School is Ruining our Education

November 27, 2011
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It’s the second to last day of this year’s Thanksgiving break, and I should be working on an APEURO DBQ and FRQ, APUSH study guide questions, physics work, studying for tests in the three classes, finalizing my art project, looking at scholarships, contacting organizations for my community service project, writing a series of short essays for the project, trying to decipher APCALCBC, practicing for memory team, practicing dance, playing piano, studying for an Envirothon competition, and cooking my family dinner while I finalize my college list.

But my discomfort at all of this has been slowly increasing, constructing a wall of doubt that fills my vision even as I stare at this page. I can’t seem to end the inevitable—I’m contributing greatly with my patriotism to the ProcrastiNation that we all stumble into by taking the time to write this, but there has been a pressing need to vent all that I feel needs to be said.

While walking through the halls with a classmate, he turned to me and said, “School is keeping me from getting my education.” Naturally, I agreed out of the same lemming-esque response that we all make to one another after anything at all has been said, but the more that I pondered the statement, the more true I seemed to find it, prompting a half-formed rant by the time that we finished making our way to the next class.

We are all told to balance out our school and our extracurricular activities in order to be better represented to colleges in our Junior and Senior years of high school. So for someone like me, who is enrolled in four AP classes, “balancing” my life means that I lead several clubs, take seven hours of dance a week, work on the weekends, play piano, and have aspirations to write novels that I will stop deleting out of my computer. But with the homework from my classes, I lose time to practice piano and write, and with work I lose a good part of my weekends, which I used to use to catch up on work that I’d missed during the week. I need to have a good literary and musical knowledge in order to pursue both in college, however both evade me as I am awake until midnight or one in the morning doing my homework, at which time I’m no longer allowed to practice piano, and then I wake up at six in the morning, also at which time I’m not allowed to practice. Reading can be done weekend nights, when I can sleep in until eight or nine in the morning, and piano can be done during my lunch period, if there is a free space.

I’ve been unable to quell a growing fear that regardless of the grief that getting my first ever B in Calculus, despite skipping lunches three times a week to practice piano on a tinny keyboard in a back room, in spite of tranquilizing hundreds of ideas for novels in my mind each day, my endeavors will mean nothing—absolutely nothing. Not to the future employers who don’t care if I really did try to study a little more, not to the mysterious back-lit group of college inspectors that I envision when I think of applying to universities, not to my friends who insist on using me to help them study for the single honors course that they happen to be taking when they won’t end up studying at all in any case.

What is this vicious cycle that we’re even involved in? Is it with colleges, with schools, or just with ourselves? My mind circumvolutes around the answer that certainly must exist somewhere, but it’s so ethereal that I can’t quite pinpoint it. I keep clawing my way into a “properly balanced” education, but as each year passes I begin resenting the school system ever more—which is depressing because I really do enjoy learning. But I have no way to convince myself of why any of my work is worth it. After all, each day I watch my classmates take entire tests together, all with the teachers pretending that they haven’t seen anything so that no one gets in trouble. Is this all that we really care about? If we have a nation of cheaters, doesn’t that say something about the amount of value that we stock in our traditional education? And as for our “other” education…well. Who needs useful life skills such as understanding functional recreational activities or the ability to excel in something like organizing a group of people to support a charity?

It does indeed seem that school is keeping me—and others—from obtaining an education. Not even halfway through the school year, and I’m already thinking about all of the things that I need to have accomplished by summer break. Sometime in the next month or so I need to find a second job so that I can earn a little extra money, maybe enough to pay for room and board for college so my parents don’t have to worry about that little part. After all, there’s a good chance that someone else will have a higher GPA and a better balanced life and will get the scholarship that I’ve been hoping for so that I can freely choose where I go off to.

I suppose that this haphazard, frenzied attempt to organize my thoughts will hold no stock in what people use to base their opinions. Which is fine, because it’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to write down my thoughts in a relatively original fashion and just for that, I’m glad that I actually took some time to further my real education today. Even if it cost me a few points on my next APEURO exam.





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Realjay41This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 6 at 6:30 pm
I can totally Realate. Besides school, I have vaulting practices every Saturday, singing lessons every Thursday, a favorite television show to watch on tv plus two books to write. I want to go to college and get my degree in archulogy.
 
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