Monday, 14 September 2015

知觉 | Grow up

Posted by: Dom Lowth

I feel like I’ve missed an episode of a TV show I watch every week. The story has developed without me. The characters have changed; there are new characters, some of the old characters have gone. Trying to understand the plot now is impossible. I’m out of touch with it. It’s left me behind.

I’m writing this as a 17 year old. In about 5 months I’ll be 18. In a year I’ll be on my way to a university somewhere, hopefully, and on my own for the first time in my life.

I only feel like I became a teenager a year or so ago. Maybe if I’d matched the stereotype, slamming doors and shouting at my parents, the years would have been a little more momentous. In reality, they’ve flown past as quite a blur. Everything around me has changed, and yet I don’t really feel like I have.

Yes I’m taller. My voice is a bit lower. I’m always tired but I go to bed later.

But sometimes I feel like that’s pretty much it. Today, for example.

My school threw a suit on me when I started year 12, gave me a new tie, and started using words like ‘employability’ and ‘careers’. Presentation after presentation, assembly after assembly culminated in the same message:

Grow up.

School is supposed to prepare you for later life; the ‘real world’ – wherever that is. We’re taught the importance of studying hard, and getting the most out of our education we possibly can. I studied hard for my GCSE exams, so I could study a bit harder for my A level exams, my hope being that at the end of all this I’ll have a ticket printed with four solid grades, that I can clutch like a golden ticket to see Willy Wonka, as I fall out of my sixth form, and into a university.

Every day I’m closer to being an adult; getting a job, a wife, a family. Yet every day I sit at the same desks, in the same plastic chairs, with the same worksheets in front of me, content under the illusion that ‘education’ is just school, school is all the learning I need to do, and once I’m through it and out the other side, I’ll have magically transformed into a ‘confident young adult’.

But your ‘education’ has to be so much more than what you’re taught at school. And I feel like I’ve realised that too late.

We’re taught lingo and facts and dates and stats to pass exams. Knowing the background to functionalism and Marxism, and that the Falklands War happened in 1982 is fab, but I can’t say it’s really shaped me as a human, and it seems more than unlikely that I’ll refer to this knowledge when making big decisions in future life.

Okay, I’m running out of time - it's 10pm.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I feel like a kid, stepping out into an adult world, with nothing but a bigger pair of shoes than I had a few year ago.

University, and the life of independence that those three years will kick off is really just around the corner. It’s a big main road that I walk past everyday on my way to school, but I’ve never ventured down. I don’t know where or what it leads to, but school has taught me to put one foot in front of the other, again and again, because apparently that gets me places.

One day I will have to turn onto that big road, and I’ll find out where it takes me, even if with my little legs I do have to run alongside the people who are really grown up and big.

(I know this hasn't gone anywhere, and has no order whatsoever, but I was in no frame of mind to write something with a beginning, middle and end. Do me a favour and just pretend it did, okay?)

Dom's listening to: 'Get Loose' by The Coronas

Read my previous post here.

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