Thoughts of my public school days have brought to mind personal experiences, lessons learned, and a fair amount of self-reflection. While I, personally, hated Public School, it taught me some important things, invaluable things that I use today. Right now, in fact. Lessons in quiet rebellion, discipline, and integrity. Public School taught me that thinking can’t be taught, except indirectly, and that most lessons learned are learned messily.

I wrote that I was a victim of the Public School System, and I don’t really believe that. I was a survivor, not a victim. I learned the skills necessary to survive school, and I did so with style and grace that allowed me to skate by and pass without putting forward more effort than was absolutely necessary. That’s what’s reflected in my report cards across the years: “Wonderful imagination. Your son is brilliant, but he won’t do his work.”

I didn’t excel because there was no point to it. Excelling meant more attention and more work, and when the system didn’t care about me to begin with, the last thing I wanted was more attention. When the work was mind-numbing, the last thing I wanted was more of it. I found a way to skate by without compromising myself along the way. It was painful, but I survived the system, and I’m rediscovering myself, whom I’d hidden away.