Well it’s about time you finally arrived! – the welcoming phrase that pops right into my noggin when that time of year makes its debut. Throughout the year, you’ll hear numerous phrases from your friends that just ooze with excitement, such as ‘OMG, it’s like, 10 months away… that means it’s really soon!!’. You don’t want to be the bearer of bad news and tell them that their observation skills are a bit off, you just let the excitement build and build and build. Until BAM, they’re the one laughing at your baffled face which reads ‘Huh? It’s not been that long, surely?’. Before you know it, folks, the time has come around that corner faster than a speeding chav in his newly prized, pimped-up Peugeot 106! Christmas, you say? Steady on – you’ve got a bit of waiting to do before that arrives. Want to know what I’m really referring to? This should help:
That looks to be either a ginormous child, or just the world’s smallest bus – but I’ll have to leave that mystery unsolved for now. If you’re a pro at Pictionary, you should have guessed that I was referring to the world famous ‘School Trip’. If not? *Applauds for effort*. For me, this is one of the most exciting times of the entire year. You stroll across the school yard, suitcase in hand, looking flyyyy in your non-uniform. Greeted by your equally ecstatic peers, you place that suitcase into the holder of your bus, ‘belt yourself up and smile at the thought of all the learning/banter/madness that’ll occur over the next few days. At that moment, you say goodbye to your own civilization and welcome the one that, like my Samsung’s battery life, won’t last very long!
For myself and 14 other Biology students who were just reared to go – that magical place was Cranedale.
After a few tense games of Top Trumps, sing-a-longs to ‘Gangnam Style’ and waves to passing drivers later, we finally arrived at our destination. That innate feeling you get when you first visit a new place is quite unique. Everything about it is different; the sights, the sounds, the smell. Before you get time to settle in, you’re already off doing activities here and there. We took a tour around the place – boy, it was NOT what I thought it would be. When they said ‘Field Studies Centre’, my childlike stereotype imagined myself surrounded by wildlife, sleeping in a hay bed and waking up to the crow of a cockerel at the crack of dawn. Okay… so it wasn’t quite like that, but one out of three ain’t bad. Tennis courts, unlimited hot chocolate supply, table tennis, bar, wi-fi?! My expectations were blown sky high, out of the water. It’s something we can all account for on a school trip. Our immediate perceptions change once we visit the place, quite like when you imagine what the next regeneration of Doctor Who will look like – it just never looks like what you thought it would.
Sadly, I couldn’t bask in this bliss for long – the education had to start at some point. We ‘broke the ice’ by creating traps in the hope to catch some of Cranedale’s woodland friends. Putting our observation skills to the test, it was decided that it would take place at night. I persisted to go without a torch as I’m a regular ‘carrot-muncher’, but sadly my persuasive skills aren’t that great so I admitted defeat. After bumping into each other numerous times and doing impressions of ‘Slender’, we’d created a pitfall trap in the hope that we would catch some insects and a mechanism to catch some innocent field mice. Were we successful in our attempt? Indeed we were! After the ‘shower rush’ and hoovering up our ‘morning banquets’, we were greeted with a few, furry friends sleeping in their new, metallic houses. SUCCESS. Every student’s dream is for their first field trip practical to go according to plan, and we were awake living it (despite myself yawning like a hippo thanks to the early get-up).
Though no one wants a school trip to be, well, like school itself. So after our hard work, we were granted an impressive amount of free time. This is the time on a school trip where a different side comes out in just about every person you usually spend every day with. School trips enable us all to just relax, to wind back from our stressful lives which don’t seem to grant us a break. Quite like the flowers of Cranedale, (I just couldn’t resist this simile) we can just grow and blossom into these completely different people. Our teacher became not just our teacher, but a friend who we could teach the meaning of abbreviated words to, with the likes of ‘GTFO’ and ‘STFU’ at our arsenal. He used these to full effect during the whole trip, I felt like a proud father, regardless of the apparent age difference. My friends became much funnier and I could see that all that stress they usually carried with them just evaporated. Whether it was saying that a Hillary Devey midget lived under our breakfast table and ate up all the crumbs, or impersonations of Batman whilst we went ‘Bat-Hunting’, banter was made thanks to escaping from our everyday lives. Now that’s another great part to a school trip – DA BANTA! You can just make up these silly, meaningless phrases that if used back home, people would consider you to receive some ‘Medical Attention’. Teachers and friends just show that other side to them that they usually shy away, it makes you feel really proud to see them showing their true colours.
I’ve forgotten an aspect of every school trip that just cannot be forgotten. Despite a school trip being a fun, yet educational experience, some of us just can’t help but develop that little crush on a special someone. A realistic crush that if approached correctly, could result in an amazing relationship back home? Pffffffffft. Not that crush. What I’m referring to, readers, is the ‘Teacher Crush’. Although they are merely the person to enhance your education, some of us can’t help but look at them, imagining ourselves marrying them and riding with them into the sunset on the back of a majestic unicorn. For the girls of my school, that poor soul, was Chris. Look at how he sweeps his hair!! Look at the way he talks so lovingly about nature!! His jeans make his… STOP! I won’t utter what follows after that, for all of our safety. But, we all have to accept that the ‘Teacher Crush’ is just part of the natural cycle of a school trip.
Just like the end.
The last day, quite like the finale episode of ‘Friends’, it had to arrive at some point. The final practical was coming to a close. We’d battled the raging winds at Filey Beach for a whole three and a half hours, filling our ‘wellies’ with an uncomfortable quantity of seawater and discovering an impressive amount of species at sea, including crabs (I walked straight into that one). Our brains were filled with a host of new Biology terms to feast on, a plentiful supply of banter to go home with and the girls had enough images of Chris’ windswept hair to last them a life-time! As every one of us does at the end of a school trip, we say goodbye to the civilization we so warmly welcomed and sulk towards that coach with our belongings. Wipe that tear, child, because you’ll be going home with many a memory, many a banter AND many a bar of signal, now that you begin to enter a good enough hot-spot. The school trip might be over? But quite like Cranedale’s readily supply of hot chocolate – there’s plenty more where that came from.