by Lola Whiteley | IndeterminateBlog Team
InHub is an education website.
Education. Do you remember Primary School? Let's go further back. How about Creché?
I do. Besides being able to fit into a suitcase, being squeaky and hyperactive, I can still picture the area and the kids there with me. We were a happy, naive little bunch. All 4-5 year olds should be that way. Your only concern need be nap-time and not peeing in your pants when you're struck by anxiety.
What are you giggling at? I was 4. It was one time. LET IT GO, DAMN IT.
Then there was peeing-in-pants-free Primary School. Well, for me at least. Now, we're learning about Numeracy and Literacy. These were big words. In my loopy handwriting at the time, they took up the entire A5 page. Eventually, I drew a giant "1" on my Numeracy book, and a similar misshapen "A" on my Literacy equivalent. I never did take out the wrong book again.
In between spelling tests and learning how to gumboot dance, teachers posed questions like, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
I would stand up boldly when it was my turn, barely reaching higher than my desk, and say, "Mam, when I'm older, I would like to be a model." Yes, I spoke like that. Mother had a beautiful grasp of the English language and would be damned if her only daughter said "wanna". The teacher laughed at me. The class laughed at me.
What? MOTHER SAID I'M BEAUTIFUL, DAMN IT.
Every day is a new betrayal. A child is beautiful to their parents, even if they have six toes on their right hand.
Anyway, I may take more selfies than a highschool girl and photomanipulate them to perfection, but as you may have guessed, I did not end up being a model.
Towards the end of my Primary School education, after all the running around kaalvoet, playing cops and robbers and pretending the sandpit was (MOLTEN HOT LAVA!), I noticed change.
You guessed it. Well, if you tried to guess. I mean, if you're even reading this. Where was I? Right.
Oh, my body was changing. For women, y'know, it gets nasty. That very first time you pull down your pants on the loo, look down, and scream out in a mixture of fear, shock and oh-my-God-I'm-dying.
"MOM! I'M BLEEDING! I THINK I BROKE IT!"
You didn't break it. Breathe, Little One. Your body is simply telling you that you can now make babies, and contribute to overpopulating the planet. But don't make babies. You're 12. Stop. Play with a Barbie instead.
Amidst the bodily change, there's a social change. It was okay to be yourself before. It was once okay to play in the dirt with boys. Now? Ha. No.
Girls form cliques. They crush on boys. They tease the girl with a moustache. They tease the girl whose boobs haven't grown yet. All of a sudden, the focus is on looking pretty, being popular and trying to be cool.
When teachers again ask what it is you want to be when you grow up, your first thought is, "Hey, I'm not a child anymore." But, you are. To them, at least. So, you'll gather yourself, and you'll answer respectfully because you haven't started backchatting teachers just yet.
"Mam, I would like to be a cosmetic surgeon."
That went the same way the modelling went. Now, the only surgery I perform is removing a splinter, or trying to peel off a plaster without getting an unwanted wax. If I'm not headbutting a car door, or punching the apartment door, I am running into a sliding door.
Doors. My nemesis.
Anyway, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. Deep down, I still just wanted to jump over the MOLTEN HOT LAVA!
Highschool arrived. What lava? I wanted a boyfriend. I even started brushing my hair.
I stopped this now. I ain't gon' brush my hair fo' nobody. Or something.
The pressure was on. At 16, we choose subjects that would determine what we can or cannot become. If you don't choose Sciences, how will you become a doctor? If you don't choose CAT, how will you go into IT? We're not really thinking about these things. Half of us have no idea what we want to do. I was still laughing at the prissy, judgmental girls because that girl whose boobs hadn't grown yet then, now had a bigger rack than Cindy, Mel and Ally combined. Oh, the glee.
Anyway, at that point I wanted to be a journalist. Which, again, I am not. The only writing I do now is in essays and blog posts like this one - that most often go unread. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?
So, after performing poorly in highschool, you worry about University. You worry because the weight of your matric year finally descends on you. Actually, it doesn't descend. It is dropped. From a tall building. By someone you don't like.
We're told, but we don't really understand, just how important Grade 12 is. Your entire life being dependent on a series of half yearly tests? Preposterous.
Well, you'd think.
Then there's the regret. The many options you didn't even know you had, popping up. Oh, the dire need for information. We're so narrow-sighted.
Doctor. Teacher. Engineer. Lawyer. Psychologist. Geologist.
Architect? Why didn't I think of that? Radiography? Do you give live commentary as you study rocks?
Why were we not informed? Why wasn't I told to explore my options? Why wasn't there someone I could talk to?
Here I am. I'm third year psychology student with an existential crisis. Did you know you can do nothing substantial with a degree in psychology? Let's face it, we need to chase the green. By, that I mean money, not grass, Stoner. You have to study 7 years, pay to register with the HPCSA, then pay annually. All that, just to help people?
Don't get me wrong. It will be worth it. The money may just be sufficient to live comfortably in an outlying town where the rent is cheaper. The prospect of being a health care professional - yes, professional - is a great one.
But had I known my options? No. Did I know I would have to study 7 years? No. Was I aware that I'd have to wait three extra years before I could get on my own two feet? Definitely not.
Our very first class, the lecture burst our bubbles.
"Only 14 of you will become psychologists."
There were 700 in our class. I sat there mimicking Trevor Noah, counting one in every 50 students.
"47, 48, 49, PAH! UNEMPLOYED!...47, 48, 49, PAH! HOMELESS!...47, 48, 49, PAH! Oh, wait. That's me. Oh, well. PAH! MARRIED TO A RICH MAN!"
I'll tell you one thing, when I have Little Ones of my own, I'll make sure they're exposed to every option they could have.
And, if you're studying Psychology? Man, you better love what you're doing.