Prefects

To C.G. and the others whose examples we ought to have followed

School prepares you for the world. In what sense? The human relationships you make and break, the patterns of authority, submission, networks, solidarity, animosity. They don’t say that during the experience though. School is meant to educate you, formally, for the outside world, a foundation for further education to reach the proverbial career carrot. Our aspirations are tempered by what we are allowed to aspire to. The badges, titles, trophies, awards. Things that are bestowed to us by others. By that process, we learn to want what can be given to us, to pander to the authority that has the attainable goods. We cannot challenge because authority and indoctrinated peer would turn against us and we would be the black sheep in a sea of pigs. We were taught to aspire within our boundaries: questioning the system would not reward you because there is nothing outside the system. So love it. Learn it. Help it grow. And we did. We loved our peers and so many of us in our badges of proxy-authority worked to make our community better: get better resources, look towards the greater community, help each other achieve aspirations, even serve our system for the sake of love for what we thought was our community. It was when that one person who worked the hardest for it out of love and loyalty towards it, and us, wasn’t given the final recognition of service that we all expected for her… That was when we realised the rewards of our system were a fallacy. The rewards of the system depended on human relationships that went beyond the rationality and logic that we were inculcated with, that we thought society was made of, that school was meant to be preparing us for. School certainly prepared us for real life. It made us understand that to love and serve a system with no transparency, with authority ultimately in one or a few, with proxy-authority bestowed upon peers to turn us against each other, was to ultimately make us the very victims of it.

10 things I learnt at school

I learnt capitalism. That the progeny of the oldest and biggest sponsors of the system will be the ones who reap the rewards.

I learnt sexism. That boys shouldn’t cry and girls comforting them are sluts, shameless for seeking seclusion for privacy.

I learnt altruism. That it begins and ends at home and shouldn’t be wasted on people who have no other means of acquisition.

I learnt historicity. That if the authority writes a falsehood on your official documentation, then it becomes truth.

I learnt confidence deception. That what the authorities cannot guess at cannot be used against you.

I learnt the chronology of love. That it comes after education but before a career.

I learnt the value of hard work. That you will be rewarded as long as the aforementioned progeny are not vying for the same reward.

I learnt the importance of reputation. That depending on what it is in, reputation can close as many doors as it can open.

I learnt community. That who you are with matters more than the circumstances you find yourselves in.

I learnt learning. That I don’t have to be ashamed of my hunger, for it will never end.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be some harsh judgement on the particular school I went to, neither are the observations above specific to it. I have great fondness and gratitude towards it but that cannot preclude criticism of it. I hope, and also believe, that most people can/will relate to much of what’s written above.

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