15 January 2012

One down, eight to go!

The first week is over! It has been more stressful and tiring than I ever imagined it would be. We are still intact, more or less.

Today (Saturday) was initially slower than the weekdays. This was very welcome after the brutal time we had BETT 2012. Keith took us through some harmless spelling exercises while Roberta conducted the first weekly one-to-one reviews. Despite struggling with every single piece of work so far, we are apparently “on track”.

Then came the weekend assignment bombshell: we are to find a story somewhere in London and write it up by tomorrow evening. How na├»ve we were, to think that we would have the rest of the afternoon (and Sunday) to work on the week’s backlog!

Off we went, in search of news. I went to investigate Tent City, the protestor settlement outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. My first solo step into the big scary world of news journalism was bizarre. I met a garlic-chewing Australian, and a possibly-stoned librarian who gave me coffee and a bun. There was also a drunk who spit in my mouth.

After an hour of ‘interviews’ my notebook contained conspiracy theories, rants about ‘horizontal societies’ and, by blind luck, a genuine story. A few of us returned to PMA at 8pm; some exhausted, others demoralised and in need of doughnut therapy. Helen and I stayed until 10pm, when our minds simply refused to function any longer.

It is 11pm, and I’ve just arrived home. As the microwave takes care of dinner I try to imagine what fresh hell they’ll unleash in the coming weeks. Whatever it is, I’m strangely optimistic about it.

We may have failed every single piece of work so far, but we’re also learning at an alarming rate. We also have a group of lovely people who will be like a second family by the end of the process. Somewhere between the tears and the swearing, the coffee and the cigarettes, there will be laughs.

One down, eight to go! Bring it on.

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