I Have Never Used A Margin In My Adult Life

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I try my very best to forget most of what happened in high school. Every now and then, though, I’ll get a war-like flashback of something I hoped I’d buried forever. Today I’m thinking about why the fuck we ever had to learn how to make the perfect margin. 

Margins were the obsession of teachers everywhere. I remember one of my teachers was so relentless in her belief that margins could create world peace that she’d regularly refuse to read my notes if I didn’t set my page out with one. Despite Mrs [redacted]’s best attempts, I can safely say I have never used nor thought about a margin since leaving high school…  until I saw this TikTok.

This might actually be the perfect representation of the sheer horror and terror I had to go through all because of a silly little red line. This TikTok also reaffirmed yet again that no experience I’ve ever had in life has been unique a lot of us had to suffer through the Great Margin Wars of high school. 

Why the red pen? Why 2cm? Why was it such a big deal if we had a margin or not? Why was I so incapable of drawing a straight line? I have so many questions.

Most importantly, what was the point? I still got all the information down on the page regardless of whether or not I had drawn a perfect red line that sliced down the left-side of the page. Some teachers even took the margin to new extremes by making us take smaller notes, thoughts, and context within the margin. It was hell. 

There are so many other useful things I could have been taught at school instead of how to set up a piece of paper to write three random dots points on a movie I barely paid attention to. Say, how to do my taxes so I don’t get hit with an ungodly tax bill; how to deal with whatever “global boiling” is; and what the hell the RBA does. Instead, I was forced to learn about trigonometry and the periodic table, and spent an indecent amount of time trying to master using a compass.

And don’t even get me started on pen licences.

Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on X

Image credit: Junkee / Ky Stewart