Sorry, this is going to be REALLY long. Also might trigger - it mentions a suicide attempt I made last year, and suicidal thoughts. So long that I've had to split it into 2 posts, so please don't reply until I've posted both! OK, so last summer I dropped out of uni. I'd attempted to retake my first year after messing up completely the first time round. Didn't do well on the second go at first year, either. The stupid thing was, I loved uni. I'd found what should have been my perfect life, and something I really wish I could go back to now. I'd found the perfect uni, the course I wanted to do, the friends I always imagined/dreamed of, the city I wanted to live in... everything. First year: I arrived, and in the first week of lectures, was trying to help a friend back home with their mental illness. (I take too much on emotionally, and often feel responsible for things which, when you look at them rationally, are beyond my control.) During the first semester, I was led to believe he was dead, which really messed me up. I withdrew into an eating disorder, didn't focus on uni etc. Retake of first year: I lied to my parents, told them I'd passed first year, because I didn't want them to be disappointed in me. So my family thought I was in second year, and lying to them really stressed me out. Over that year (last academic year), the eating disorder got worse, I isolated myself, stopped going to uni. I eventually dropped out, as I didn't see any other way of staying in uni. That broke my heart, because I felt like I'd finally found the life I wanted, but had messed it all up and lost it. Over the summer time, I stayed at a friend's while she was away, and isolated myself even more. I OD'd, but took myself to hospital before any major physical damage was done. Stayed in a few nights, and the doctor said he was happy to let me go if Psych said it was OK. Psych liaison person came along, took me for a chat. He asked if I was still feeling suicidal, or if I felt like attempting it again... something along those lines. I told him that if there were a way to stop living that didn't involve painful/icky consequences, I'd take it, but that the previous couple of nights had put me off for now, so I wasn't going to attempt again. Cue me being discharged. When I got back to the flat, I didn't want to be alone, so I had a friend over. She was brilliant, and really helped me at that time. I'd left some of them on the bed, and was too scared to go back into the bedroom, so she went in there and took them away. (I don't know what she did with them... don't suppose it really matters tbh.) A day or two later, I contacted my parents (I'd cut off contact when I isolated myself). Having no money, no job, and dropped out of uni, I had no choice but to move back home, to the other end of the country. I am grateful to my parents... but I miss my uni city. Since the OD, and for a while before it tbh, I felt kind of... meh. Like, sorry, life just isn't my cup of tea. And I felt so guilty for feeling that way, especially when my friend went to so much effort after my attempt. My mum works at my old school, so she got me a job there over the summer, sorting out classrooms and notice boards and stuff. It did have a positive effect, I admit. I felt a bit better for having achieved SOMETHING each day, even if it was just having decorated a notice board. The head teacher came into her office while I was putting a new border on her notice board, and asked if I'd stay on in the pastoral office when term started, because she thought i had a good work ethic. So I did. I started off well. After a while, I grew a bit more confident, and felt more comfortable, like I was getting the hang of everything. Now? Urgh. Don't get me wrong, I know there are good and bad parts in every job. And I am extremely grateful to actually have a job, because I know a fair few people who are having trouble finding one atm. But I feel like it's half the time I'm putting up with **** from people, and the other half I'm messing up things that I really should know. I always have good intentions at work, but somehow they don't always seem to come through. A lot of the time, I feel incompetent at my job, or like I lack authority among students. Just last week, I sent a (confidential) letter to the wrong person. (I addressed it to the right person, but wrote the wrong address on the envelope.) I was mortified when my boss told me they'd had a phone call about it from the person who lived at the address it was sent to, as I usually check and double check everything before sending something - though obviously not on this occasion. The week before, I was tasked with putting letters for an entire year group (over 100 people) in envelopes, and sticking name/address labels on. I actually quite enjoyed that. :biggrin: I like those kind of jobs where you can just really get into it, get into a rhythm and keep going with it. So, when I'd finished, for some reason I assumed that because the labels had home addresses on, they were meant to be franked and posted, so I took them round to Reception for that to be done. It was only later on that morning, when my boss asked me if I'd finished the envelopes... I replied yes, and I'd taken them round to Reception. :unsure: My boss looked kind of "eek" and asked if they'd all actually been franked, because they were supposed to be given out to the students. When I went round to check, they'd already been franked. Whoops. Actually, more then whoops, because that's expensive, and the school is already short on money. Someone else re-did the job later on, but I felt so annoyed with myself for it. I hate letting people down - if I do something wrong, it's never because I actually mean to. Generally, I've done something to try and be helpful, or did something that made sense to me at the time. One thing that really bugs me, and makes me feel like I lack any authority, is students ignoring me. I'm not a robotic jobsworth, but working in the school, I do know that those rules are there for a reason. One major thing I pull students up on, is crossing the road outside school. (I finish a bit later than the students.) There is a crossing next to the bottom gate at our school, which students are supposed to use. Immediately after school, teachers go on duty to check that people are using it, and that there's not chaos at the bus stop with hundreds of students there at a time. Once I clock off for the day, crossing the road at the crossing is the ONLY rule I enforce. (There have been students hit by traffic before. When I was about 13, we were sent to walk down the road for another bus, because a girl had been hit by a car and they were closing off the road.) It's mainly sixth formers, who come out of the top gate - and they're the ones who give the most attitude. (I'm only 21, too.) The whole reason they're meant to walk down to the crossing is a) so they cross safely, and also b) because as sixth formers, they have a responsibility to set an example to the rest of the school. :sigh: I don't think they're incompetent, nor do I think that they don't know how to cross the road themselves. However, when you have to set an example for younger students, it's not just about you. I do tell the sixth formers that they're supposed to cross at the crossing, and could they please do it in future. Some of them are perfectly amicable, and say OK/sorry, they didn't know. Others, give me attitude or simply ignore me. Last term, two girls walked straight past me while I was talking to them, then jumped in shock when I shouted at them. "OK, no need to shout!" Well, if you'd actually stopped and acted like you'd heard me, I wouldn't have shouted. This week I had another sixth former, just in school time. Monday afternoon, I'd gone upstairs to return some books to a teacher's office, when on the way down, I encountered a sixth former walking upstairs. (For one thing, I don't know what she was doing out of lessons at the time - it was mid lesson.) She was wearing huge headphones, and casually holding her MP3 in her hand. Now, the rule in our school is, sixth formers can have their phone etc out in the sixth form building ONLY. They're not allowed stuff like that out in the main school, partly because it's lesson time, and majorly because they're supposed to be setting an example to younger students. The rule is generally that if a phone/mp3 etc is seen, heard or found in school, then it's confiscated for one month. Sixth formers sign a contract at the beginning of the year, agreeing to abide by school rules. Anyway, she was casually strolling upstairs with her mp3 on, when she saw me. I asked her to take off the earphones (politely). She sighed, got stroppy, then took them off her ears but left them around her neck. I repeated my request and asked her to put it away, as the school rules would have. She got even stroppier, started to do so, and walked off upstairs. AAAARGH! What's with the attitude etc, when I'm only telling her to obey school rules?! Grrr. Just because I ask nicely, and am polite, does NOT mean that you have a choice! I might phrase it like a request, but *I* am staff, *YOU* are a student, therefore, you should do as I say, please! Aaargh. Sorry, Monday was a really bad day for me. Finding out about the letter going to the wrong person (my fault), plus the girl on the stairs, plus attitude on the bus stop all the previous week, all just got to me. I actually cried myself to sleep on Monday night. :unsure: Of course, I did it quietly, and muffled under the covers so as not to disturb anyone. I hate feeling like I'm just a burden to everyone else. Everyone else can cope OK with life, why can't I? Yesterday was a bad day too. Not that anything particularly bad HAPPENED, just that I felt all over the place. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I had a lousy headache, felt hot and cold, and felt like I couldn't do anything right. I felt incompetent. (Still do, frankly.) It got worse in the afternoon, when me and a colleague, *Becky, went to another school like we do every week, to do notice boards. There was a snotty email from a teacher whose notice board we did last week, who was actually in the classroom for half the time we were doing it. We were putting kids' work up on the board, arranged by year group. OK, fine. We did it like she said, using a similar layout to the board next to it. So yesterday, she sent an email to the person we report to at that school, basically saying: "Dear =========, I have to say, that especially after waiting so long, I'm disappointed in how the display ladies did my notice board; I had planned for it to be done by now, but the girls didn't turn up last week. It's noticeably wonky, and far worse than any other notice board in the school, even the other boards they've done for me before. I might as well have done it myself! Actually, I'll now have to re-do it after school. Oh, and I'll be OK, I just thought that you might want to know about this." :sigh: We DID go to see her last week, but SHE was the one who didn't turn up! So, we did the notice boards in the classroom next to it - it's not like we're hard to find. (Seriously, you can hear the staple guns from the corridor.) Besides which, we have a whole list of jobs to do, which we do as and when we can. If we can't find one teacher/notice board at the time, we just move on to the next one and come back later. The board itself? When we did it, she was in the room half the time, and she never said anything about it then! Argh. Fortunately the head teacher of that school saw the board, and was on our side. Maybe it's just because I'm ill today so basically stuck in bed, or because I'm already on a rant. But Becky annoys me too. Don't get me wrong, she's nice. And it is good to have someone to talk to, who's in a similar position to me (we both work as assistants in the Pastoral Office). We were in the same year at school together and get on OK. She works hard, gets things done, and is good to have around. But she doesn't seem to get the school's point of view on some things. In our school, if a student's phone/mp3/whatever is seen, heard or found in school, we confiscate it for a month, unless there is a really compelling reason/special circumstance. Becky thinks this is unfair, because in her opinion, if parents are paying x amount per month for a contract or something, then it's a waste of the parent's money, inconvenience, etc etc. The thing is, the whole point is that it's a punishment, and a deterrent for students having their phones out in school. Yes it's harsh. There have been students who have begged to have a week of detentions rather than have their phone confiscated. But they have to learn at some point; there are rules in life you have to stick to whether you like it or not, and breaking those rules has consequences. Besides, it's so simple to avoid - if you don't use your phone during school time, you have nothing to worry about. Becky also often tends to think of her looks first, as well as how something looks. She often wears short skirts (although she does at least wear tights with them), or even a long floaty top with leggings, which we're not supposed to. (Our school is quite smart, and there is an actual dress code for staff.) I gave up commenting on her skirt length after a few weeks. I know she wants to go into primary teaching, which is more relaxed in terms of presentation etc, but this is a smart secondary school. Dressing properly gives you more authority, imo. I just don't think students listen to you as much when you're telling them their skirt is too short, if your skirt is a similar length. Another part of our job is to give out nail varnish remover, for girls who wear nail varnish to school. For this reason, I don't wear nail varnish to work - there's just no point if I'm going to get nail varnish remover all over it and ruin it. Also, ditto the authority point above. Anyway, Becky has false nails, which I admit are nice, and a personal choice. However, part of the who idea of us getting out the nail varnish remover, putting it on the pad, and handing it to the student, is that we are the ones in control. They have broken a school rule, and part of the point in us doing what we do, is that they don't get a choice in the matter, and are supposed to feel childish, having that done. Sound petty? Maybe, but it's all part of the deterrent. However, Becky tends to void all this by just handing over the pad and the bottle of remover for them to do themselves, so as not to mess up her own nails. She can also be too truthful at times. Once, when a young girl was taking part in a religious service and the robe she had to wear was slightly too big, our boss fixed it up with a scarf underneath, so the girl wouldn't trip on it. Our boss assured the girl it looked fine, then said, "It looks fine, doesn't it Miss *Becky's surname*?" Becky replied, "Well, it does make you look a bit bigger". No! You're supposed to be tactful! Aargh. When we're doing notice boards at the other school, Becky is very particular. OK, I admit I'm a bit of a utilitarian, and am happy so long as the job's done. However, Becky focuses too much on the aesthetic. If we put notices up in classrooms, Becky will make a big fuss about "staggering" them, and making boards look "pretty" or "exciting". She thinks it's a major deal if one notice has 3 pins in, and the other has 4. :sigh: Don't get me wrong, I don't do a terrible job or anything. But Becky has said to teachers that we got stuff from for boards, that I will do it badly. I do NOT do it badly! I just don't have to have every single ****ing staple JUST SO, or try to make everything "pretty". I think that sometimes teachers/schools place way too much emphasis on making things "fun", and that Becky does too. Sometimes, it actually doesn't MATTER if something's pretty or not, so long as the essential information is displayed so you can see it. Is it really so wrong for me to think that? Becky doesn't seem to understand how I can't remember peoples' faces at school. :unsure: Put it this way - there are about 1000 students in school. I admit, I'm not good on facial recognition, and I do often forget names. However, Becky acts like I'm not learning something really obvious, that I should know. I'm sorry, OK? But we deal with hundreds of students each day. Unless they're really memorable for some reason; or we see them every day; or they're really naughty/have major problems, the fact is that I most likely won't know their names. I know all too well that Becky thinks I'm rather square. Maybe that's true, but I'm only boring on the important stuff. I'm sorry, but I think that in a working environment, unless specified, you dress UP rather than down - and no, it may not be the way you want to dress. I do get sick of wearing black trousers sometimes, but when I'm at work, that's what makes me feel most professional. Work is when I wear work clothes - if I want to wear something as a fashion choice, I wear it on my own time.