What school really taught us

Translated by Ελισάβετ Κεχαγιά

Based on the original article in Greek by Κάλλια Χρηστάκη

I know, I know. The first answer that comes straight up to mind is a sonorous NOTHING, which is in part justified considering that it left you exhausted and disappointed after your entrance exams. But now that we are away from it all and wiser, let us travel back in time as mere observers and reminiscence about our school days, setting aside these feelings and the desire to annihilate every trace of it.

School is more than just the starting point of life; it is the pathway through which we reach adulthood, and must be able to equip us with assets that will help us in life later on. Humans by design are overcome with feelings to which they are indissolubly linked and learn to live with. Through school we got a taste of joy, friendship, love, anger, sadness, exhaustion, impatience and disappointment among many others, which were in constant alternation and would be unknown to us had we stayed locked away at home.

Even so, all these feelings were felt in “secret” as if they were illegal, because we were only allowed to study at the time. They caged us in the prison of knowledge in an attempt to cut us off from our feelings and by extension real life, to remain dormant and content with the poor knowledge they provided us with thinking it was enough to get us through life. They didn’t want us to know that taking risks is better than being hostage to ifs and doubts. Nor did they teach us that the beauty of life lies in its hardships, or to trust ourselves first and life second.  They simply didn’t.

Thus a society of indifference was formed. Growing up in an era where information and technology are integrated in our everyday life much like family, we had the means, especially as students, to learn anything we wanted; and at the same time nothing. Nothing real that is. They brought us to a point where we are indifferent not only towards others, but also towards ourselves. With indifference being considered a strength, we seldomly wear our hearts on our sleeves and are afraid to express what we really feel, while attitudes such as “your loss my gain” have come to express us. Luckily as we all know, hope dies last and there is still room for love for the fellow man.

School has taught us how to use brushes and watercolours to paint life in a specific way; it did not to allow us to envision our very own and unique canvas. We were thrust involuntarily into a prosaic way of living, provided with nothing but sterile information devoid of immediacy and experience, without which knowledge and feelings are bound to hover forever.

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