After a long week preparing for Saturday Tests as Concord boarding students, what could be better than spending an afternoon away from books and tests with food and friends? Even for those who have been in Concord for several years, Saturday afternoons have always been a trip worth anticipating.
The rush of adrenaline begins with our test invigilators announcing, “You may leave the Sports Hall now,” after a stressful hour or two. We hurry out while grabbing our friends, discussing whether we ought to go Marks & Spencer or Asda first excitedly. Many of us then rush back to our residences to pack and jump on the town bus as soon as possible.
A pleasant sunshine with gushes of autumn breeze is always appreciated whenever we get off the bus on Wednesdays and Saturdays, especially in such fluctuating weather conditions like the UK. This week my friends and I chatted enthusiastically as we walked on our usual route across the English Bridge, then peeked into the diverse number of shops and bakeries on the way, discussing whether the latest released flavour of cranberry muffin is worth the buy. It is somehow funny but true that such a conversational escape of our academics has already been one of the most wondrous things of our trip. We’ve decided that instead of rushing to different stores for groceries today, we would rather sit down in the Italian restaurant Coté to enjoy a meal, acting as our grand “closing ceremony” after consecutive weeks of editing UCAS applications.
We were lucky to get seats right away and each ordered a main course and some sides. We shared an all-day breakfast, grilled salmon, beef cheeks etc. My friend described the beef cheeks as “super tender and flavourful, the potatoes and carrots on the side were also a perfect complement to the strong character from the beef. A thoroughly impressive dish.” It is pretty evident that to be able to fancy such scrumptious cuisines every week or two is actually an amazing stress reliever to us Concordians. In the end we each even enjoyed a chocolate fondant to sweeten up and conclude our fulfilling meal there.
We still had a bit of time so off we went to buy some groceries in Marks & Spencer and Asda, where I stopped by Roly’s Fudge Pantry to buy my all-time favourite sea salt flavoured fudge there. We caught the town bus back to school at 4:30 p.m. and called it a day with gratification and fulfilment. On a whole, although weekly town trips have become a normalized event happening in college, it still acts as an essential reminder for us to occasionally take breaks from school life, especially to the majority of boarders who often find it difficult to differentiate our working state of being from our relaxation times surrounded by the same environment every day. Going through restless school weeks from time to time, it highlights the importance for us to be thankful for the meticulous details in life’s ordinariness. Perhaps trying out a different restaurant this week, or taking a different route unlike your usual one to discover different parts of Shrewsbury, can already spice up our repetitive habits in life.
“Looking around the different shops, eating delicious food and desserts acted as a constant reminder for me that there is still a world outside school to be discovered and experienced.”
– a 6.2 student after her town trip
What else can highlight the start of such a long-lost ordinary school year apart from the first few weeks of student induction? After being away for a year, Concord’s student induction finally makes a comeback with great blasts of fun for both returning and new students here.
Prepared by our head boy and head girl Barney and Chloe-Nicole way before the academic year had even started, a few online Q&A sessions followed by some ice-breaking games were organized by our school prefects to familiarise returners and newcomers altogether. As many were still in quarantine, we were only able to communicate through the screen for a while, which was a shame until the long-awaited Prefect Games were held in Concord’s Sport hall for a consecutive two nights.
The ice-breaking games are always the highlight of the programme, where new students come together and build friendships that last for the entirety of their time here at Concord. We played physical games like dodgeball, but also things like handcrafts and games requiring teamwork. The two-night induction games sessions truly embodied the Concord values of rigour, kindness and creativity, giving newcomers a taste of the school life they will enjoy in the next few years.
“Friendship groups were being made and it’s good to bring ideas to life through this induction. We get to gain friendship with students not only from our year but across different year groups as well!” – Audrey 6.2
The last night of the induction games ended with the Concord tradition called “the high five game”, which required all of us to sit heel to hell in a pair and people run through the gaps of our legs and high fiving us at the same time. This brought the atmosphere of the whole event to its pinnacle and we have never seen so many smiles and laughter in one single room. As the organisers of the event, we feel super proud.
These game nights are truly amazing and we still remember the game nights from the time when we were form 4 or 6.1. We hope all the newcomers will have a wonderful year ahead, and remember these induction game nights just like we do.
Kenneth and Tiffany – 6.2