/ The Personal Blog of Basil Labib / blog

My School Journey

August 2, 2021

Few days back, I graduated high school. Which means a journey of 14 years came to an end. I have numerous delights, some regrets and plenty of memories to take with me. I have some to share too.

Teachers

First of all, I want to thank every teacher who has taught me. From holding my hand to write an ‘A’ in nursery to open discussions in Physics classes to painful lectures in Literature – I have taken a part of you all. And though, I may become whatever I will, I have irrevocably become the sum of those pieces that you all have gladly given me. I am grateful to all of you, in the truest sense of the word. Moreover, coming from an indigent family, the love and support that some of you have shown me has been something I still can’t imagine. I still remember when Mrs. Bannerjee (my 10th English teacher) borrowed a dictionary on her name from the school library for me so that I could prepare for my board exams the following day. I remember Mrs. Ali and Mrs. Khan who waived my school fees for an entire year at a time when my family was going through great turmoil. Frankly, I would had to drop-out otherwise. Mrs. Kalam, who treated me as her own son, extended every possible help she could. I always felt so at home around her given the fact that I don’t like people a lot. Mrs. Sinha, who taught me Chemistry from practically the beginning. I still have the pen you gave me after I scored a 100 in boards by your guidance and blessings. And surely many, many others I cannot recall. I am a self-motivated student and all I need is a little encouragement. I am glad I got that and a lot more from all of you.

Not every teacher was co-operative so to speak. I guess some people just take school jobs for lack of a better option considering their intelligence quotient. I had a cranky librarian, few incapable (inappropriate?) teachers, an oversmart school official among others who I cannot recall anymore. I remember them all. I guess that is the fun of it.

The most delightful and terrifying time

Birla High School, Kolkata. Picture: David

Birla High School, Kolkata. Picture: David

The change of school after 10th was a seminal shift in my life. It was a period of intense self-doubt, anxiety and skepticism. What was I doing around these kids from hotshot families? Our habits, manners, ideals were different. Imagine a kid who is known throughout the school thrown into a situation where he is a nobody – an outsider. All these seemingly unreachable toppers looked daunting to me for the first time. I had no place, no status. I used to sit in a corner and nobody bothered. I was both elated and terrified at the same time. Somebody had hit the reset button. It was one of the best times of my life. But I wasn’t deterred. I had a plan. After the first test assessments came in, I regained my composure. Teachers began to remember my name. And I reinstituted myself at the place I like to be. Winning is always a function of one’s own capabilities.

A different vantage point

BHS gave me perspective. It offered me a different vantage point to assess myself. It was also the time I began to question the credibility of our education system. I think I identified the charade much later than others. The past two years have been extraordinary. I got what I wished for: a moment to breathe but at a terrible cost. I got time to seek new ideas, ponder deeply about things and figure out what exactly I want to do with my life (For the record, I’m still undecided).

Friends

My school life would have been bland and monotonous had it not been for my friends. As I am sitting here recalling all those mischiefs that we committed together, I have a silent smirk on my face. If teachers made me who I am, then my friends made the process less painful, more memorable. All memories, painful or joyous in the face of time become just memories – souvenirs to be cherished. I am glad I had my share of fun.

School Picnic, 2020.

School Picnic, 2020.

I hate school

After all the sugar-coated talk out of the way, let’s get to the real deal. I hate school. Really hate it. I have felt suffocated for all these years. One of the most effective ways to ensure destruction of originality and value. Those loathesome memorization and regurgitation regimes. The utter helplessness of kids dancing to the tune to get those “sacred marks”. People didn’t learn for learning’s sake, for the love of learning. All they ever bothered was with marks, a fictitious magnitude they can measure and compare. Real learning was met with awkwardness, even ridicule. Deep down, good grades was a reassurance to their hearts, a misplaced sense of safety. And I am just happy it’s all over. I am hopeful that learning is valued where I am going. And I can’t f*cking wait to get out of here.

Regrets

Ah, regrets. Of course, my life hasn’t been all success and medals and wins. When I look back (few will scoff at this phrase because how old am I? They think there is a minimum age bar to qualified to talk about responsibility, to take a third person stance and judge your life for what it’s worth) I have tons of regrets.

Gender inclusivity

I wish our school had been more gender inclusive. I wish I had been more exposed to the other gender. It is preposterous to segregate people during the formative years of one’s life ideals and then throw them together in the real world and expect them to fend off for themselves. I would have been more confident in myself. I would have had a much clearer picture of what girls are. I wish I knew what it is like to know a girl. All that I had to “fend off” during my teenage was…nothing. I began patronising girls, elevating them to unrealistic expectations (not physical, ok) and I still have that scar mark, I guess. I look at other boys and I wish that it had all just been normal.

Skills

Personally, I wish I had learned more during my middle school. I wish I had utilised my time properly there. I was such a fool to just bury my nose in books and be all smiles with beaming parents on Annual Report Days. I wish I had picked up other things back then – tech, new language, music, sports.

That’s what I regret the most.

Goodbye, school

I am not at all emotional or crying or anything. In fact, good riddance. But I am happy what I have become.

I leave here becoming more than what I came here being.

Batch of 2020-21, BHS

Batch of 2020-21, BHS

Basil | @itbwtsh

Tech, Science, Design, Economics, Finance, and Books.
Basil blogs about complex topics in simple words.
This blog is his passion project.