When I was in high school I wish I had known that there are many ways to learn, and being at school was just one way. Often it is the lessons we learn outside the school room that are the most valuable
Throughout high school, I wish I had known the importance of noticing others and allowing their experiences to enrich my own life. Other people’s stories and experiences will inspire you to learn, to change and to evolve.
Get out of bed, go to school, stick at school. Make it happen for yourself because those opportunities are waiting.
One of my prized possessions is still the prefect’s tie that I got in this school. I keep it with me. It was the first leadership position I ever had.
Aged nine, sprawled on my bed, I wrote misspelt uphill stories about girls and their horses, and later filled a diary with intimate teenage confessions. My first school essays were a discovery. I found refuge in the written word. Shy and tongue-tied, writing gave me time to think about what to say, and change if I need be.
At difficult times of my life, books have been an incredible comfort. When I was 12, I changed schools and my parents split up. It was then that I became addicted to reading. A great writer can attach themselves to your mind and heart, and you feel you understand the world better. As long as you have the capacity to read, you needn’t be alone any more. I remember thinking as a child, “If I could give one person the comfort I keep getting from books, then I want to write.”
I cannot consider fighting in competitive Manly Fun any more than I can consider pitting my running, swimming or climbing body against other bodies. Nothing, then, or now, arouses me or will ever arouse me from a perfect disinterest in ball games.
I immediately cotton on to the fact that intelligence thus lightly used, and one-upmanshipishly displayed, is a birthmark giving me a two-coloured face, is a goitre, a hump on the back, webbed toes, and makes me stink like the night-man. Once again I learn what I knew on my very first day at Kensington School, and have carelessly forgotten, that it is more intelligent to appear less intelligent. I henceforth rein myself in, and publicly give back only what I have been given – fifty-six for seven- eights.
You see it in schools all over… the concept that 'I'll be somewhat less than my best in order to make those around me feel more comfortable' is alive and well… I'm very keen that they understand that if they make themselves a little less than they can be, it is a one-way street to mediocrity.