I devoted several hours over the last three weeks to sobbing about the fact that my camera would not work and then over the additional trauma that every spitting camera shop has shut both in Oxford and Reading so there’s seemingly nowhere where I can sort it out (I’ve been resorting to my phone’s sorry excuse for a camera and then turned to disposables) !
Camera drama aside, the last three weeks were spent doing the Telethon. The Telethon is a name given to telephone fundraising campaigns in which a group of students from college call alumni to talk about their life at Exeter, and to ask whether they might be able to make a donation to College. Oxford isn’t made of money, surprising though it may be to hear, and so the campaign is really important to make sure EVERYONE can come here, not just silver-spoon heirs and public-school plutocrats (don’t get me wrong, I know many privileged and privately-educated people, many of whom are very close friends, but nobody can deny that the proportions of private to state school students at Oxford is still way off and a considerable part of that is because they lack financial support, anyway, it’s complicated and I’ll stop now).
The job can be really hard at times, when you can’t get through to anybody, when people are rude, or even slam down the phone. Sometimes you get so tired of being cut off or shot down that you just about manage to push through.
Still, it’s not all completely terrible (don’t they look happy after all?). A great call can make your day, and I’ve had some really fun conversations with people about everything from Luxembourg parks to the new Pope getting the bus to work to what it’s like to live in Thailand as an expat. Some people are apathetic, or too busy, or unkind; the truth is that most are warm, and sincere, and very interesting.
And it’s not like we didn’t have fun in our down time…
After all, by far the best thing is the sense of camaraderie you get as a team of 12 people struggling through the same ups and downs, weird working hours, and motivating each other not to lose energy. I did the Telethon last year too, and met some of my best friends in doing so, so it’s no surprise that the same would happen again this year! Literally working, playing and eating with each other 24/7 for three weeks will make you grow close. We stayed up until the small hours chatting and making each other laugh, we played Twister a lot, we stood on the college roof, we teleput “tele” in telefront of every teleword, there was teledancing and telepiggy-back-rides and communal telebrunch, and in summary it was pretty nice all round. 🙂
Also I saw the Queen of England yesterday.