Private school is seriously not working for me?
So, as I sit here in my room at Ardingly College on the first night back after the holiday, I feel it is time I write down everything that’s going through my head, if anything just to provide me with more clarity about the whole picture and frankly what the hell is going on in my head right now. What’s my problem, why am I in such a devoided mental state, not that that word exists but I feel it suits my current position.
Now let’s get one thing straight, I clearly hate this school, that’s for sure. Now I’m not saying that Ardingly is bad and they’re doing everything wrong, but I am saying it is so wrong in my personal scenario. This fancy private school that I’m in and have been in for the past 5 years seems to have slowly chewed away at me and within the past 2 years this has escalated. What do I mean by this, well… Ever since I joined I hated it, the boarding was all so different and I was constantly insanely homesick to the extent I wouldn’t ask questions in class because I was worried my voice might crack and I would accidently break down as I was constantly sad and confused, but also angry at myself? Why was I the different one to all my brothers and family, why couldn’t I have just passed the bloody Sevenoaks exam and gone there and done everything normally, like it was supposed to be. Eventually I did get over this period and I made some great mates and came accustomed to the boarding life to the extent I secretly enjoyed it, but obviously, I would never have admitted that fact, thing is I still hated the school and the work which badly tainted the overall view I had of the school.
Anyway, so it all started bad but I got over it and I developed and there was a period at the beginning of year 11 where I would say everything was good. I was a normal school boy, decent grades and putting in a solid effort, probably a bit under the average however I still don’t think I had started revising for exams at any point. This is a serious problem. But yeah. looking back at it there was a period where I was almost just a classic school boy with nothing special or anything going on. I think it all changed when all my close mates started talking about how they were going to leave, obviously, I hated the work so I thought yeah maybe I should consider this too and I did. But nothing seemed reasonable, due to where I live, there aren’t many schools/colleges and so nothing materialised. However as soon as I heard that 4 of my 5 close mates were leaving for sure, it got me thinking, especially as two of them were going to these ‘sixth form colleges’ which I hadn’t heard of. My mate explained to me how it is a place where you have loads more independence and it’s effectively a pre-university sort of thing. I instantly fell in love with the idea, not just because I wanted to not wear uniform and have shorter days, like who wouldn’t want that, but because I genuinely loved the idea of it and it seemed to fit with my working style and attitude so much better than this school does.
I then promptly went and looked at West Kent College, the only college that was near me, praying it would be good. I knew that on paper, Ardingly is much better than this place but fuck statistics, they don’t apply for everyone as I have found out the hard way. However, I wanted to study geography and the college didn’t even do it which was sort of a gamechanger. Little did I know how much I would come to hate learning about cliff faces and wish I’d studied something interesting such as media studies which may have a relevance to my future. I think I was just too much of a classic private school kid and hadn’t realised it back then, I thought I couldn’t do media studies because it’s not prestigious enough and geography is. But at the end of the day that was just me being ridiculously closed minded and snobby, I would love to reverse this and be studying something I enjoy, which for me is not geography! So, after that I basically decided that I’d tried to look at other options for sixth form but nothing would work, which wasn’t true, but that’s the conclusion I came to. Thus, I decided to stay at Ardingly whilst my mates were all leaving.
Then came the GCSE’s and this is sort of where it began to go tits up. I found I couldn’t revise, I was working to get good grades in exams which ultimately were aimed to get me into the same school which I disliked. It was just incredibly demotivating. I couldn’t commit at all because I felt I was gaining nothing. And so, I literally did no revision for my GCSE’s. I almost wanted to make a statement to my parents and whatever that this was wrong by getting bad grades. I got three A’s and 2 B’s and the rest C’s and D’s with maybe 1 -4 hours’ revision for each subject. Not actually that bad but compared to my brothers, it’s a different level. I have three by the way, one of them got 6 A*s and the rest A’s! Now I’m not feeling sorry for myself that I am the only brother who is a failure bla bla bla because I didn’t work and that’s a fact but If I could go back I wouldn’t change a thing because I know why I did what I did and nothing has changed.
So, that was the GCSE scenario, the beginning of when everything started to go a bit weird. The grades were not good enough to get back into Ardingly but they still let me in but said I would do three A levels and not four, which was fine by me as apparently, the systems changed anyway. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to going back, but the school promised me that the sixth form involved much more independence and you got to wear a suit! Ooh yeah a suit! (I hate the fact that we must wear suits now!) Ultimately I went back into sixth form optimistic, looking to sort of create a clean slate but it was strange with so many big characters and mates not being in the boarding house anymore, one of which being the amazing house master who was one of the reasons I started to enjoy boarding, because he understood me, and this is crucial in a relationship between a housemaster and his students. So, in came the new housemaster and an influx of about 30 new foreign boarders. Certainly felt different. Just to my luck the new housemaster was… a prick! Now I get that he must sort of lay down the law and make sure he comes into the house and quickly establishes authority. But my god he took it to a new level. The old house master’s moto was to make it a second home, this guy was more like I will force feed you a lifestyle and you must live by it. I hated all his stupid petty rules and once again I quickly found myself hating the house and my situation even more than ever before. The so-called independence you get in sixth form was a joke.
And in correlation to this, my grades were also bad. By Christmas 2015 I was working at a U, E, C. I found myself getting more and more unmotivated due to the dislike of the forced boarding lifestyle which allowed no flexibility and no personalization to how you work. Everyone works and learns differently but apparently, you will all be treated the same and be expected to do everything the same. Now I am not saying I want the whole system to be exactly what I want it to be so I can be more motivated, I am saying I just want to have some independence and flexibility to the way I work and learn, seriously I need this. So, in effect, I began to develop a serious loathing for the private school system I was wrapped up in last year and it got worse as the year went on. This loathing got worse and worse to the extent I began to hate almost everything including things like wearing a suit as I feel, seriously, I am 17 almost 18, why do we need to put on this fancy, upper class costume which real working men wear when we are just students. This one I find hard to explain, but I just don’t feel natural at all when I put that suit on, I walk around in this fancy suit with other people my age all in the same attire, most of whom have much more expensive suits and more than one. We are 17/18-year old’s walking around wearing expensive suits to our lessons and in our school life. I guess it’s just me but it feels so unnatural! I would much rather be in home clothes, something much more grounded and natural to me. Look it may sound like I blabbering absolute crap but ultimately what I am trying to say is it just feels fake and unnatural to be at this age, and learning with people who are wearing suits costing over £300 or whatever (some a lot more) but what have you done to earn that? Me included. Obviously, it’s the parent’s money but do they appreciate how fortunate they are to be wearing something so expensive and intricate, it just seems they are born to wear these suits and I am just not… A little thing but something that gets to me in a weird way I know.
What next? How about the fact that we have £30 grand pumped into our education when others have absolutely nothing put into it? It doesn’t take a genius to realise this is seriously unfair? Like SERIOUSLY UNFAIR???! Your education and the opportunities you will therefore get in life are so heavily influenced by your parent’s income… just so wrong… on so many levels. It just seems like no one here realises that fact, we are all so ridiculously lucky to be where we are and to be having the education we are having. But I don’t know why but it just seems people don’t give a shit, they are too busy trying to be cool and popular and getting that cool selfie or whatever, just in their own little world, talking about how this person got with that person and that makes them so uncool and so much respect is lost, like oh my god! Really? Stuff like this just seems so petty and I don’t know but it just doesn’t interest me and if anything, it just frustrates me. People will literally spend hours bitching about other people because they did the most minor of things. I guess it’s just how a school social society works, but I can’t help but feel this factor is amplified and twisted due to the private school environment we are in.
I don’t even think it is healthy. I think it’s essential that we, at our age, should be mixing with all sorts of people from all backgrounds rather than just the well-off people that we all are. This would give us a richer social understanding of the general population so that we do go to university, I think for most people this is fine, because I heard when people go to uni, they realise everyone is a lot more down to earth and they quickly adjust, but some people just won’t and you can tell who they are, and they will just live different lives in their own little bubble just because their mummies and daddies are the CEO of some fucking huge company. These people should be mixing with our whole generation for the whole of this period in our lives because it would surely help them to realise how lucky they are and not be so god damn self-centred. I do just want to add obviously; everyone is not like this. But I can’t help feel that the private school society we are in is unhealthy and unfair, it’s almost always based on your parent’s income whether you can be a part of it, and it generates an unhealthy, unrepresentative environment which is not socially diverse. This is just my opinion.
So, here’s me, at 3 am writing this very long thing about how messed up my mental state is. I must work bloody hard studying politics, geography and business. All three of which don’t stimulate me and I fundamentally find them incredibly boring. And in turn I am failing, working at a D, C, B. Which may not be that bad or anything tragic but when £30 grand is pumped into my education… let’s be honest its bad, I am so privileged and yet I am achieving so little with all the opportunities that are given to me. Some people would die to have the life I have had and here’s me sitting on my arse not putting any effort in, and I just don’t understand it. I’m incredibly unmotivated and I’ve developed the worst procrastination habit. I always put off my work and then must do it in one go because I feel I work better working under pressure when it’s something I don’t want to do. This has led to me staying up to hours like 6 am working constantly through the night because I left all my work to last minute. Generally, though I find I am way more productive during night hours and especially unproductive during the morning. Hence I am writing this over 2000-word thingy at 3 am. This leads me onto something else, at uni or college it would be okay because you have so much free time around lectures etc. that you can work to a way that suits you, you can be independent. So, as I work much better during late hours, and I have googled this, it is a thing, I find I stay up late but then must get up early as the school day starts. So here there is no opportunity to work to a way that suits you because we have a fixed day and apparently, everyone will abide by this, allowing no independence even though everyone learns in a different way.
I’m just in a bad place mentally, I am not motivated as I hate the working environment that I am in and I feel like I am seriously under-achieving but then again I don’t know my potential, but at this school I have a reputation for being lazy and just a little bit of a ‘mug’ but it’s because I am staying up late and getting it all wrong in terms of my day to day life. This unproductiveness and lack of motivation and serious procrastination all combine to just make me feel crap and confused at why the hell I don’t get my head down and just bloody work. But it’s a snowball effect, the more this happens, the worse I feel about myself, and then the more unproductive I am and it goes on. It’s gotten to the stage though I feel the system is so wrong and inflexible even in our developed world, that I almost refuse to participate in this private school life I am supposed to be in. I don’t want to just become part of it and block all the crap out, but what the hell do I do now… How the hell is this going to work! Do I literally just need a slap to the face? My grades don’t seem to do that job, if anything I don’t mind those bad grades because, it’s a way of saying this is not working for me, everyone’s telling me to just get my head down and it’s not so bad, but you force fed me this system for 5 years and It’s never worked, my grades have never been good, and this is me stating that no, this isn’t working… but am I just being pathetic? Occasionally I think I may have some mental problem, after considering it I thought I might have depression because I often get into depressed moods and do irrational actions, like staying up till 4 am writing a 3000-work thing about my situation. I am generally an unconfident, quiet guy unless I know someone, in which case I’m the opposite it seems.
To conclude I just feel everything is so screwed up and I shouldn’t be here, what makes matters worse is that I have all this money spent on my education and others get nothing yet they still do better than me, and good for them. I almost feel that because I have never had to work for anything in my life, let’s be honest I am so privileged that I’ve always kind of got what I want in some way, but I will stress I am not spoilt and am completely aware of this, but this comfortable cushion that I has always been there for me to fall back on might have had a negative impact? Having everything offered to me on a plate has actually been bad, and now it’s almost as if I want to genuinely screw something up and then I will snap into action, like getting shit a levels and going to a shit uni or something, I don’t even know… Honestly I just don’t know but at the end of the day I feel the situation I am in is so wrong and screwed, but tomorrow I will have to carry on and put this fancy, fake suit on as if I am a stimulated young man and carry on with my life. It’s just the same shit every time, I am done with this, I have made literally no progress in the past 3 years.
Well this is where I finish and crash out, probably in a worse mental state than ever before, completely not sure how I am going to sort myself out and still questioning why the hell I can’t get my head down like everyone else. My Dad said can’t I be different AND better? I’m sorry but I just don’t have the motivation or even the desire to achieve that second part. I’ll leave you on this quote, I like it, it makes me feel better about myself! I have a real fascination for media and love creative software’s, always putting off work to use photoshop and adobe after effects to make logos and music videos. Maybe that’s my area, it’s what I hope to do at uni anyway and I can’t wait… Just to say, I may have not worded this very well but I think I have a reasonable argument here which has sense, but at the end of the day it’s my opinion and my attitude, which is fundamentally opposed to everything that this private school is about. Occasionally I get the rush to do something stupid and always think about it, I feel it might not be long though before something happens because I can’t stand this much longer.
Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid - Einstein
Bite the bullet and finish the year at your school. I hear your complaints, but really, your writing shows the intelligence, discipline and focus needed to be successful in any field you choose.
No need to declare a major at this point. Why do you think you are "locked" into declaring a major at your age?
When you are 18 you should be able to pick a college setting that gives you the "freedom" you desire. Start looking now for a new setting.
Doesn't your school have placement counselors who help with higher education decisions?
In the meantime, be sure your grades are good enough to get into the college setting you want.