An OH&S nightmare

roofing repairs MelbourneSo unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of days, then you probably know that Melbourne has been experiencing some pretty crazy weather. Flash floods have been raging on all around us for days, clogging drains and creating puddles too wide to leap over. But that’s not the only thing they’ve been doing. In a city that’s been as dry as Melbourne for this long, when it rains this heavily, there’s bound to be a little bit of havoc wrecked. Apparently, my school was not quite strong enough to stand against the full force of the storm.

While we were sitting there in homeroom this morning, the wing and the rain howling around outside, the roof began to drip. It’s an old building, and it hasn’t been renovated since the seventies, but when Claire McDuff started to get dripped on during a class, there was a moment of confusion. In our hesitation, we watched as the roof began to collapse, running for cover as plaster dusted down from the ceiling in large slabs.

Even though I’m trying to relate this pretty calmly, at the time I was in full panic mode. It was only afterwards that we found out the school had neglected getting roofing repairs done until Melbourne holidays, but it was too late for that. Only a week out, the rain had destroyed their plans and created one heck of a PR / OH&S problem. I definitely don’t envy head office trying to clear up that mess. What’s even worse, though, was that they’d noticed the leaking roof, but repairs in Melbourne have to be done during the week, when the classroom needed to be in use. They knew there was a problem and they’d ignored it! Personally, I think it’s all pretty hilarious, but I did really appreciate getting the rest of the day off school.

The younger generation get all the best stuff

city sight seeingOkay so here’s probably the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard about in my life.

My sister is in year 9. She’s just been away for a whole term doing this super fun live-out-of-home program that our school offers. I did it when I was her age, it’s a blast. A bucketful of fun from start to finish. You find yourself and learn how to be responsible (ish) and make a ton of friends who you keep with you forever. There are literally no downsides to it and, frankly, it’s an experience that every grumpy moody little teenager should have the fortune to experience.

So naturally, when you re-enter the world as most of us know it, a drab, dull, on the whole boring place, there’s a certain restlessness you just can’t shake. Besides, since the camp is only eight weeks long, there are several weeks of school left to go after you arrive back and before the holidays. When I was in year 9, those weeks were pure torture. They would always try to teach you the syllable, but in the end, most teachers just gave up and put a movie on instead.

In my sister’s year, however, the teachers have recognised the futility of their struggle, so she and everyone else in her year at school are just being let loose in Melbourne. Well, they’re on tours, which are then supposed to enhance their understanding of the heritage of the blah blah blah who cares? They certainly don’t. Bella was telling me her class just wandered through Chinatown the other day for no reason whatsoever. How unfair is that? When I was her age, I would have killed to do that. Where I had to be bored out of my mind doodling in the corner of my notebook, Bella’s busy exploring the city, sightseeing and travelling all over Melbourne. It’s just unreal.

Time to leave

TMakeup courseshat’s it. I’m done. Today was absolutely the last straw. I’ve had enough of this stupid school, with it’s stupid teachers, and it’s stupid students and I’m ready to do something else.

I guess you could say I’ve never exactly been a stellar student. It’s not because I’m stupid, it’s got nothing to do with intelligence, really, it’s just that I never liked to study. Hated it, even. I’ll spend days watching youtube tutorials on curling my lashes before you’ll catch me putting pen to paper. I realised pretty early on that I’m just not cut out for school. I mean, in year seven and all that, it’s pretty easy. Just listen in class and you’ll do okay, but getting older, I just started flunking everything and no one could really understand that I just didn’t care.

It was at the end of year ten that I started to talk to my parents about makeup courses. I guess you could say they’re both pretty successful, and when I brought up the idea of maybe not finishing year twelve, they both completely lost their minds. It was actually kind of scary. So I decided to go back to school in the summer, not because I thought it would do anything or change anything, but because it would make them happy. Stupid of me, I know. In the meantime, I spent the hours trawling through websites for different makeup courses in Melbourne, working out what I was going to do when I inevitably flunked out of school altogether.

Not that it’s going to come to that. Today, I’m not really sure what happened, but something deep inside of me just snapped. Like a twig. All of a sudden I’d had enough, so, without a word to anyone, I just grabbed my bag and left. I didn’t just leave the class I was in, I left the school and walked all the way home. And I’m not going back.

Group work is rubbish (literally)

brisbane dumpI hate group work. At school we occasionally get assignments in groups where we have to collaborate on a project. The latest one is about disposing of green waste. I mean honestly why do I care and why is this important. I nominated myself to do all the photos needed for the final poster. At least that way I didn’t have to do any writing or research, just show up and click. So obviously the class nerd got put in my team and got super involved in the whole thing. He even made us all visit the Brisbane dump to see how damaging it was to the environment. A trip to the dump with a bunch of nerds. Yippee. Anyway turns out there is a great sustainable alternative place where you can take all your vegetation and green scraps and it’s even cheaper than the regular dump. I didn’t know rubbish could be so exciting. I am joking. Anyway I had to go this green place and photograph all the old trees and grass being sustainably disposed of. It smelt way better than the regular rubbish tip, Brisbane has a whole lot of garden waste it turns out. I was there for an hour taking pictures of rubbish. Lord kill me now. I sent the photos through to king nerd who is honestly just way too excited about this whole thing. Apparently rubbish is a major global issue and dumps are killing the earth. Turns out we did get an A+ which is the highest grade I have ever been given so I’ll take it but I’ll stick to my C’s if I don’t have to deal with nerdy mcrubbish anymore. When my mum read my report card she got super into this whole sustainable green waste disposal thing and made me take her to recycling centre! Honestly I just want all this rubbish to be over. I do not care.

Potentially poisonous pretzel

So Food packaging some people might think I’m completely crazy for saying this but the other day mum gave me a packet of Mini Monkeys in my lunch box (yes, I still have a lunch box, it’s a very practical way of storing food) and when I noticed the food packaging I realised something was awry. While the food packaging itself was totally and utterly normal, I realised that it was open. Unsealed. That some one or some thing had opened my packet of Mini Monkeys before it got to me.

Who knows what could have been in it? Rat poison? An unstable government engineered chemical designed to make the human race more docile? Gluten!? The packet of monkeys now posed a threat I had not foreseen and was thus in no way able to deal with. Particularly since at school, I don’t have access to any of my usual plethora of lab equipment. Here, there’s little possibility of analysing a sample of anything, short of bribing the lab-hand into giving me access to the science labs.

Of course, having conducted a preliminary sensory investigation I have been unable to detect any abnormalities, but that means very little in the wider context of potential malfunctions. The problem is, this kind of dilemma could be so easily avoided with the use of tamper evident bags. If only regular food was sealed in one of those security giving miracles, I’d never have to worry about the contents of my Mini Monkeys again.

Some would say I’m overreacting, and that I have nothing to fear from an unsealed package. Without context, I understand how they would come to that conclusion. Most fourteen year olds would have nothing to fear from a potentially unknown cocktail of chemicals concealed in a chocolate biscuit. But I am no ordinary fourteen year old. That, however, is a story for another time.

Dropping out to pursue my dreams

BWeb design courses Melbourneeing a minor can be endlessly frustrating. It’s like I’m old enough to understand myself and know what I want, but I’m not really old enough to make any big decisions about my life. All I want to do is have the opportunity to make my own decisions, but maybe this isn’t so much a part of being underage but just a part of life. That there are always going to be things I’m ‘supposed’ to do, and that these don’t necessarily line up with what I want to do. I’m supposed to finish high school, but what’s the point if you know exactly what you want to do career wise and you don’t need to finish school to do it?

All I want to do now is drop out, and sign up for a web design course. Melbourne has a ton of different ones to choose from, I know that at least one of them won’t require my having an essentially useless high school certificate or whatever. It’s not like I’m learning anything at school that would help with this in any way, shape, or form. I know how to design instinctively and everything I’ve learnt about computers has been completely self taught. I know that the only way I could really hone my skills in any real, professional sense, would be by taking web design courses. Which is why I’m just so keen to do so.

It’s not even that my school won’t facilitate my dropping out – it will. The real obstacle is my mum. She has this idea that I’ll regret it at some abstract future point if I leave now, but what she doesn’t understand is just how passionate I am about this. She just assumes I’m as lost as everyone else my age, and I’m not. I have direction and I want to the opportunity to be able to follow it.

Skinnier mother

Liposuction MelbourneFar out this is so embarrassing. Ugh, it’s just one of those moments where you wish you could just sink straight through the floor into oblivion, or, better yet, never have been born in the first place. I just can’t even deal right now. Kill me, somebody please.

I go to an all girls private school. That really shouldn’t make that much difference to anyone about anything, but it does help explain this a little bit, and the truth is, it makes a lot of difference. Like, way too much difference.

This year mum and dad have finally decided to divorce (believe you me, this is better for everyone) and since dad’s overseas at the moment, I’ve been around mum a lot. I’d say she’s derailed a bit, but she’s always been a complete nutjob, so this is all really to be expected. Anyway, since dad’s gone she’s started dating this guy who’s apparently the best dermatologist in Melbourne. He’s kinda cool I guess, I mean he’s around here I lot so I’ve talked to him a couple of times, and he seems alright. He’s not the problem – she can pretty much do what she likes with her boytoys as far as I’m concerned.

The problem is that one of the nurses is a clinic where he works is a friend with one of the mums at school, and that nurse told this woman who told her daughter who told ultimate plastic girl Abigail Carlson that my mother got liposuction. Melbourne is generally a pretty progressive city with that kind of thing, but that progressiveness has never quite managed to spread to the cut throat world of high school politics. The fact that this twiggy Barbie doll was the one to tell me all of this, leaving me red-faced and stammering, is utterly humiliating. I tried to deny it, obviously, but no, Abigail had all the facts.

A Lorne break

Lorne AccommodationUgh. School has just started and I’m already eagerly planning my next holidays. At easter time. Seven weeks away. UggggghhhHHHHGGGHHHH. It’s okay. I’m breathing. I’m going to my happy place.

Actually, it’s not as bad as it could be. I mean, I know everything can always be a lot worse (I could have leprosy, or my dad could be a circus clown) but this is a serious ‘things could be worse’. Because I have a bright light (potentially) before the end of this dark tunnel. My dad is thinking he might hire some function rooms somewhere cool in Victoria for a conference or something he’s going to do. I know that doesn’t sound cool (actually it sounds crazy boring) but my dad is also thinking that, since the conference starts on a weekend, we can go up with him. Just for a bit. He’s actually looking at some pretty nice looking places as well; mountains, beaches, bush, that kind of thing. There’d actually be quite a lot for us to do.

While surviving this hellish week and those to come, I’ve decided to fully embrace daydreaming as a way of distracting myself from algebra or Shakespeare (I can use my powers of imagination wherever they’re needed) and think of where we might go. Dad let slip that he’s looking at accommodation in Lorne and, in Victoria, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be. I mean, sure, going to Hamilton Island or something would be wicked, but dad’s got his limits. But Lorne’s a great idea. I went there with a friend of mine during the summer last year and it was fantastic. Just beach for miles and more than one awesome place to get ice cream. Lorne would be the perfect way to escape this cleverly disguised prison. I just wish it wasn’t all still weeks away.

Succession … planning for my weekend

AWill Melbourneh yes, work experience time has come. Work experience is one of those things that I accidently got super excited about. I was going to do something cool with my work experience, something awesome. I was going to have an incredible week learning bucket loads of things about a profession I would probably never be a part of. Then time began to slip by, quicker than I was realising, and suddenly work experience was only a few weeks away and I’d made absolutely zero plans. So after promising my parents faithfully that I was going to have it all worked out, I went to them with my head hung, asking if they knew anyone who would take me.

So, instead of my super awesome week of adventure, I’m currently spending a whole week with a lawyer, looking at wills and succession planning. Melbourne has much more exciting office jobs on offer, it has to, because if I had to do this every day of my life I don’t know how I’d get through. It’s so dull and depressing, talking and thinking about death all day. Heck, I’m so bored I’m blogging.

It’s not even like the people who come through here are particularly interesting. I mean, who wants to make a will in Melbourne? People who are old, rich, or dying, that’s who. I mean sure, everyone who works here is obviously great at their jobs. It’s one of the best lawyers who deal with this kind of stuff in Melbourne, they’d all have to be the cream of the crop, but I just wish they’d spice it up a little. Put the fun in funeral, if you know what I mean. Or even just make the place a little livelier when there aren’t clients here, so it doesn’t feel like we’re laughing in the face of their imminent death. If this is what it means to be a lawyer, I’m not sure I want any part of it.

Teenage marine fabricator

Marine fabrication MelbourneI was talking with my friend’s dad the other day and I think I may have lucked on to something big. I’ve been trying to get a job for a long time now. Well, sort of. Because I’m kind of dealing with the same struggle that I bet all of you reading this now have had to deal with. Do I focus on school and graduate broke, or earn a bit of cash on the side? I’ve talked it over with my parents and they’re pretty happy for me to get a part time job, so the next problem is where. Talking to an employer and having to specify that I can only work after school and weekends, oh and also I have SACs and exams and all kinds of other stuff to deal with … well, let’s just say they turn the other way. Which is why talking to my friend’s dad was so awesome.

He’s in marine fabrication, which is basically just welding metal to make things for boats and stuff. He kind of half offered for me to become sort of like his apprentice or something. Which would be awesome. He gave me his number and told me to look up a bit of what he does so I can get a feel for it. Looking at his website for a bit, it looked like he makes rod holders and snapper racks in Melbourne, which is a bit different to maybe what I thought he did, but is still really cool.

I’m kind of half thinking I might go into something like that when I finish school and, talking with him, I could see a whole gateway to my future. If nothing else, I’d get some serious skills working in a job like that, skills that are way more useful in the real world than knowing how to direct someone through a fast food drive-thru. I’m not sure that I want to make anything of it all yet, but at least now I have a really cool opportunity.