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the honor code isn't your way out

swati's picture

i'm writing this immediately after a conversation with my friends about that ~infamous~ post in the ride share facebook group. i'm thinking about how we have an honor code with basic tenents of healthy competition, trust, mutual respect, individual potential, etc etc. i'm also thinking about how easily that gets misconstrued - today a white girl said, "honor code. be respectful." is response to a Black girl who was confronting her racism. it blows my mind how people will steal your food from the tea pantry but turn right around and say you gotta confront a trump supported/sympathizer respectfully. how!!!


i went to school in a suburb in chicago until 2nd grade, after which i studied 3rd-12th in india. to be honest i can count on one hand the memories i have pre-india in the american school system, so i'm not going to talk about it because i don't think it shaped who i am today in any way. the first school i was to was an "international" school by name, but in reality it didn't have the funding to be international so it was just called that. meanwhile, most grades sat on the ground with mats and knee high desks; science claseses were the least prepared and i couldn't name more than two common lab apparatuses when i went to my next school; we had separate "english" and "literature" classes but we really just learned a lot (a lot) of grammar in both classes and pretended to study shakespeare (we read one act of julius ceasar). from 3rd-5th standard, we had English, Hindi (national language), and Kanada (regional language) classes, but after fifth we could choose between the latter two and french. of course as a product of a colonialist history we couldn't stray away from our roots! more than 90% of my class chose french and i gave up the opportunity to be able to read and write languages my parents grew up with.

the end of 10th standard came the second hardest nation wide exam. every student in india takes Board Exams after 10th and 12th standards, the results of which travel with you to every school/job application in India. it's casual for aunties at weddings to ask what you got in your Boards; that's how important and pressurized schools in India are. the first day you step into a class is the first day you'll hear "okay so this is what you need to know for the exam". peak transmission learning! there's a popular Bollywood movie that explores the relationship between higher educational institutions with rates of suicide and the numbers are astoundingly high. i spent 11th and 12th standard in a "real" international school this time and spent my years preparing to leave india's educational system and never look back. i knew i couldn't keep up with 1. the pressure educators put on students to get that 100% 2. the lack of liberal arts school prioritization. it meant leaving my home, most of my friends, and my family, but it meant a better education! right? i think i was half-right. i talk to my international friends (who sometimes take me in as one of them but mostly not) and sometimes we wonder why we left home to come here. if i mean it when i say that i want to spend most of my working life at home, how do i take this knowledge back there? without acting like those brown people that come from america to teach indians the american way? who knows!


Sunshine's picture

the questions of life. will we ever have answers? i don't know