Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Your school years are the best years of your life’? Well, it’s not true. At least, I hope it isn’t. It would be pretty sad if all the good stuff was over before you reached your twenties. But still, as I was walking to work the other day, I started thinking back to my school years in the UK. They might not have been the ‘best’ days, but there were definitely a lot of advantages of being at school. Here are some of them:
- Friends. I can’t think of anything more luxurious than spending every day with my friends. When you leave school, meeting up with even one friend can take a lot of organising.
- Free knowledge. My school was free: it cost me and my parents £0. £0 for English, maths, geography, history, art, and lots of other subjects. What a bargain! Learning can be really expensive when you leave school - especially in the UK, where university has now become almost as expensive as buying a little house.
- Uniform. In England, schoolkids wear a uniform to school. Mine was blue. It wasn’t fashionable or particularly flattering, but it saved a lot of time in the mornings. Now it takes me ages to decide what to wear.
- Short days. My school days sometimes felt very long but they were, in fact, very short. The school day started at 9 and finished at 15.30. I used to think of ‘home time’ as the beginning of the evening, but nowadays I think of 15.30 as the middle of the afternoon.
- Exercise. I’m not very good at sport and I don’t really like it. But at school, sport was compulsory - twice a week we had to play netball, hockey, rounders, etc. I now realise that this was a good thing! Without compulsory sport, you become very lazy ...
- Bunsen burners. Unless you become a scientist, it’s unlikely that you will encounter Bunsen burners (or, indeed, other pieces of scientific equipment) in your post-school life. What a shame!
- Holidays. Christmas, Easter, half-term, and, of course, the jackpot: the summer holidays. There was always a holiday to look forward to at school. Time to ride your bike, to sit around watching films, to have sleepovers, and then the last day to do your homework.
- Teachers. Believe it or not, I miss teachers. OK, so they give homework and they make you stick to the rules. But they also share their knowledge with you and help you get to the right answer. When you no longer have teachers, you have to find the answers all by yourself!
- Resources. School had all the resources I could have asked for: books and paper and glue and paint and bats and balls. If I now wanted to make, for example, a papier mâché, I would have to spend all day shopping for the ‘ingredients’.
- Not knowing what’s coming next. I never really knew what I would 'do' or ‘be’ after school, but it was OK: The Grand Future was far away in the distance – filled with all sorts of different paths and possibilities. I guess it still is.
Can you add anything to the list? Do you like going to school, or are you ready to leave? What is school like in your country?