was recycled objects, so we had to draw something on pieces of found material. I decided to do some architectural drawings on some metal plates that I’d found. I really liked the drawings, as I did them tiny but very detailed. The tutor liked them too. This lesson, I’d done a couple and still had half an hour to go. I was quite tired and nobody could see me, so I decided to have a little nap. Later on, my friend Simon, showed me a photo he’d taken of me asleep. The tutor told me at the end of class that she’d seen me, but added, “you’d done some good work and looked comfortable, so I thought I’d leave you be.”

How great is that! I managed to get away with sleeping for half the class. To be fair, most of the others spent the majority of the lessons just sitting talking to each other, so I did probably do more work than any of them. But still, I like that the tutor let me sleep.

Fencing in drawing
Drawing classes weren’t always so relaxed. In the second year we had a different tutor, a guy called Luke. He spent most of the lesson chatting with a bunch of the students who were always in their own little group, so I sat with some of my friends and had some fun whilst doing some work. I’ve always been very curious and in this class I often looked around the room and cupboards for different materials and things I could play with. One lesson I found a long bamboo stick, just over a metre long. The tutor came over to see how we were getting on and I noticed he was holding a metal 1 metre ruler. So, naturally, I decided to challenge him to a duel. We ended up having a little fencing match, which I won. Again, I love that I could get away with doing something like that with a tutor. If I’d challenged a teacher to a duel in primary school I’d have been kicked out of the school!

Typewriter in textiles
The one class I wasn’t too keen on in college was textiles. I thought it was a bit pointless to be honest. It was a design course and learning to sew wasn’t high on my agenda. However, there was one thing about the lesson I did like that occupied most of my time. At the back of the room, there was a big, old-fashioned typewriter that still had a bit of ink left in it. I love old things and I was fascinated by this typewriter. The clunkiness of the keys and the feel and sound of it was amazing. So I basically spent nearly all my textiles lessons just typing things out on whatever materials I could find – paper towels, newspapers, fabric and the like. At the end of one lesson, I left the tutor, Ellen, a note written using the typewriter that said “Dear Ellen. Thank you for letting Ben play with me during lessons. I am running out of ink, so could you please replace my ribbon. Yours truly, the typewriter.”

The next lesson, the tutor told me she loved the note and she’d put it up on the wall in her office. I was quite pleased with that, knowing I’d made her smile. She was a nice woman and once again she let me have some fun, so I always enjoyed those lessons. When I left college, I actually bought a typewriter off Ebay. I’ve still got it, though it’s kept under my bed so I don’t use it very often.

Mein own work
Gush and I often played jokes on each other, and there’s a couple that were notable. The first was when we had to write an essay and hand it in. Gush asked me to add the title to his essay and print it off as he was busy (he was actually messing about with fellow students) so I thought I’d have a bit of fun. The title I added was Mein Kampf, which as you may know is the title of Hitler’s autobiography. I printed it off and showed it to Gush. He just quickly looked at it an handed it in. I don’t know if the tutor said anything about the title, but it sure made me laugh.

The second example was even better, as it got a laugh. Gush had asked me to help him with an animation he was working on. Since he couldn’t use the software, I ended up doing pretty much all of it. Again, Gush became ‘busy’ and left me to it (he never learns) so I thought I’d add something to the end of it to see if he noticed. Just something subtle, I thought. So I added a little audio clip in and told Gush I’d finished it. Again, he didn’t check it properly and sent it to the tutor. Thing is, the tutor was showing all the animations to the class, projected on the wall. So he puts Gush’s animation on and it starts off okay. Then about 10 seconds before the end, suddenly there was a chorus of “Oooooooooooh.”

That’s right, I’d put whale noises at the end of his animation. The class – and the tutor – all realised that I’d done it and started laughing. The tutor then turned to Gush and said, “That’s why you do your own work Gush.”

No certificate
On the last day of my college course, I went into the tutor’s office to talk to him about something. On the way out, he asked if I’d received my HND certificate. I said I had and left.

A few hours later, I suddenly realised… I hadn’t received the certificate. What I’d remembered was a dream in which I’d received the certificate. I didn’t go back to tell the tutor though, as I didn’t want to have to explain why I’d forgotten. So now I don’t have my HND certificate, which is annoying because I passed with a distinction as well.

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