After I had a few weeks of rest and relaxation following the completion of my O/L exams, I was confronted with a new feeling of fear. This feeling first appeared in me after hearing Warden Billimoria’s words, “Welcome to S. Thomas’ College” at the end of my interview to join the school. I soon realized that this fear was years in the making. Since I was old enough to understand I was told that Prepites would face a challenge in our eventual graduation to our brother school. The challenge being; bullying and ragging. I thought that I had accepted my fate and that I could live with almost a year of chastising and hazing, but the stress and fear within proved otherwise. As time passed and my fears grew it was time for me to enter the gates of this century old institution in Mount as a student of it.
My first day at S. Thomas’ College served as an orientation day in order for my fellow Prepites and I to acquaint ourselves with our new school. The Warden, Fr Marc Billimoria, the heads of the various sections and my very soon to be teachers were present at our orientation and each spoke on the rules of the school as well as the values of being a Thomian, the latter I’m sure is second nature to all Thomians who study here. During the orientation, the Warden also addressed one of my biggest fears; being ragged. He claimed that the school had very strict anti-ragging policy and that no form of bullying would be tolerated. At the time, this proclamation to me was nothing but a beautiful lie and wishful thinking.
As the day went on, it was time for us to take a tour of our new school. I must point out that even though I’ve always held S. Thomas’ College in high regard I’ve never had a deep respect or love for the school that my father seemed to have. This all changed during the school tour. As we walked from the hall to the chapel to the main buildings and so on, I learned so much about the historic school that I was now a part of. S. Thomas’ had so much history that it was practically oozing out of every brick in every building. Each section of the school had its own unique story to tell. I had never experienced something like this before back at S. Thomas’ Prep, and I loved every moment of this new experience. Even the sheer size of the school left me in awe. The incredible rich history of the school and its beauty left me speechless and so awestruck that my fears were completely forgotten. I was filled with nothing but excitement to begin learning at my new school.
My newfound euphoria lasted exactly until it was time to start my first real day of school. This time I was to meet my new classmates who had been in this school for the better part of their lives. I was nervous, but my excitement had not completely disappeared. As I walked in through the gates I was surprised to see prefects lined up checking everyone’s bags. This was bit of a culture shock as this was something that was never done back in Prep. Even the prefects themselves instilled a sense of fear in me that I had never experienced in my old school. Nevertheless, I made my way to the main hall where I sat with my old friends. After the Warden had welcomed us once again to the school we were assigned our new classrooms. As I sat there at my new desk I began to worry, however these worries never came into fruition. Within the first 5 minutes of class a boy from college began to speak to me. His tone wasn’t hostile or malicious like I expected, rather he was warm and welcoming. I was surprised. All my pessimistic expectations had been shattered with this one simple conversation. Even as the day went on I met new people, all who were extremely willing to help me out in whatever way they could. As time went on and as days turned into weeks, I had met and made friends with so many people, some who shared my interests and some who introduced me to brand new experiences. I felt welcomed. I was happy.
It has been three months since I joined S. Thomas’ College. The college grounds, the chapel , each part of the school from the dreary science section to the lively commerce and arts section, is much more familiar to me than when I first came here. While I do still miss S. Thomas’ Prep and the carefree childhood experiences I had back there, I eagerly look forward to the day when I can recall memories of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia not just as my school but also as my home.