Creative Media

LIFE SHORTS DESIGNS

Life Shorts Designs 
By Lenaugne
Based on true events

BLACK
FRAME OPENS

“The First Time You Meet, People Tell You Who They Are”

EXT – SCHOOL CAR PARKING LOT – DAY

Set The Scene: This is sixth form. My first day in a new school. I am going back and forth from the classroom to the main office because I don’t know what else to do. I have used up small talk on everybody I’ve met and I want to wait until tomorrow for them to pry me open some more.

Action: I am coming back from the office and a guy my height stops me to ask if I am new. The tight shirt, the bow legs, the asshole smile. Jesus. So it begins. I am honest and crass, let me see if  that loosens things up. It does. He starts to open up to me: he has daddy issues, is not sure about his future. I am touched, but not really.

WE ARE TALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WALKWAY. THE BELL RINGS, SCHOOL IS DISMISSED. PEOPLE PASS US, EYEING ME

I know this looks really bad. The gyallis and the new girl. He seems more comfortable with me when he offers to walk me to my stand. I realize that this is the time to listen. Yes. Just shut up and listen. He starts to babble, trying to impress, to get me to laugh, matching my tone.

RAIN STARTS TO DRIZZLE

I pull out my umbrella, the ni**a doesn’t even offer to hold it for me… kool.

SILENCE FOR A WHILE. WE JUST HEAR FOOTSTEPS IN THE RAIN

Then he tells me, I tell you no lies, in the exact words: “I am not a good person,” (I think, that is a really nice line. Very Mr. Rochester/Mr. Grey) five minutes before asking me for my digits.

Plot Twist: I come the school the next day only to find out dude is a model student. Loved by all. Teachers adore him. His best friend is a tomboy. I kinda feel like a bad person. Yet, something tells me that people in that school see what they want to see. And that brings me to my next lesson…

CONTINUE:

“Respect/Like”

EXT – UWI –  AFTERNOON

Act 2, Set The Scene: I am a strange character my first year in university. I end up with most of my friends being males, they are similar to me, our personalities match, they make me laugh and I feel like I have brothers. In March comes this guy who is everything that I despise: loud, rude, arrogant and snobbish but he is honest about all of it. We never became friends but he taught me the best lesson of the three.

Action: My friend and the asshole sit down beside each other. I am to the left, on the end. After a while I become aware of the polar opposite personalities. I observe and remain polite:

Friend (to the asshole):

So, what do you plan to do with your leadership position next year?

Asshole:

Whole heap a tings

Me:

What leadership position?

FREEZE FRAME
IMAGE: THE VOTING PROCESS. THE TICKS IN THE BOX BESIDE HIS NAME, PEOPLE CHOOSING THE ASSHOLE KNOW-IT-ALL. OUTSIDE THE VOTING BOOTHS PEOPLE SAYING, “Y’MAN, IS A GOOD YUTE.”
CUT TO:
INT – BEDROOM – YEAR’S END – MIDNIGHT

Act 2, Scene 2: I am packing up suitcases contemplating the friendships that I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned in a year.  Suddenly, I realize  that the asshole has to be on the list because he taught me that honesty is the greatest form of self empowerment. People end up having nothing to use against you, they can’t hate you with reason, they can’t manipulate your faults, because you have no secrets, and you become untouchable in that way. Thus: #RespectOverLike.

BLACK OUT
TITLE RISES

“Use Love and Kindness to cut through Fear (and Anger). They are also the only things that can maintain true Beauty”

INT – FLASHBACK – FIRST DAY OF LABS – ESTABLISHING – DAY
STUDENTS SHUFFLE IN. THE PLACE IS STERILE, QUIET. PEOPLE HALF LISTEN TO THE FIRST LESSON. MOST ARE LOOKING AROUND, REGISTERING FACES. THE WHITE LAB COATS ARE CELESTIAL

Set The Scene. Voice Over: This one is dedicated to one of the the most amazing persons– outside of my family– that I have ever met in my lifetime. I do not say this lightly. The first time I saw her, the thing that got me was that she was so still and self-possessed. There was this quiet confidence that I have come to admire in the few people I see it in. She solidified this, as well as the first two lessons.

INT – LABORATORY – DAY

Action:  My first day of labs is intimidating. I feel as if I don’t know anything. I fumble, drop sh!t; I nearly break a lightbulb with a moving stool that I hoist above my head. The professor looks annoyed. I want to sink into the floor and die. A few days later, we do something new and I ace it, everyone watches me, nobody says sh!t. She is the only one to hail me up. Respect…

Voice Over: A lot of times people are full of it. Flattery and smiles are a part of a long con, but this girl was consistent.  That is what got me. She treated everybody the same, same indifference, same personality, same attitude, same love, same kindness. And, because of that she shone. Like a diamond. 

SNAP TO BLACK
END

Footnotes: a young woman gets a business degree from UTech in 2010 and after graduating she immediately gets a job in a bank. She knows that she is lucky. She is there for four years. She complains that living in Kingston is expensive and the company it seems, is not keen on giving promotions; she is living from hand to mouth. Luckily, she does not have student loans so she manages to save for a plane ticket to the US to stay with family. In a little over a year, after she gets a small job, she sends down papers for her father to sign. She is getting married to ‘keep her stay.’ So, the other day I was reading a WordPress post from, ShaffieCTV about Millenial struggles and on the same day the documents come, and everything just hit me hard: weh degree a goh in deez times? The filter getting narrower and it is just adapt or die. And I think it hit me especially hard because she is my blood, my sister… Jah know. It real, man. It real.

[cover art by: Francoise Nielly]

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Education

School Does Not Prepare You for the World of Work

I have attended two high schools in my lifetime. One for lower school and the other for the completion of upper school. The two schools were very different in their representation of the quintessential successful student and now as a university student–employee (*beats chest proudly*) I see that only one of those perspectives makes for the ideal worker.

Common Sense

Co-curricular activities aside, high school places too much emphasis on one thing. The 5 years spent preparing for CSEC for example, does not provide room for experimentation. The aim is to pass and that’s about it. Branching from the grail of curriculum offers little forgiveness and it’s for this reason that free thinking is limited. Except for Literature– 6th form Literatures in English that is, English B is already so dissected it’s basically a recital– which allows one to spring any interpretation as long it can be proven, few subjects showcase skills like self-control, resilience and self-motivation. These qualities are far better predictors of success in the work world than high grades.  

Nowadays we see that #CommonSenseIsNotSoCommon (this is suspiciously obvious in college) for this reason. Being overtly intellectual does not equate intelligence, I had to learn that the hard way.

Emotional Intelligence

At my second high school I realized that the requirements for the teacher’s pet (and generally everyone’s favourite) fell from the mild mannered, well behaved student who could beam with pride due to the the A’s that webbed student and teacher together in a quiet bubble to the outspoken, crass, fiery student who would put teacher on blast if he/she happened to pose a challenge to a freshly taught lesson that teacher could not answer. Teacher and student then became friends in a web held together by mutual and open respect. In my experience, the latter student is still a rare commodity.

I suppose this is why I forced myself into presentations early, they made me feel as if I was actively growing, even though I hated them. At my first school we had Dionne Jackson-Miller like discussions over a topic and we had debates that would feed into lunch time because they were so heated but these were limited to The Arts and they were never consistent, they were never ingrained in the curriculum. Subjects like Math never had presentations like these which I find to be problematic. That type of teamwork fosters new interest in boring subjects, it builds bonds that emphasize soft-skills. These are things noone tells you you need until you’re working (the building bonds part, not teamwork).

Right now my boss–coworker, coworker–coworker people skills are mad poor. There are people with kids, people much older than me, people who’ve worked before, people who are starting over who I work with… and I never knew I had so much hang ups on the requirements needed for me to connect.

My first high school taught me to see differences not similarities: the borders the separate professor from student, driver form passenger, I was inadvertently taught to know my place… if you’re not a Millennial, I’m sorry, what are we talking about again?

My second high school gave me more school trips, more guided volunteer work, a 50/50 approach to theory and practice in all subjects. I was introduced to things that helped to bridge the gap.

Maybe doing more of the latter could develop emotional intelligence. This is the part of us that develops solely as human first before anything else; something that the, “generation that wants to be emotionless so bad” in my humble experience, desperately needs to have.

The real world demands self management skills and relationship building abilities that have foundations in emotions like empathy. I shouldn’t have had to go to two separate (traditional) high schools to understand what one school should have prepared me for.

It’s 2017, let’s get realistic about ‘fixing up’ education in Jamaica now, man. #WheBookKnowledgeAloneAgo? — Blessings.

Footnotes: So, The University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI) is in the news again for student–money issues (surprise, surprise). First there was news that the university was going to demolish 1 hall of residence, Irvine Hall (apparently the first of many) to build new towers for cash-grabs then the news was that this part-demolition of Irvine Hall will be a single incident for the purpose of remodeling. There was a frenzy where students had to (and still have to) find housing at the only available and the most expensive, 138 Student Living at a cost more than double their annual residence fees. Pure wickedness. UWI for some holds that single key to equality in Jamaica. (UTech has dug itself into a hole with debt and poor accreditation standards and NCU, I wouldn’t go there unless I had to.) A tertiary education provides a viable bridge between Jamaica’s wealth gap, UWI knows this but I naively thought that they understood that responsibility, I thought that UWI was more than just a school. Guess not. So now imma start preparing to be one those South Africans who are crying over their skyrocketing university fees. It’s nice when true colours are finally shown, thanks UWI. I know what your real values are now.

[cover art by: Leon Zernitsky]

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