Letters from the dorm
Jess Yim, student at Headington School, Oxford
Have you ever stayed overnight at a friend's place or gone to a slumber party?
Last summer I had to attend university open days in London on two consecutive days, so I stayed the night at my friend Christine's boarding house. Now, most boarding houses have strict visitor policies and it is inappropriate to invite friends from outside school to stay overnight; but, as the saying goes, rules are meant to be broken. 'Don't worry! Everybody's either packing or leaving now. No one will notice!' Christine reassured me. And so began my exciting journey.
Excitement comes from doing unconventional things, in this case, breaking the rules. 'The housekeepers probably wouldn't appreciate the magnitude of chaos we have in here,' Christine joked upon my arrival. Surprisingly, in the midst of all the chaos, I was greeted by several other 'unexpected visitors'. One wonders how non-students could stay there for three days and remain unnoticed and unreported. As I was told, the key to surviving as an illegal inhabitant is to disguise yourself as a fellow student or act invisible. I felt as if I were an MI6 agent on a mission and could not afford to be caught.
And so for the rest of the night, I kept it low-key and basically stayed in Christine's room. If my experience resembles a spy movie, the climax would be when the housemistress came around to check everybody's packing progress.
At about 9pm, a few other girls came into Christine's room, producing a pot of cooked noodles with dumplings and all sorts of dipping sauces out of nowhere. Another rule had been broken: eating is not allowed in the rooms. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and everybody hid the food. The next thing I knew, I was being shoved underneath the desk with duvet and pillows thrown at me.