Memories From Sixth Form

A lot of people will tell you that university was the best few years of their lives and there is definitely some kind of assumption that going to uni will sculpt and develop you, along with leaving you with life long friends afterwards. Unfortunately it wasn't quite like that for me, however I did have an absolute blast at Sixth Form and I thought it would be fun to share some memories with you. I was at Sixth Form for two years and it was the place where I learnt more about myself as a person in that short space of time than I ever did over the rest of my school years. Prepare for what are now considered to be really old photos!

I was an art student which probably doesn't surprise any regular visitors to my blog and I can still remember how amazing it felt to be in a learning environment but also feeling as though I was living the dream to be studying three design based subjects. It was incredible and my class groups were small so people bonded a lot more and interacted with each other. My photography class consisted of no more than about 12 of us and gradually a couple of people dropped away (cause they were bums basically just wanting to skive away from getting a job, sad but true) and we all became quite a close bunch. The funny thing was we were all so different and didn't have much in common other than our love for photography and we were always doing extra hours, staying behind and ordering pizza's to the photography studio and helping each other out with projects, whether that was modelling or manning the lights and backdrops. Everyone helped and we had such a great atmosphere among us. One of the loveliest people I became pally with was a beautiful and flawless girl called Faye. Outside of the studio we couldn't be more opposite but somehow we connected and became good friends.

A photo of me by my friend Emily

A photo of me by my friend Heather

My Graphics class was just as awesome and it was here that I became part of a circle of friends who were all just a huge bunch of misfits. It was like something out of a film; people would sit in their friendship groups and be quite cliquey and then there was us who didn't quite fit anywhere so we befriended each other and the chemistry was fabulous. These were the people I'd stay and eat my lunch with, share tips, help one another, support each other during an artistic breakdown (these occasionally happened for some) and I was producing some of my best work whilst making some brilliant friends, a couple of which I have stayed in contact with.

My art class was my least favourite place but also had the potential to be the best. This is where I met my husband James and although I'd seen him wondering around the school before, I'd never actually spoken to him so when I first entered the art room to meet my fellow classmates, I about threw up upon discovering he was part of the group. The class wasn't a huge one again, but it was still cliquey and this time there weren't really any friends for me. There were people I knew, but I was quite firm with myself and refused to 'use' people just to avoid sitting alone and sitting alone didn't bother me in the slightest. This did of course complete another box on the emo tick sheet as I spent most of my time alone in the corner of the room, but James would without fail flutter over from his table every day and do anything he could to get me to have a conversation with him. We became friends and he soon became a best friend, but nothing ever progressed further until a few years later. More on that story another time!

A portrait of James I did for a colour project

James would draw pictures for me all the time...

Self Portrait

diet coke
I photographed a coke bottle for no apparent reason

I was very much committed to my work at Sixth Form and would stay up well into the night when I got home and start again bright and early the next day, always having enough energy to do so. I didn't go out drinking like a lot of people my age were and back in the day it was normal to go out into town between two-three times a week. Occasionally James would ring me in the dead of night and depending on what time it was and whether he was intoxicated or not, sometimes I'd sneak out and go for a walk with him. All we ever did was sit in the park and talk or wonder around the estate where we lived (turns out his parents lived a few doors down from my Dad's) and sometimes it felt like magic being just the two of us in a deadly silent world. Sometimes at lunchtime we'd come home to my Dad's house and watch weird films in the middle of the day. James introduced me to the likes of Silent Hill, Bill & Ted, The Trap Door and The Mighty Boosh.

My worst memory from Sixth Form was coming into the school one morning knowing my friend had had an accident the day before. I want to say it was the Easter holidays and we were all on our first day back. Remember Faye I mentioned earlier? She'd had a horse riding accident and she never made it. She passed away. The devastating, heartbroken energy that soared through the school that day I will never forget. Faye was infectious, funny, beautiful, wild and iconic, there wasn't a single person who didn't know who she was. Many of her close friends who weren't part of our photography and art classes didn't know we knew each other or had become quite friendly, so I grieved in silence most of the time unless I was in my photography group. I think because there were so few of us, somehow it was easier to grieve together and we understood how to deal each others emotions, as a team. I found it very difficult to come to terms with loosing Faye, she was my friend. And at just 17 years old, it was no age to be taken. We had planned to go to university together and be each others 'person we knew' but I ended up going alone and wishing the entire time she was there because I despised university. I think part of the reason uni tore me up so much was I felt guilty for not enjoying it even slightly when Faye never got a chance to go. It was the first time I had experienced death properly like this and it played games with my head for a very long time. Sixth Form was a little bit different after that and sometimes you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, especially during those first few weeks after everything happened.


I spent a lot of time plugged into my we even have iPod's anymore? My two are probably both considered relics now but fun fact is I still have them! They got me through the dark times and the thing with art is sometimes the most interesting work can come out of it and these were some of my best. I remember having a huge protest with the exam invigilators who were determined to confiscate iPod's during exam time but tell me honestly, how on earth does an iPod help you to cheat a practical art based exam?! 
The overall experience of Sixth Form for me was that much fun and such a huge learning adventure that I guess university disappointed me because it didn't even come close to how awesome it was. I always said I'd have rather carried on a further 4 years at Sixth Form than do 4 years at university but some things you just can't do. 

I was at one of my most confident times during these two years and I think my most care free too. I wasn't focussed on jobs or where my life was going, just absorbed in creativity and people who loved it as much as I did. I made some really good friends and despite only speaking to perhaps two of them occasionally these days, I ended up marrying my best friend and I couldn't be happier.

Thanks for reading,

1 comment

  1. You look like such a badass rebel in the first pic!! :D
    I so wish I went to your school and did sixth form!! I also did sixth form after failing at art because my art teacher decided to take the year off in my GCSE year and wasn't replaced by a single art teacher! Sixth form wasn't much better, I was literally alone my teacher's little office at the back of his class while he taught other classes, reading about and copying other artists. I didn't learn anything!! Everything I know I've taught myself by years of practice and the internet xD I love you, internet!!!


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