Into the heart of darkness

I’m going to give you a walkthrough of a typical day in my life (just because I feel like it). So buckle up because, believe me, this is going to be a wild ride. And so it begins. It was a promising start to the day – I was able to have a nice lie-in and got to school just in time for first period (I’m usually painfully early due to the fact that we can’t afford the bus or train so have to catch a lift).

My first lesson was English, during which we had to give group presentations on the book we’re currently reading (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). There are a lot of presentations in English. It pains me, but it is a necessary evil I suppose. That doesn’t make me hate it any the less though. If there is anyone out there reading this who is wondering what Heart of Darkness is about, it is about a European man who travels to the Belgian Congo and his discovery of the darkness of man’s heart and all that jazz (I think, I haven’t finished reading it yet).

It’s a book that leaves me ambivalent and I’ve not yet decided whether I like it. It’s pretty offensive, but I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything more from a book that was published in 1899 about colonialism. What’s annoying is that my teacher keeps trying to put a positive spin on things (probably because she has to), but really all the book is making me do is hate England and the British Empire just that little bit more. The book isn’t even about the British Empire in particular – Belgian Congo – but I cannot help but think about the atrocities we committed.

The next period was spent trying to teach a group of six year olds how to speak basic Spanish. This is something we have to do as part of our syllabus. Since it was our last lesson before Christmas, we got them to make Christmas cards in Spanish. A couple of them asked me if they could write their cards in English, and although I applaud them for trying, I ended up having to bribe them with chocolate to write in Spanish. This was not a Good Idea. I won’t go into the details, but one of the little girls ended up crying and all I could think about was how I caused this mess. I have to say that I’m quite proud that this was the first instance of crying given that my friend and I have been teaching them since September (and, to be honest, every week that girl looked like she was on the verge of tears). It’s usually pretty enjoyable now that I’ve acknowledged the fact that they probably won’t remember anything we teach them.

After doing my weekly exercise (walking to and from the primary school), I had Chinese class, during which our teacher decided to delve into a bit of Chinese history. Chinese culture and history really interests me, so I was “excited” (I have to put it in quotation marks so I don’t seem to keen and ruin my street cred) to learn more. However, we learnt about some Chinese history that had some British interference. I think you can see where this is going. After having some anti-British Empire feelings stirred up inside of me during English, it was a bad idea to learn about how we basically ruined China so we could trade with them and started the opium wars. Actually, I don’t think it was a bad idea, as it’s good to finally learn some of the bad things that this country has done in the past after a GCSE history course that spoke of Britain as if it could do no wrong.

This was the end of my school day. All I did when I got home was put off doing work by writing this blog. I will use any excuse to put off doing work. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also snorted some cocaine in my free period after Chinese. I’m kidding, sixth form life is not turning out to be full of sex, drugs and rock and roll as my uncle said it would be. Perhaps it’s because I’m too lazy to go out and seek sex, drugs and rock and roll or because it’s too hard to find or too expensive these days (concerts are too expensive).

The moral of the story is that Britain has always been bad and that Brexit was a mistake. I’d like to thank the older generations for royally screwing us over. I think I’m still in the anger stage of grief. No, I am not over it.

*Meditations of a Millennial is written by a rotating group of sixth form students.

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