Welcome to the Ministry of Love

Chaos in Print

NOTE: Because of a little thing I wrote last semester, I should probably take an extra step and remind you that the views expressed by me do not reflect the views of NR92. Last thing I want to do is make the cute girl in class that I have crush on angry at me again. That being said….

My favourite book is 1984, so that right there should tell you a lot about me. If you’ve never read it, it follows the adventures of Winston Smith as he lives under the thumb of an oppressive regime. One of the key locales in the book is the Ministry of Love. This is the government agency that catches dissidents, tortures them to within an inch of their lives, and just generally beats them into submission. The whole goal of this is to make a person a happy, uncreative, unthinking worker drone in society. They strive to make everyone look the same, act the same, and think the same.

Sounds kinda like school, doesn’t it?

I’m what you might call a senior student. I’ve had a taste of the real world, and I tell you, it sucks out there. No matter where you go in life, or no matter what you do, you’ll always find yourself working for some oppressive corporation. They’ve got their own way of thinking and you had better adhere to it. Corporations tend to frown on things like creative thought and independence. And, if you start straying from the corporate ideals, there are two options to the corporation. They can fire you and make you some other corporation’s problem, or they can “re-educate” you. Only a corporation calls it a “workshop.” As was written in another of my favourite books, we fight so hard for democracy, yet we give it up from 9 to 5 every day.

So you can understand why I get the willies when my instructors tell me that they’re training me to survive in the industry. I occasionally get this feeling that they’re simply forging me to be another standardized part in the corporate machine. Not just NAIT, but every school is about that. They prepare us for the “real world.” And in doing so, they teach us how to do specific tasks. They teach us which part we are to become in the machine. You are now an accountant! You are now a heavy mechanic! “We try to make it as close to the real world as possible,” my instructors often tell me.

But ya know what? This isn’t the real world. This is a reasonable facsimile. And as such, you can get away with things here that you’ll never be able to in the real world. Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t so much the Ministry of Love as it is your first, last, and only real burst of independence. Up to this point, you’ve been living with your parents, obeying their rules and their laws. After this point, you will be some corporation’s bitch until the day you die. And also bear in mind that most corporations won’t care about your grades. All they’ll care about is that you have that certificate, specifying what part you are in the machine.

So, enjoy your freedom people. This is the only time in your life that you’ll have it. If you want to go outside and enjoy the sunshine while you can, do it. If you want to skip down to the Second Cup and grab a cup of coffee, hopefully with the cute girl in your class that you have a crush on, do it. Winston Smith never had that freedom. This isn’t the Ministry of Love. It’s waiting for you after this. For now, enjoy what you can, with who you can. That’s college, baby.

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