A very, very, very (Mum’ll say I need thesaurus.com) long time ago in Rome there was something called a Feudal System. Basically, the Feudal System determined the class of a person and was structured like a triangle.
There were four main classes of people in this Feudal triangle – the most important being the King (who most probably ended up being murdered by his people for being a tyrant). Second on the list is the Nobles and the third, the Knights. Below the triangle were Plebeians who were commoners and slaves.
Some of you are probably wondering what the heck this has to do with a blog about school. Well, guess what?
There’s also a Feudal System in school.
Some of you probably went to a great school had heaps of friends, the teachers loved you and… who am I kidding? Everyone mostly hated some part of school – the early mornings, the homework, the kids who pick on you, sitting in the rain waiting for a teacher that doesn’t show up on time in the morning and unnecessary amounts of assemblies that went on for longer than they should because the Principal decided to talk about his hobbies, his FitBit, and make everything sound like it’s a moral to the story.
I mean, school might be bearable if there weren’t social categories and this is where The Feudal System of School comes in.
Just like in Rome, each year group in school has this same triangle, and if someone were to walk by a year group they probably wouldn’t be able to tell that there even was one, but being in one of these triangles can suck.
At the top, you have “The King”
These kids are the ones that pick on others to make themselves feel better, and, unlike real Kings, they mostly hunt like a pack of wolves. Finding the weakest person and prying them away from their friends before attacking them and leaving them broken and feeling half dead. They’re like warring tyrants who use their plebeians as pawns in a game.
These people might seem high on the scale of royalty, but really there’s no difference between them and the serfs except they can tend to do extremely stupid things like underage drinking or bragging about having three boyfriends at the same time.
Second on the chain is the “The Nobles”
These kids follow very closely to the King all the time, they do whatever they’re told by the King but usually go behind the King’s back for their own gain.
The Nobles really have it worse than anyone else because they’re the slightly out-of-date meat in the sandwich.
They can never relax and just be normal folk, because they’re always climbing the ladder, and they end up doing extraordinarily stupid things to make the King love them.
Third is “The Knights”
Most of the Knights follow their own rules and stick together like a band of sisters. Most of the time the Kings and the Nobles would really prefer the Knights would go out to lunch, or not exist at all. Sometimes they’ll be tempted into joining in some partying, but mostly they never sway from what they believe is right, risk themselves for others, and fight for justice for themselves and the people around them.
The Knights stick out their necks for others in unfair situations without thinking about themselves and follow a code of honour that’s more important to them than popular opinion.
Outside of the triangle live The Plebeians
These people who form their own groups and can be easily swayed by the people above them. They don’t like to be told what to do or be made fun of but they’re scared to say anything or do anything about it. They mostly ask for help quietly from the Knights when things go wrong because trying to handle it themselves brings too much attention to them individually.
So, how can you navigate the Feudal System of your school without getting sent to the dungeons or assassinated?
Step 1- Ask yourself why
Why should it matter? School is a big part of our day and it goes on for years. We’ve never been out of school – where adults promise things’ll get easier with a definite watering down of these kinds of class systems. So, for now, we have the human, natural need to fit in with whoever is stronger. But let’s ask ourselves why?
- Are the people we feel we need to impress worth it?
- Is the system really immovable?
- Could we blow it all apart with some different thinking?
- If we started behaving like the rules weren’t set in stone – what would happen?
Don’t let the Kings know they got to you, don’t do what they tell you without thinking, and remember
There’s one person stronger and wiser than the King:
BE THE FREAKING QUEEN!
Step 2- Trust your friends
Smart people have good friends around them, the people who make them feel good and happy about themselves. Those people you can talk about things with and they don’t necessarily let you get away with everything – they may not even think the same as you about everything.
Good friends will always be there for you, if anything goes wrong or someone is mean to you, there standing there with a baseball bat screaming “who do I have to bury?” at the top of their lungs.
These people let you be yourself and not some fake Barbie doll.
They will tell you when you’re wrong, nurture who you are, and celebrate your differences.
Step 3- Find yourself some words of wisdom and engrave them on your own heart
You might not have words of wisdom to live by yet. Maybe find a Knight and ask for ideas, or, you can borrow some of mine:
Wise Words of Wisdom
- I am fabulous, no matter what
- I will keep working to achieve my goals
- Life will freaking continue and it doesn’t matter what some stuck-up bogan thinks of me! (OK, this one might be a little Ella-specific so feel free to swap it out to something more relevant to you.)
- I will traipse barefoot through mud and forest if I want to because it’s who I am
- I WILL BE THE QUEEN OF MY KINGDOM!
“Hold up a sec, just finishing this chapter…”
Ella writes stuff. Lots of stuff. Some of it makes it to How Dare She, much is hidden away. She is a beast on the netball court, the vintage typewriter, head in a book, and the Roller Derby circuit. She has a heart of gold and a core of steel and very good taste in friends. She is also possibly not a Muggle.
Why are we doing this thing? Because there’s enough noise in the world telling women what we ‘should’ be doing.
We should parent more consciously, but not be helicopter parents. We should take care of our bodies, but not be vain. We should make boys pay, but demand equal rights. We should dress appropriately, but also be confident in our skin, wear what we want, but not be provocative, oh and please feel comfortable in the world’s skimpiest school bathers but then wear your jeans to the formal because last year the boys looked up the girls’ skirts and so you’ll have to be the ones to modify your behaviour. Yeah. No.
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