How it feels to have never experienced institutional pride
I met my childhood best friend in the 5th grade. She was new in the city and had been transferred to our school halfway through the year. Initially, her days were spent crying with her head planted the desk during lunch break. Students, teachers, and staff members would all put in great effort to find out what the matter was but all attempts at consolation would inevitably fail as she broke down sobbing even harder at every inquiry.
It was not until months later when she had finally grown accustomed to the new place and had written an essay about her previous school that we were all finally able to understand what the issue had been.
The new school in the new city was far too unfamiliar for her and she could not help but miss everything she had to leave behind. Years later, this feeling of unfamiliarity somehow managed to remain. And despite being in the same school for a much longer amount of time, practically growing up within its walls, I, too, never quite felt at home.
I was aware that this feeling of belonging in the institution you were a part of was an actual thing. I knew it because I would often here children and other people boast about their schools. The cherished memories, joyous moments of personal victories in the sports team, and the mere pride in being able to represent where one studied were all things I expected would eventually be evoked in myself. But even with my entire childhood being spent away in the same place, there isn't any nostalgia or even a trace of pride evoked when looking back.
One reason why school life experiences are not very thrilling for a lot of students is fairly simple. There are many schools in Dhaka that lack a field and proper campus for its students. This usually translates to the students not being involved in any kind of sport and hence having no sports teams. Such students usually miss out on the opportunity to learn something important – unity. With nothing to excel at outside your studies or outside the classrooms, students are given very little to bond over and are completely ripped off the satisfaction of being able to root for their own people.
While I would constantly compare my school to others, switching to a different place was never something I diligently pursued. To my parents, the hassle was not worth it and I eventually accepted that it isn't very shocking that not everybody finds themselves beaming with pride at the thought of their school. I concluded this was normal since lot of things can and do go wrong within the school and many people may have had bad experiences with their peers. And sometimes, the lack of opportunities and facilities beats down student morale and enthusiasm.
The feeling of being uninspired loomed over my friend and I like a dark cloud for most of our childhood. While certainly not as upsetting as it has one been, we cannot help but still feel a faint pinch of envy every time someone gets teary-eyed about their school.
Irina likes keeping quiet. Reach out to her @[email protected]