Tuesday, 5 May 2015


The education system.

It's a bizarre arrangement really. You get carted off to reception at age five, in your little dungarees or your check pinafore, velcro shoes and a pink or blue lunch box in hand (depending on your gender - we Western societies like to start the gender stereotyping process early). Primary school is all fun and games - quite literally, from kiss-chase to tamagotchi's to slime covered aliens that give birth in the fridge (90's born)- and then ten years later you're fifteen, flagging in the social department of high school culture and resenting your very existence. Okay, maybe for some high school life didn't result in endless amounts of mental torment, but mine certainly did. Man, I abhorred it. I found out which college the majority of my peers were enrolling to the following year, and chose the other one. I couldn't wait to be rid of the toxicity.
Four years later, at nineteen, I'm nearing my final term of sixth form college and although I'm more secure with my social situation - dire, but I have a wonderful boyfriend and a sane friend or two - the upcoming examination period is taking its toll.

It was never the plan to spend three years at sixth form college, the standard two year stay seemed long enough for me, particularly at my college; where privacy is non-existent and students are treated as commodities. But health issues prevailed and disrupted my arrangements. There's no denying that it was a blow at first. To accept that I wasn't going to be the same as my peers, that a condition out of my control had prevented me from being their equal, I felt inferior and weak. Though, I can't complain too much , I'm applying to university this year with better grade prospects than I would have had last year, plus I got to spend more time living in the same town as my Jonathon. Swings and roundabouts. 

Achieved - English literature: B. History: B. AS Geography: B. AS Mathematics: C.
Predicted - English Language: A. Government and Politics: A. 

Remember I said that students are treated as commodities? This is why. 
Being a student, this is how I'm viewed. I am not Beth. I'm not creative, organised, driven or depressed. I'm not a teenager, a girl or a person. I am an accumulation of written examinations. I am mediocre A level grades. I am something to be improved, not guided. To be judged, not inspired. I am a statistic for league tables. The current education system strips any shred of identity from vulnerable teenagers, who are searching for belonging. We are vessels of regurgitated information. Our sole purpose to memorise a syllabus created by forty-something year old men wholly out of touch with our generation. 

Alas, in order to get out of the education system, I need to stick with it. Adhere to it's outdated ways and bitterly accept the fact that the outcome of June's exams will be a literal representation of my worth for years to come. It will determine my university place, my life for the foreseeable future and my career prospects. 

No pressure, huh? Wish me luck.

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