Aisha Afzaal worked as a Tutor and Assistant Warden of Allen Hall between 2002-2007. Here she shares some of her fondest memories of her time spent at the Hall….
Perhaps the most vivid memory of Allen Hall was the smell of it. I remember it from the day of my interview as I waited nervously to be interviewed by Dr Flynn, the warden of Allen at the time. This peculiar smell down the corridors reminded me of my school days. I remembered Nina the cook and her big black boots and I used to wonder how much they weighed. The wardens’ office with the huge green safe inside it. The chattering of the cleaners in the corridors in the mornings; sometimes the eerie silence at 3am often disturbed by drunken students rolling in to Allen.
Over the five years of my stay I saw three Wardens come and go. The bar and its renovation. And of course my cosy little flat, how I loved it, I could stay in there for days and not get bored.
My responsibility was to look after Newman block and when you were on duty that meant the entire hall. I arrived in Allen in the year 2002. Nervous at quite a daunting prospect, oblivious to the fact of how traditional the hall was. My job was that of pastoral care, organising nights out with the students, welcoming new students, meetings, keeping the noise levels down at night and making sure the students were safe. I used to lock up the bar at 11pm, cash up the till, draw the curtains in the TV room and just have a general patrol around the building. I used to carry a mobile phone in case security rang me and most importantly I couldn’t leave the premises when I was on call. This included vacation time. I found this the most difficult, but it was part of the job and someone had to do it.
Whilst the job came with incentives, e.g. reduced rent, it was, at times, very challenging. Being woken up at night to end unauthorised parties and helping students back to their rooms when they were completely hammered and had lost their room keys was not exactly fun! Fire alarms, attending pastoral care meetings, the list was endless. This was all when I was a medical student and it was hard work trying to study and to keep a job at the same time. I often found it difficult to mingle with my students because of the barrier of the tutor/student relationship. Nevertheless, I still had a good group of friends who I am still in touch with to this day.
My happiest memories were when I was made Assistant Warden. It came with a wealth of accomplishment and responsibility. I also loved it when I awoke one day and found someone had stuck a balloon to my door saying ‘The best tutor’! I enjoyed doing my job and just being there for my students. I loved the annual ‘breakfast on the crossing’, the Allen hall ball, and the cocktail nights.
My worst memory was to wake up on a cold November morning at around 3am to find that someone was throwing eggs on my poor car and also on my bedroom windows. I managed to tackle the students and watched them wash my car for me. The next day I got an apology and a box of chocolates.
Here are a few photographs of my favourite times at Allen Hall. I hope you like them….
I love this picture (above). I was woken up in the early hours of the morning to find Steve and Adam covering up cars with bog rolls. It was a bit of humour I suppose. I love the way Adam was acting all coy.
The above picture shows how the lads (Greg and his friends) were enjoying a spot of rain! The second picture makes me smile as the lads all lined up to pose in the middle of the rain, soaking wet. They didn’t care, they were happy.
This was a typical evening in the bar. Students chilling and enjoying themselves. I often found it difficult to clear people out of the bar during last orders. Here I used to get to know students better because they were relaxed and merry.
Cardinal Allen! I am sure someone hid him somewhere. We were distraught, but luckily he was safe and sound.
Ahh and the mealtimes! Above is Rajesh and Steve tucking in to their meals. It took me a while to get used to Allen Hall food. Then again there was always the McDonald’s drive-through in Fallowfield!
I remember the above few pictures; it was at a time when Newman block threw a party. Phil was organising the music. Unfortunately we had to stop that because people in the flats nearby were complaining of the noise. It was my fault as I had asked Phil to play Marilyn Manson! We resorted to karaoke which carried on throughout the early hours of the morning. It was fun!
The above few pictures were just a flavour of what went on in Allen and I hope it rekindled some of your memories. Most of you will still be in touch with your friends, and many of you will have met your future partners there.
I just wanted to thank Allen Hall and its staff/students for giving me such a memorable time there.
All my love,
Aisha Afzaal (Tutor & Assistant Warden, 2002-2007)