I have always had mixed feelings about school. There was a part of me that completely hated it where as there was another part of me that loved it because it was a form of escape. I went to boarding school when I was 10 years old – in primary school and that became my norm for high school and university. In fact, I can confidently say that I have been raised by the school system. The most time I spent at home during those years is probably 2 months in a year because tuition and super short midterms. All in all, I cannot complain because I believe I turned out alright, I guess (lol).
Until I got to my 6th semester in uni, I didn’t think much of school. I knew that this was the place I needed to be in order to achieve my dreams because of the “education is the key to success” talk I heard from everyone around me. I was committed to my books and getting good grades because I was told I was useless when I failed to reach my target even by one mark not to mention the canes that left dark streaks on my thighs and legs (story for another day). My devotion to this so called success made me spend a lot of my time in the library which has remained my favorite place to be in. When I got to my 6th semester, I took four classes for my electives and that is when my whole world changed because I got to see everything from a different angle.
Basic counselling skills taught me how to listen. This was one of the hardest classes for me because I was forced to learn to listen to another person; I was forced to learn to emotionally detach myself from somebody else’s pain in order to remain objective and guide them through the counselling session. I had to learn to use positive words and to control my reactions in order to offer my ‘client’ a comfortable environment to express themselves. This class taught me to be human and to see humanity not for the bad but for the good that we all inherently have as Immanuel Kant likes to put it.
We have to learn to be better than conflict.
Peace and conflict resolution was one of those classes that got me because it showed me my flaws in a way that I could not even run away from them. I used to be that kind of person that would go quiet if anyone wronged me instead of telling them that I didn’t like their behaviour. This class taught me that it is okay to get into conflict but you have to work yourself out of it through peaceful ways e.g mediation or arbitration. Carrying around hurt feelings is not healthy at all because it gets to a point where you explode because of all the weight you carry around and that’s dangerous. Since then, I am completely aware that conflict is part and parcel of our lives but how we handle it is what is important. We have to learn to let it not control how we make decisions; we have to learn to be better than conflict and that’s how we take control of it.
Introduction to Sociology. I cannot begin to imagine how I was able to live my life without the knowledge I got in this class. It opened me up to understanding human beings in the best way possible. Getting to understand human behaviour made a lot of sense especially about how people are. Through this class, I learnt the power of observation. It is truly amazing how much you can know about a person just by looking at how they do their things be it work or how they interact.
I learnt about the power of inclusivity where we were forced to ask other people’s opinions about the topics we researched on through interviews or focus group discussions – this reiterated that for one to be successful, you have to get different perspectives because the world is made of an immense sea of them. Through this class, I developed a love for humanity because I realized that we are all the same though we have been brought up in different conditions. It still fascinates me how dynamic a human is and i’m grateful for this class because it is the reason why I strive to spread love and happiness to everyone I come across.
Acting for theatre and film. My passion for acting took me to this class and I can confidently say that in 16 years of my 8-4-4 life, this was one of my favorite classes. This class opened me up to the reality of being vulnerable because it is necessary for one to be a great actor. To be able to tell another’s story, one needs to be able to tear themselves to the core. This class taught me to accept myself and not be afraid of any part of me because an actor has no shame.
I got to learn about back stories which one needs to create for a character in order to embody them in the best way possible. My experience while creating these back stories led me to understand humans in a better way. I got to learn that people behave the way they do because of their untold stories; some have disheartening stories and some have elating ones. This experience taught me to rid myself of any kind of judgement against people because our back stories have moulded us to be who we are and no one deserves to be judged for what they had no control over.
An actor has no shame.
Through this class, I learnt to see and to listen and to smell. I opened up my senses to my environment and this has helped me to see humans for who they are even when everyone else may think otherwise. This class made me realize that as a storyteller, I have a responsibility to tell stories in the most authentic way without judgement. This is my mantra and i’m grateful for this class for showing me to reach deep within myself in order to give a deep and rich story!
I have a responsibility to tell stories in the most authentic way without judgement.
I am deeply grateful that I got to experience these classes and they would not have been impactful if not for the amazing lecturers I had -God bless them! They not only changed my view about humanity and myself but also about why schools exist. Schools are not merely a place we go to so that we can memorise textbooks and do exams rather they are custodians of knowledge. We are supposed to become better people after gaining all the knowledge we possibly can in school in order to create a better world. If only I realized this when I started my schooling when I was a child, I would definitely be a better person. Oh well, it is not too late either – with the little that I have gained, I have to make it count. What classes had an impact on you?