In October, Matthew Kiernan will embark on a BA Honours degree in Multi-Media Journalism. In a bid to be financially prepared, the 18-year-old accepted a Customer Advisor role at a local school uniform outlet. A member of Croydon Harriers athletics club and Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club, the budding athlete lives with his family in South London.
Dragging myself out of bed at 7am is the most difficult part of the day in my life. I’m not a morning person and soon find myself attempting to avoid attracting my family’s attention so I’m not forced to grunt at them.
The painful process of slowly coming round to reality is sped up somewhat though, whilst listening to the "Today" programme, on Radio 4, at breakfast time. It is all the more satisfying to hear hard-hitting journalism from John Humphreys to remind just exactly why I’ve woken up this morning. After all, I’d love to be in his position one day.
Still, that’s the long-term goal and any brief moments of solitude found in daydreaming are abruptly ended when I realise my short term objective is in jeopardy…getting to my Summer job on time.
My efforts to arrive punctually aren’t helped on a daily basis with the buses constantly running late. I made the decision not to learn to drive so I could save funds, so it’s my own fault. However with Sir Ken Livingston letting youngsters travel for free, it would be nice to think those who have to pay for it can get value for money. If you’ve ever heard the comedy adaptation of the song "London Underground", you can guess what I would like to tell Sir Ken to do with his Oyster card.
It all seems worthwhile though when I arrive at the shop (albeit after a slow and claustrophobic journey) as my colleagues are so kind and easy to get on with. When the shop opens at 9am, we receive our orders from our managers. It’s a hormonal affair in which a lot of power hunger comes to the fore, with the most effective way to combat the obsessive ordering being copious amounts of automatic nodding.
Once that specific hurdle is cleared, the second more daunting challenge is upon me. Tasks such as making stacking shirts, putting labels on packets and dusting blazers seem more entertaining than watching paint dry is a difficult one indeed. On the bright side though, things take a much-needed upturn when lunchtime arrives; but even then I cannot always be sure. Lunch can only be an hour of sheer bliss (in comparison to the shop floor) if I’ve managed to avoid the dreaded 12pm slot…the hour in which the managers eat. If I’ve been unlucky enough to receive that particular pleasure, then thoughts of sharp blades meeting my wrists quickly become predominant in my imagination.
Thankfully though, having such good friends to work with helps the time pass. Its amazing how close we’ve all become within just 3 months of working together; I feel like I’ve known them for 3 years. That is of course meant in a good way and I’m sure we’ll remain in contact for many years to come.
When the clock finally ticks down to the sacred 5:30pm (closing time), its time to recover from the monotony that is selling school uniform, and instead turn my attention to the other main interest of my life; athletics.
When I tell people I’m a long distance runner I often get an immediate reaction of shock, closely followed by the question of "Why?" My response is a simple one; I find it relaxing (at this point the person I’m speaking to will probably faint). It’s the physical and mental challenge of being able to compete for a sustained period of time that keeps me training. This ironically is the most popular reason why people don’t find distance running attractive.
Imagine my surprise then, when 8 of my fellow customer advisors came with me to the evening’s training session at the track. What began as an initial joke on my part to get one chap running for the first time in years, has turned into everyone else coming down for a run as well. They all enjoyed it (or at least I hope they did) and hopefully I’ll be able to encourage them to maintain their good work whilst at university.
Training ends at around 9pm and its often then a trip to the local pub for a cheeky beverage. Although the other guys indulge in various alcoholic concoctions, I always treat myself to a juicy J20. I’ve never drunk in my life, mainly due to the taste and due to the sick related after effects of being hammered that inevitably comes with it. However, despite the fact I don’t drink or smoke, I always make the effort to go out, otherwise I think you are not living life to the full.
I get in at 11ish, and normally eat something that my parents have kindly cooked for me, before hitting the hay at 12am, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
"Despite the fact I don’t drink or smoke, I always make the effort to go out, otherwise I think you are not living life to the full"
Mark: 63 (2:1)