My 20-year high school reunion in coming up in a couple of weeks and of course we ask the usual questions. Will we be the same? Have we grown up? Do we even remotely look anything like we did 20 years ago?
But what I want to know is, if you had to do Year 12 all over again and sit those dreaded final year exams, how would you do?
Honestly, I would like to think that I would kick the Year 12 exams out of the school hall. Why? Because I’m 20 years older. I should be smarter right?
Maybe it depends on the school subject. Me, I loved Music, Social Sciences, English and History subjects. All those touchy feely thinking type subjects. If I had to take on physics I’d fail. Hell I failed physics in Year 10; even after cheating.
I remember one afternoon practicing my piano piece for about two hours and my teacher was telling me she couldn’t hear the emotion in my playing.
“Are you in love?” she queried.
“Yes” I replied. At the time I truly believed I was. And I was, don’t get me wrong. But the love I felt the day I got married or the day I gave birth was the kind of ‘blow you away’ love that I needed that 1991 afternoon. If I had to play that piece again, I would play it better.
I understand Shakespeare better. The complexity of people and the tragedy we suffer; I get that stuff now.
Waiting for Godot meant nothing to me as a 16 year old. I hated that play with a passion. But if I hadn’t been exposed to this sort of literature at high school I don’t know if I wouldn’t be giving it a second thought now.
History, society…I’ve seen things now, I’ve lived through moments. It’s real. I have experienced the nation’s collective sorrow when an Australian soldier dies. Or the anger that’s expressed when another leaky fishing boat full of asylum seekers reaches Australia.
I’ve lived, I’ve read, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve been downtrodden, I’ve fought back.
What I needed in Year 12 was empathy; I lacked empathy. I just hadn’t experienced well…anything really. I mean I did write a kick arse essay on my annoyance at some fellow students who were debating whether I was a true Australian. And why? Because that came from within me, not some textbook.
You want me to discuss The Crucible? I can.
You want to me explore history’s failed lessons? I can.
You want to hear pain in my voice when I sing a love song? I can.
You want me to explain that with no culture there is no identity? I can.
I am 20 years older now. My voice is the authority now. I don’t need to find a quote to back up my argument.
So anyone want to do Year 12 exams with me?