Remember those days and their typical hassles? They are hardly forgettable.
No easy ride for the Lebanese through their school years. Education in Lebanon is demanding and so is the system and the society.
You had to cope with a heavy curriculum, go through traumatic State-exams, deal with too high expectations, and try to make it to high-school graduation unscathed by the many rules; spoken or unspoken.
If you hadn’t gone to school in Lebanon, well, good for you! If you had, you know what we’re talking about here.
You certainly can hardly forget…
#1 Being reminded all the time that your education is costing sacrifices and a fortune
“Do you know how hard I work to pay for your education?” Your dad was certain to remind you every time he would catch you in front of the TV.
And if it wasn’t him, your mom would make sure to pitch in her part, “Baykoun a3m yedf3a fawko w tahto tay 3lamkoun!” The translation could be funny, but here it goes: “Your dad is paying above him and below him to educate you!”
And if somehow somewhat you wouldn’t hear it at home, your teachers would make sure that you do.
#2 Too high expectations to deal with
Doing good or very good was never enough. You had to bust your head to get “Excellent” in ALL academic subjects. Otherwise someone else – basically your parents and teachers – will bust it for you.
#3 You were pressured to compete with your cousins and neighbors, and probably the whole tribe
Ah, the spirit of competition between parents over their children… So what if cousin Mariam was “a genius” scoring A+ all the time, or the son of neighbor Sami was fathet zameno?
#4 You had to live up to the rivalries with other schools, whether you liked it or not
Again, that Lebanese spirit of competition, this one climbing to the next level and going regionally.
#5 Endless “Nuits Blanches”
You certainly haven’t forgotten this one. Your nights were more “white” than dark. Abnormal overnights of studies, that was your Lebanese normal schooling.
#6 Dress code was a quasi-sacred rule
You were literally hunted down by the school supervisor if your shirt wasn’t tucked in or if your skirt was too short because you had rolled it at the waist.
Ever got grounded for it? Some stubborn rebels did.
#7 Irritating classmates hassling you for your test sheet
There was always one of those in one of your classes every year. Not that you were buddy-buddy, or that they bothered to talk to you outside the classroom or invite you to their birthday.
Surely frustrating when you had spent a nuit blanche studying while they were probably watching TV.
#8 Being pursued with a jacket at leaving home
Our dearest caring, overprotective mothers… Whatever the weather of the day, they had to make sure to run after you with a jacket or an extra sweater…. and you to carry it along all day trying not to dehydrate from the heat.
#9 Getting your ears busted with politics during recess periods
As if your Lebanese family homeschooling you in politics wasn’t enough, you had to deal with your peers’ political opinions and debates during the recess.
By high-school graduation, you most likely became an expert in politics, not only locally but also regionally and internationally. And you probably decided to go for a major in politics in Uni, or… leave the country and its politics behind.
#10 Trying not to mix languages in one test
How many times did you stop during a test wondering if the term you were about to write you learned it in French or in English… or was it Arabic?
#11 Private tutor at home
Right. You had that also to fill the little time of break left to you between your daily homework and school projects.
#12 Your dream career wasn’t yours
If it wasn’t your father’s or your mother’s, it was probably your grandfather’s or your teacher’s.
“My daughter is gonna be a doctor.” Sure dad, which daughter?
#13 Devoir de vacances!
Like, seriously, it is called vacation… What’s the homework for?
#14 Brevet… Bacc…
The anguish of those days… always accompanied by nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and nightmares…
#15 You dreamt to run off to university way before reaching high-school
Somehow, you thought it will be easier once in Uni and you could just be allowed to act like an adult. Somehow, no one told you that your university education in Lebanon will be even more demanding. (Well, at least you don’t need to tuck in your shirt.)