Week 2 of NCS is about living away from home in a university style accommodation. For me I did week 2 at my local college which is about a 15 minute drive from my house. It was a very interesting week and I learnt some valuable life lessons, skills and career opportunities. Here is a day-to-day review of my NCS experience:
We arrived at our college at about 1:30 and was allocated our rooms straight away. My room was a single with an en suite, it wasn’t huge and modern but it was comfortable. I had draws, a mini fridge, mirror, desk, chair, wardrobe, notice board and storage. For me I didn’t bother to unpack as we were only there for 4 nights, so I lived out a suitcase. I was based upstairs in room 8, one of my friends was below me on the ground floor in room 2. While my other friends were in a different block, I admit that they certainly had a better block than ours. They had bigger rooms with double beds and modern showers. Once we finished looking around our new rooms we assembled in the common room, which was a bit run down and grubby. The common room had sofas, vending machines, a pool table and table tennis with no ball. We then had the most disgusting cottage cheese, spinach and onion sandwich. Gross! The rest of the day we did a few team activities. One of the activities consisted of marshmallows and spaghetti, we had to make the tallest tower possible. Let’s just say our team failed slightly. We also explored the local area and had to take pictures at certain places. One of which was a church where two members of the group pretended to get married. There was also a challenge of ‘how many people can you fit in a telephone box’ (9). On the walk we also played a game of walking alphabet. You know the one like B for building etc. Once we arrived back we had a short while to relax before lights out. Most of my team played online cards against humanity, but I couldn’t get the app so I had to awkwardly sit there instead. The first night of sleep was difficult, mainly because the light in the corridor outside my room was on. The light shined through the window at the top of my door, keeping me awake.
This day was very hard for me, in my team I have one friend who basically ditched me. I felt so left out and lonely that I was considering going home, but I stuck through it. All the activities were dreadful we made a community out of sticks, had talks about youth parliament, dressed somebody up in bin bags and had a talent show. Our community was awful and the parliament talk was dull and unengaging. We dressed one member of our team up in bin bags, he then did an obstacle course, where we surprisingly came first! Then it was dinner which was actually nice, we had pasta and salad. There was also a gorgeous chocolate cake pudding! Then the dreaded talent show, where I was forced on stage! We had one girl singing and playing the guitar, while 4 others danced. One of the girls in our team was an actual dancer while the others could point their toes a little. My team ended up singing and dancing to ‘This is Gospel’ by Panic at the disco. While the rest of us just stood there and looked awkward. Afterwards I went to the park with my friends from another team, where we laughed and messed around on the zip wire! It is always nice to laugh after a bad day. Then we headed to the local shop where I bought some milk chews- trust me they are nice! I then headed back to my room for a shower, however the shower was broken so I ended up borrowing my friends! Before heading to my comfy bed to snuggle up in my duvet. A hard, tiring and boring day to say the least.
I woke up at 6:50, but dropped off back to sleep until my alarm saved me at 7:15. I then got up and headed down to breakfast, which was supposed to be toast but it ended up as warm bread! However to compensate it, I did have an Instagram worthy cappuccino! The first challenge of the day was an activity called “Come dine with me” it was simple make a microwave meal on a student budget of £5. We planned and then sent two representatives to the local shop to purchase ingredients. We then cooked rice in a microwave and made a curry sauce using peppers, tinned tomatoes and curry powder. I contributed by chopping up the peppers and making the rice, while other members of my team made a poster to promote the health benefits. We then presented the meal to our wave leader who judged them, we didn’t win. The actual meal was good and he enjoyed it, but the presentation on the health benefits slacked a bit. Afterwards it was time for lunch, followed by a series of money management workshops. First off we had to look at the costs of first moving out and into a flat, when we leave home. We had to rank the order of importance of several items that need to be paid for when we get our own flat. We then had to match the correct cost to them. Afterwards we moved onto planning our own group holiday on a budget. Each group consisted of 5 people and we had to get a good cheap holiday, along with a research task. We had to find a certain camera online for the cheapest price possible. My group ended up camping in Dublin for 5 days, at about £250 each. The last workshop was about starting our own pop up business. The task was to design a pop up pizza place at a festival, we looked at the actual cost of making a pizza and then the selling price. We worked out how to maximise profit and how to advertise our products correctly. In the evening we went off to EDF (an electricity company) to learn about the employment opportunities there.
For me this was a tiring and long day. It was the day where once again I felt excluded from my group. We had to do mock interviews, which involved fancy dress! We had to write out all our previous employment (none), any voluntary work we have done and any qualifications we had. Basically a draft of a CV, without the references. One of the tasks was to work out what this guy was going to wear to an interview. We were given a blank piece of paper and asked to draw the guys clothes in groups of 3. Unfortunately nobody wanted to go with me and the friend I came with had completely ditched me. However one guy in my team noticed I was being left out and volunteered to go with me, big mistake. Afterwards my so-called “friend” started rumours that I fancied him and was flirting with him etc. I mean let’s be honest here he was the only person willing to talk to me! Once that disaster was over we had to do this activity about writing a personal statement. We had paper tapped to our backs and we went around writing nice things on people’s backs. Everything had to be positive, which it was. Although I was accused of writing the same on everybody’s back, which wasn’t true. On my paper I got lots of things like: friendly, kind, quiet and pretty (probably sarcastic). From these words we had to develop a personal statement about our self. In the afternoon we had to plan our social action project for weeks 3 and 4. My group was useless when it came to planning, mainly because nobody really cared and was just there for the holiday. Loads of ideas were thrown around from helping the homeless, disabled children and helping victims of arson. But nothing was really decided. That day I felt more unaccepted than ever, I put up with a whole day of being blanked and ignored. I felt like nobody really wanted me in the team! So I took the bullet so to speak and walked out, to join the other team. I think it was a good decision, the other team really wanted me. I was friends with the majority of their team and knew them well, not only this a space was available as one of the boys in their team had moved to ours. So I picked up the phone and asked my parents. I was a little bit worried as where they were meeting was a little far away, about an extra 10-15 minutes further. However my parents were okay with it, so I switched into their team. We then did an activity called ‘Dragon’s Den’ where we had to present our idea to the judges. My new team was doing a project to raise awareness for mental health issues, they had the whole pitch planned out and it was fantastic! I went up and stood by them, while my old team looked on in shock! My old team’s pitch was rubbish as they had no clue what they were doing. The results were in and my new team won! It was a fantastic ‘in your face’ moment! I was super happy, my old team not so much. We celebrated by heading down to the local park and going on the basket swing! That evening my old team did not speak to me.
Going home. It was a long and eventful week, I moved groups, learnt some life skills and dealt with the reality of friendship. I woke up super early and packed everything up in my bags, before heading to breakfast with my new team. I had a full cooked English breakfast (minus the bacon + sausage). That morning I saw my old friend who ditched me, she didn’t speak. She woke up too late for breakfast and ended up with a cup of tea. Her new friends didn’t bother to wake her up in time for breakfast or even check if she was alright. I know if that was me, my friends would be there knocking at my door to make sure I was up! She may have ignored me and upset me all week, but at the end of the day I came out on top. I am with my friends who actually care about me, while she is stuck with her new friends who aren’t exactly great friends. We then wheeled our bags into the common room and spent a while waiting around, before handing back our keys. It was then time for a quick meet up with our team. We did a few small activities, which included how to talk to strangers and advertise our fun day. It was then time to go home, jumping on the bus provoked a mixture of feelings. I was glad to get away from some of the people there, knowing I would not need to see them again! I was also relieved to be going home to see my beautiful dogs and family. Yet I was also sad to leave my university style life behind, oh and my ensuite.
So that’s it! I have done the first two weeks of the NCS course. I didn’t go home early, and I only cried in public once! So not bad at all for me! I’m exactly half way through the course and I have finished the two residentials! The next two weeks are about social action and helping the community, they are based from home! If you have any questions about NCS or want any advice then feel free to comment down below and I will get in touch with you!