Aarthee completed her A-Levels in July 2020 with plans to commence a degree in PPE at Somerville College, Oxford University. When her plans were deferred for a year due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, she came back to school and joined the staff team at Tiffin Girls’ in the Operations Department as a cover supervisor and admin assistant.
Here she talks about her work and relationship with the school, reflects upon her schooldays at Tiffin Girls’ and shares her aspirations for the future.
What was your experience of becoming a member of staff so soon after being a student and seeing the school ‘from the other side’?
The transition from student to staff member was initially daunting, but I was needlessly nervous. From day one, I was warmly welcomed back to the school. I was treated like one of the team and still very much part of the TTGS community. Even walking into the classroom to lead a lesson I encountered respect and friendliness that is part of the school culture.
I have 100% enjoyed working at the school and have seen it in a very different light. As a student, I simply hadn’t considered how things happened behind the scenes. I didn’t even know there was an Operations Department! It’s been enlightening and the responsibility of the role especially around the testing programme has had a big impact on my personal growth.
Because of my positive experience here as a student, it’s been a real privilege to extend my time here in a different capacity.
What has your role encompassed?
My role within the Operations Department has had specific focus on the Covid-19 response so it has been busy! I have been involved in the delivery of signage and PPE and have set up an eco-friendly, cost-effective system for the vast quantities of cleaning products needed around the school on a daily basis. The biggest challenge has been the testing programme.
Testing every student three times on site upon their return to school was a mammoth effort and so I am eternally grateful to all the fellow alumnae from my year who volunteered to come in and help out during that process. I have really enjoyed playing a part in getting the school up and running. As a former student who feels so positively about the school, I appreciated how important it was to open up and get the school community back together in person.
I found it strange being in school when there was nobody here. An empty school is a sad place.
Of your school experience. What are your favourite memories?
So many. As a musician, the amazing musical and drama opportunities, from auditioning for the orchestra for the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Year 7 and joining the wind band, which I then went on to run later in my school life. I’ve enjoyed conducting, being part of the
choir and latterly have played in the jazz orchestra at Tiffin School. I’ve had access to school instruments such as the baritone sax enabling me to further my musical career.
We also had the best trips – my favourite was the Year 9 ski trip to the US and a music trip to Oxford was that which fuelled my desire to study there. I have also served on the Head Girl team.
However, overall, my favourite memories are simply any moment I spent with my group of friends. Even studying late after school, our independence in 6th form, simply being in lessons and learning together.
What has Tiffin Girls' given you?
I feel like before I came to The Tiffin Girls’ School, I wasn’t really a person. My character has developed here and I’ve found shared values with an amazing group of people. It meant everything for me to come here.
What is next for you Aarthee? What does your future look like?
I start uni in September at Oxford at Somerville College. Named after Mary Somerville, the first person ever to be called a ‘scientist’, the college was founded to include the excluded, created for women when universities refused them entry. Indeed the existing college library was created in the day when women were not allowed to use the main university libraries. Today, Somerville is proud that it's male and female represent the world and that many Somervillians go on to change that world, too.
After university, I hope to be a journalist. I currently also work for Empoword Journalism as an opinion editor and am in the process of setting up a podcast ‘Empoword Opinions’. Empoword is an award-winning publication led by women that aims to unite and empower
journalists across the globe.
What is being a member of The Tiffin Girls' School Alumnae so important to you?
Simply.... I will always feel like a Tiffin Girl.