The 30 things every Dubliner misses about their school days…
Maybe it has something to do with Lent, and that big-old countdown to Easter Break, but lately, we’ve been wondering if the grown-ups in the audience were on to something when they told us that the years we’d spend in uniforms and classrooms really would prove to be the best of our lives (pesky grown-ups, always right).
Do you ever find yourself longing for the days when the only thing you had to worry about was a history test on Friday? Of course you do. Sure, it was boring, the studying almost drove us to insanity and the grey jumpers did nothing for our complexion, but hey, school wasn’t all bad…was it? Let’s pause for reflection, shall we? What do we miss about school? Oh, loads, would you believe…
1. Half days. Could be a staff meeting, could be the beginning of the Christmas holliers. Whatever the reason, there was no better feeling than rocking up to those gates on a Friday morning (they were always on Fridays), safe in the knowledge that you’d be out the gap by lunchtime.
2. Winding up substitute teachers. “You’re wondering what page we left off at, sir? Oh, we’ve already covered everything, sir. With our other ‘sir’, sir. Everything, sir.”
3. Calling adults ‘sir’ and ‘mizz’. Listen, we already have enough to memorise for various tests and pop quizzes. Don’t go adding big-people names to the list, okay?
4. Playing football at break with tennis balls. Truly, this is a skill we wish we could still master. Also, labelling the tennis ball with your initials during maths class. To pass the time, like. A big ‘CW’ in red marker - now, nobody will forget it’s mine.
5. The monthly football challenge. One class versus another at lunchtime. Oh boy, this used to be a very big deal. Could lead to all sorts of trouble, too.
6. Loitering at the gates. Before and after school, stretching out 10-20 minutes in a way we’ve also forgotten how to do.
7. Spending hours decorating homework journals. Yep, we put a lot of thought into those band / rap artist names and football club emblems. Could be the perfect place to profess your love for that deadly fella / bird of yours, too. Remember those giant, bulky ‘S’ logos you’d see on everyone’s journals? There’s a prize for anyone who can remind us what that malarkey was all about.
8. Starting chants in the yard. A punishable offence, for sure. “A, G – A, G, R – A, G, R, O – AGRO!” Yep, the daily fight chant. There was always one fool in the crowd who thought they were spelling ‘HERO’.
9. Starting chants on the tour bus (most likely on your way to a farm or the Coca-Cola factory). Compulsory, this. “Everywhere we go (repeat); people always ask us (repeat); who we are (repeat), where do we come from (repeat). And we always tell them (repeat); we’re from (insert school name here).” Good luck getting that ‘tune’ out of your head today.
10. ‘Relavio’. At least, that’s how we think it’s spelt. Remember, the complex chase-and-capture game at little break? Jesus, this was brilliant.
11. Little break. Scones, buns, biscuits and a carton of milk in ten minutes. Horse it into you. Oh, and a quick chat with your mates about absolutely nothing. And relavio.
12. The Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS. Thousands of teenagers under the one roof on a Friday afternoon in January. I’ll tell you one thing – a lot of us weren’t there for the science and technology…
13. Talent shows and musicals. So much effort, and for one night only (usually in December). Yep, we took this stuff very, very seriously…
14. Having to cover your new jewellery with a plaster (bad-ass). Did it never cross the principal’s mind that a big-old sticky plaster might further highlight the fact that you’d only gone and had your ear pierced? No? Silly teacher people.
15. Cake sales. Enough said.
16. Mala. You know exactly what we’re talking about. Jesus, you could make anything in the world with a bit of mala and a (miniature) black board.
17. Never having to schedule plans with your mates. Because, you know, you saw them every day. For six hours straight. And now, all these years later, we can’t even get the group to clear their diaries for one bloody night. Yeah, having friends is stressful these days.
18. Being sent on “a message”. My goodness, do you remember how exciting this used to be? We used to always go the long way.
19. A cheeky smoke. Usually beside the bicycle shed, or in the toilets. Yiz all did it at some point.
20. Going on the hop. Yiz all did it at some point.
21. The lunchroom. Ah, you’d have some laugh in here at our old school. Better craic than the pub, folks. Better than anywhere else in the world, in fact.
22. Big break (nowt to do with snooker, this one). Big break would last forever. We went to school near town, which meant we could always squeeze in a trip to Grafton Street if the mood took us. That’s a day out in 45 minutes. Amazing.
23. Having to wear the same thing every day. That sort of thing would save us a lot of time and stress in the real world.
24. Being told what to do. All the time. We wish someone would do that right about now.
25. Civic Social Political Education (C.S.P.E.). No worries here. Guaranteed A on the report card / junior cert, lads.
26. Videos in SPHE. We can’t even remember what SPHE stood for, but man, we watched some great films in that class. Like, Hollywood films, we mean.
27. Hi-Jinks. Pulling someone’s chair out from under them as they lean back and slip off into a day dream. Bleedin’ hilarious. We used to have great fun making paper-shooters out of broken pens, too…
28. P.E. Hands down, the best two hours of the week.
29. Three-month holidays. Just imagine what you could do with these now.
30. Hangman. In the last class before ‘holidays’. Bliss.
And the things we certainly don’t miss…
Living in constant fear of being ‘jocked’ at any moment (the boys had this worse than the girls, I’d bet...).
Chalk. It used to get everywhere.
Saying the wrong thing on September 1 (that’s it now, you’ll be made fun of all year).
Non-uniform days. Stress, like.
Leaning back in a chair and not keeping sketch. Hate that.
When someone kicked our tennis ball over the roof and off into the outside world...