”Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“Right?? We went to the Bahamas and I just could NOT stand my mum. She wouldn’t even let me use my phone.”
“Tell me about it girl, I dropped mine in the water on the cruise…”
"3... 2... 1..."
"Here we go!"
And right as the icy water bit into your skin, you thought to yourself-
"How the bloody hell did I get here?"
8th September, 2022. Following the start of term at Harbour Academy, the corridors were once again filled with the lively chatter of students, returned to school from their homes or having stayed at the academy over the holidays.
"Hey, you did the homework for Miss Sparrow's class, right? Can I see it, I'll change it up so she can't tell I copied..."
"Fuck, man, have you finished your uni application? I'm so screwed for this admissions test, there's only a few weeks left to study."
Amongst the new first year students, many spoke with each other with the familiarity of having known each other for years - and in fact, many of them had. It came as no surprise that a fair portion of HAGAY's students had filtered in from several other boarding schools of the same kind. Even many of the new students who had only just met were fast forming cliques of their own. This was due to the innovative thinking of Harbour Academy, housing some of the brightest minds of the country - the Icebreaker system.
It went without saying that the no-nonsense attitude towards academics made it often very difficult to make friends with the very people you had to compete with every fortnight. As such, the institution had not decided to change its educational practices, but instead to give each new student several HAGAY-assigned friends, usually from different tracks, along with a senior. Often, these were the people you'd end up spending the most time with at HAGAY. Or, well, you'd have a catastrophic falling out a few weeks later and never speak again. This, of course, was not meant to happen on your first meeting.
Your assigned senior advisor was a light brown-haired girl who sported a mishmash of colourful accessories in her hair and at least 6 wristbands. She spoke like a church youth leader–starting with a jab flurry of terrible jokes, following up with some half-hearted attempts to “be real,” and dealing the final blow with 4 (four!) outdated pop culture references.
"Hey everyone! I'm Sofia and I'll be the captain of your 'Icebreaker', haha. Um, there's supposed to be eight of you? Wow, a few of you are... not here! Doesn't matter, let's just get on with the activities." She snuck a glance at the scrap of paper in her hand. “So, let me introduce myself properly. I’m a top 15 sciences track student - so if you need help, you know who to call - though I’m no good with ghosts, aha. Sorry. Anyway, moving on…”
The group was finished before the school year even began.
About five minutes in, she made a blustering excuse about having something to do and the meeting was thus dissolved. That was the last time you had heard from your Icebreaker group.