Into the “real world”

(By: Shriya Prakash + Edited by Smriti Prakash)

The last days of fifth grade leading up to secondary were some of the most confusing days of the year. I was contemplating whether I should be happy that I am going to secondary or completely terrified. The image in my mind about what secondary would be like was not that great. At least, not until I got here. It also didn’t help that my friends constantly looked worried, ranting about how strict the teachers were, how many exams they had to give, and how my friends who were in sixth grade at the time always looked so stressed on the day of a UT or SA. To them, we were living the good life while they suffered in the ‘real world’.

On my first day I was super excited about all the new subjects we had and all my new teachers (who were surprisingly quite nice). One amazing thing about being in fifth grade was that we were the oldest so it made us feel like we had some small amount of power over the younger kids, but in sixth grade we were the youngest and that scared me. No one wants to be at the bottom of the food chain. After my first day though, I realized secondary wasn’t that bad. We actually had a lot more freedom than we did in primary. It felt like this was the starting of a cool new experience, instead of the end of happiness (secondary as it had been described).

When I was still in fifth grade, older kids who had just joined secondary or had been there for only a year used to treat us like we were babies. I felt like primary and secondary were not just 2 blocks which were about 10 steps apart but completely different universes. In my mind, people had two chapters in their life-before and after they started secondary. No one seemed the same after they left our block. They would act differently. Treat us differently…

I used to think that it was an entirely ego driven transformation. How different could it be? Why should they suddenly get preferential treatment? It wasn’t just little things, like cutting cafeteria lines or bending the seatbelt rule on the bus. What annoyed me most was the regular favor of their rights over ours. For example, when secondary kids had P.E during our snack or lunch, they would always take the basketball court which we used to play on. This was the only time in the school day we had for ourselves!

But now that I have my PE during the primary lunch time, I understand that those secondary kids deserved the court more than we did. After the pressure of an exam they needed that time to relax, and even if they weren’t having exams that was their only PE class in the whole week. In primary we had 2 PE classes every week so it’s not like we didn’t have enough time to play. The changes in them were sometimes a result of their changed schedules, changed pressures.

But it’s not a one time change from primary to secondary. Every grade, it seems, is harder than the last. Obviously. Wherever I am now is as close to to the good life as I will ever be. I realized that we should not be too stressed and that we should live life in the moment  so that we can have the most fun possible in the present.

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