Day One – By @currantjones
By Tommy Currant
Various sports psychologists and one book on creativity have told me that I should visualise the things I want to achieve. Simply by imagining doing something we can gain competence in it. I’m still in the process of figuring out how you visualise writing copy for ads (perhaps I need to visualise visualising it) so in the mean time I’ve had a go at my first day of school instead:
I make my way across the grass towards the church feeling hot and self-consciously sweaty. The unpredictable early Autumn weather has undone me, and my outfit, which is the product of hours of deliberation, clings to me uncomfortably. From the corner of my eye I spot another 20 something making her way towards the door. I am not quite ready for all this to start so I quicken my pace, hoping to beat her to the door and have a few final moments of solitude as I climb the stairs. I have of course forgotten the need to be buzzed into the building and my first interaction with a school mate is upon me.
“SCA?”, I ask, hoping that my smile seems inviting.
“Yeah”, she smiles back,”You nervous?”
How does she know? Was it the smile?
“Absolutely terrified.” I admit, “I’m Tommy, by the way.”
I offer my hand for a shake which immediately strikes me as an oddly formal thing to do, made even stranger by the fact that we have just started climbing the stairs. While I’ve been obsessing about this faux pax, my new acquaintance has told me her name and I’ve entirely neglected to listen.
“Nice to meet you,” I hazard and we both settle into silence to climb the last few steps before the rest of our lives.
We are met at the door by someone astonishingly chipper for 9 o’clock in the morning and led in. We are early but by no means the first. A neat circle has formed and discussions of what people did in their interviews, thus far our only things in common, are underway. We are welcomed into the circle and new sea of names washes over me. I catch one or two and hold on to them tight, my new most valuable possessions. Relationships are apparently going to be important and knowing a name seems key.
Over the next 15 minutes, new arrivals trickle in and we hungrily appraise one another. I try and judge who my new creative partner will be, who I’ll flirt with at Friday drinks but more than anything I seek a reflection of myself. In finding this I hope I’ll find an answer to what Marc saw in me to let me in.
Speaking of, the man himself walks in and we gather in the second-hand furniture store that is the pit. We are treated to a speech about how the next year will be really hard and time management will be essential but we are the Chosen Ones and we will overcome. Some try to look demure but can’t help but nod in agreement, others look around the room with an “Us? Really?!” expression.
Next is our This is Me videos which range the spectrum of production value but are without fail disheartening. I knew everyone was going to be talented but this is just ridiculous. As each video is shown, its creator is introduced. Some seem appropriately mortified by the spotlight, others bask in it but all have a glowing flame of pride at being chosen. Mine, not to my surprise but still to my chagrin, has not been shown. “I’m a copywriter”, I reassure myself unconvincingly. This is how the self-doubt begins I realise and attempt to stamp on the negative thoughts lining themselves up for a go in my mind.
It’s somehow already lunch time, and we break into the groups that have organically and imperceptibly begun to form. Some nervous and some genuine laughter scuttles around the room. Mutual friends are discovered, eyes are caught and some people begin to question whether they’ve made a horrible mistake.
We dive back into being taught how to be creative and the year ahead, which to this point has seemed like a vague and unknowable blob, begins to resolve itself for me. I have a sense of what the days and weeks ahead might be like. I have a hint of some of the mistakes I’m going to make and the stress I’m going to turn silent under. This is comforting.
The day draws to a close and I feel stretched thin by the constant surge of adrenaline. Someone suggests the pub and I don’t want to go. I really just want a hug from my mum and a cup of tea, but that doesn’t seem very relationship building. A group, slightly too large to be practical, go in search of refreshment and I have made the mistake of mentioning that I’m from Brixton so the success of the endeavour is suddenly on my shoulders.
Several pints later, the details of the day having been rehashed in painful detail, we separate. “See you tomorrows” ring out. Mum wants to know everything but I don’t have the energy to go through it all again. “Everyone seems nice”, I lie and collapse into bed. One day down.