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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Childhood reminiscence + change in perspective

I have written posts about my childhood reminiscences and my changes in perspective between childhood and adulthood, and since these two topics are closely related, I feel the need to write a joint post comprising both here. As mentioned in my last blog, I studied at Sherborne School and since graduating, I went back a few times to visit and catch up with some of my old friends. Adolescence is truly a remarkable phase of one’s life, since the transformation that can happen in a child can be (and often is) breathtaking. We start at the age of thirteen and complete our secondary education at eighteen, between which the formative experience can (and does) leave a lasting influence on one’s life. The boarding house is a peculiar characteristic of the British school system, since we did not just study at school but we also lived at school (not to be confused with the university collegiate system, however, which is very different- another time for this). We all lived together in separate residences throughout our time at school and there would often be some interesting (even if violent and unpleasant) domestic episodes. I got quite sentimental with my old boarding house (Wallace) when I left, since there had been some (un)happy experiences there for me which I still remember vividly. I remember my very first day at Sherborne when we were greeted by our Housemaster, House Matron, House Assistants, House Prefects etc. There was this prefect at my house whom I remember pretty well. I remember meeting him for the first time on the very first day where he welcomed me and my family, and I also remember saying goodbye to him on the last day of my first year and bidding him farewell on his graduation. I liked him, as he was generally a very nice guy and was popular among the House. I haven’t kept in touch with him since and I wonder how he is. I then proceeded with the rest of my school education and in my last year I was also made House Prefect. I did my praefectural duties and I similarly had to welcome all the newcomers on their first day, which was where I met all the little first-year’s. Things went relatively smoothly for me in my last year and I managed to secure entry to my first choice university (Oxford), which consisted of another four very dramatic years (though of a very different kind to my adolescence). After I finished Finals at Oxford, I was on a very loose end so I decided to revisit my old school for one last time. There weren’t many people left whom I knew, only the then U6ths (last year) who were in the first year when I was in my last. They all looked so different from how I had remembered them, since I had remembered them as little kids (some brats) when all of them were mature (or perhaps not?) eighteen year-old’s by then. The physical transformation was incredible, and I was particularly impressed by this kid whom I overlapped with several times in the House. For some reason, he reminded me of the House Prefect I mentioned above- similar physique, height, and appearance in general. This is hardly surprising since they were both at the same age and were about to graduate from school, and physical resemblances between unrelated people are common. However, I found it funny how a person whom I remembered as a little boy could bear so much resemblance to a person whom I remembered as a big brother. The resemblance was striking enough, but the shift in perspective for me was remarkable. Adolescence really is a funny time, since it marks the stage where you change from being a child to an adult, and during this dramatic phase of one’s life, certain experiences can either make or break you, but in any case they form and define you. I consider myself lucky to have had a relatively good and healthy upbringing, which has served me well in life thus far. I can only emphasise just how important it is that kids learn as much as possible at school and make the right decisions under the guidance of their seniors. Choose wisely, kids.

PS: for those of you who are wondering who these two people are, please get in touch and I shall reveal their identity. 😉

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