My time at Sherborne School came to a close in July after an incredibly emotional leavers’ ball and I thought I’d write a little postscript about my five years there, what I’ve learned about people, communities, teachers, friends and bullies.
- In new and difficult environments, boys do much to clamber to the top:
My first two years at Sherborne was horrible. I, unfortunately, was the kid everyone made fun of in my house and as my spoke word poem “Who am I?” explores, I was in a bad place for the first two years of school. There is a mentality among young teenagers that in order to seem cool one must be rude to others and make fun of them for the desperate approval of their social group. This is something I suffered for a couple of years before finding my own feet and realising that I didn’t need to pander to such people. The bullying I endured as affected the way I socially interact and I don’t think I am as confident in social situations as I was before going to Sherborne.
- Age matures the character:
My last two years at Sherborne were great. The people I had come to hate and fear being around mostly turned out to be really decent blokes. Once the social pressures of popularity wane and everyone is more accepting of people outside tight-nit friend groups, social interactions became fun and enjoyable. One of the people I consider a close friend was a bully in third form but we eventually saw past those years and became good friends, in fact in the words I wrote about him,
Of all the hurt and trouble that we’ve caused
And all the jokes and laughter that we’ve shared
That hug and cry that we shared at the ball
Is what will stay in my mind most of all.
Make no mistake, the lesson I learnt with him is more valuable than the hundreds of lessons and pieces of homework I was set in my five years.
- The teaching is amazing:
I came to know and respect many teachers as Sherborne progressed but especially in the later years. It is understandable that 13-year-olds are not too keen on learning and, as a result, will mess around in class and not put the greatest amount of effort into hall. However, as I progressed and work became more interesting and important I really came to appreciate the wisdom of the teachers, including those who don’t teach your subject. Tom Payne and Rebecca de Pelet both advanced my poetic interests even though they didn’t teach me all the way through. Kenny Primrose and Simon Rowntree, both Philosophy teachers made great impacts on them and I genuinely thought of them as friends. Martin Brooke even gave me help at uni when I needed some pointers on the Odyssey and his divine wisdom provided much help for me.
- Friendships are hard:
I’ve made, lost and just about managed to claw back a few friendships at Sherborne and I have learnt not to listen to others about the friends I have. In third form I made the grave mistake of throwing away a friend because I was pressured to by bullies and I will never forgive myself for the confused look on his face as I blanked him. Luckily in sixth form we became friends again and I’m proud to call him a close friend to this day. I’ve had friends who I’ve wanted to murder at times and who have been rude and made me feel like shit but I worked through those moments and the friendships I have at the moment, I wouldn’t lose for the world.
Overall I count my Sherborne years some of the best in my life so far and I would seize any chance to go back and visit and see old teachers, buildings and friends in lower years. It hasn’t been easy but I strongly believe that the struggles I endured have shaped me into who I am today, for better or worse.