2018 May 14
Ahh, all-girls schools in Sri Lanka.
If you ever attended one of these at some point during your life, these are the memories you’ll carry for the rest of time. With all its ups and downs, school, especially convent schools, taught many of us the lessons that guide in us what we do, despite our doubts about the veracity of certain claims (*cough virginity, female “modesty”, the demonization of sexuality etc.).
Whatever your thoughts/values may be on these subjects, however, read through our list below and see if you can relate, or recall some fond and unforgettable memories!
1. Anticipating that *one* health lesson
The closest we could get to what could be considered sex ed was that one health lesson in Grade 10/11; easily the most widely anticipated. Not because we hadn’t read it already (because you can bet that it was the first (and probably only) health lesson we’d read at the beginning of the year), but because we wanted to see just how well our subject teacher would handle it.
Cut to the day we were supposed to go through its illuminating and explicit content, cue barely suppressed giggles and Cheshire smiles. Unfortunately, teachers rarely (and disappointingly) ever really broke it down with the detail it deserved. Knowing fully well that we were all just little trolls, they advised us to read it at home and “come to them if we had any questions”. Biggest let-down in the schooling calendar, smh.
2. Big match fever
Given that cricket is nothing short of a mania in Sri Lanka, it come as no surprise that that it is almost equally popular at the schooling level. Despite all the pomp and fanfare, the “big match” hysteria, is generally a nightmarish time in the school calendar for educational authorities, especially if you attend an all-girls institution.
A few schools would always attempt to force their way into the well-guarded walls of our schools, especially at standard convent institutions where resistance could not get any fiercer. Over the years, we would always be able to recognise, on instinct, the boisterous chants that would unfailingly disrupt class time (woo). This was a somewhat welcomed distraction, especially since it meant we could stop pretending we were paying attention and watch the mayhem unfold. Flabbergasted teachers would vainly attempt to impose order and would sometimes even involve cane brandishing nuns, vainly attempting to chase the boys away! Ah, good times.
3. Valentine’s Day
There was never a time when more effort was put into scouring through the content of our school bags than on this commercialised holiday. A range of interesting and, in retrospect, tacky items and solemn declarations of love were confiscated much to the dismay of many classmates. This was understandably quite a damper, but a pretty much integral experience of school life. If you made it through Valentine’s Day undetected, kudos, you were one of the lucky few!
4. Any occasion we could wear “coloured” to school
While these kind of events were few and far between, anytime we could wear coloured and come to school was an occasion both entertaining and nerve-wracking. Entertaining, on the one hand, because we could (literally) let our hair down and see all our friends and peers in their finest getups. Nerve-wracking, on the other, due to the pressure to find the perfect outfit, one that was both fashion forward, without attracting the critical eye of teachers or prefects.
5. Getting caught with a short uniform
If you were ever a rule-abiding, goody two-shoes, there was nothing more mortifying than getting snagged for a short uniform. While some schools may have a bit of a lax approach to this, certain schools insist that you take off the stitching of your hem to allow your uniform to conform to the standard. Ahh, there are only a few experiences more mortifying than being asked to remove your hem immediately, in front of your entire class.
Well done if you made it through you entire schooling era without needing to resort to such measures! (An almost guaranteed sign you were one of the teacher’s pets).
6. Having periods on a P.E. Day
Not only is this just downright uncomfortable and unpleasant (owing in large part to cramps and pesky PMS), but teachers would also not condone such “excuses”. This meant that on many occasions, we had to run around in the blazing sun, pretending our uterus WASN’T about to fall off. For those teachers that had mercy, bless you. For students that had male PE teachers, bless you too.
Add to this the constant fear of leaking on your bright, white, uniform. *shudders*
Any other experiences we’ve missed on our list? Let us know in the comments below!