Ever since childhood, I’ve always followed the standards of the education system. We’re exposed to the education system at such a young age, that when we grow up, we become used to it. As a child, the education system always viewed me as the perfect student. The one who would sit in class, be quiet, do her work, and be respectful. I blossomed into the student that the education system had dreamed of. Am I proud of that? Now that I’m older, I’m not so sure.
Kindergarten, that’s where everything started with my education. I remember sitting in the gym, the room was filled with anxiousness. Children screaming for their parents not to leave them, others just staring at those who would scream and cry. As a child, I always observed my surroundings. I remember sitting on the gym floor, nervous yet excited, surrounded with kids who I would then spend the rest of my educational life with. I watched as kids would hold onto their parents’ legs for dear life. It made me feel different when I had just walked in and said bye to my mom like nothing special was happening. I asked myself, “Am I supposed to be screaming, like all the other kids?” Throughout the school year, we learned how to formulate sentences and write in cursive. The teachers separated us into two groups, the red group and the blue group, which we would be placed in based on how fast our learning capabilities worked. They placed me in the blue group, where fast learners stayed as long as they finished their work on time.
From the big kids of elementary school, to the fresh little guppies of middle school. No single filed lines, no homeroom class, we had lockers now, and a bit more freedom. My school district was extremely small. Everyone knew everyone. No one ever felt different from each other because all of us grew up together ever since school started. Everyone had the same thought process. Middle school was a breeze academically, except for the hormonal changes and cringey phases (it would then be known as one of the worst years of our entire lives). Childhood friends were still friends, everyone already knew who would be in their classes based on what color groups they were in since in Elementary school.
Freshman year, I moved from my old school district to a more diverse and bigger school (to which I now go to). The fresh meat of a bigger school, and all alone with no childhood friends to surround me on my way into a memorable time in my life. Bigger classrooms, more lockers, longer walking distances from class to class, and most importantly more classmates. My childhood friends told me how the new school I moved to had people who acted “ghetto” and “violent”. I kept to myself, respected others, went to school just to finish classwork, and get out of there once the dismissal bell rang. I disliked (and still do) when teachers would compare me with other students in my new school and put me on some sort of pedestal. I believe that my friends and I are the same kind of people. I never liked having the attention faced to me just because I got “good” grades and never disrupted class. Sure, it sounds like a first world problem, but I truly didn’t like the way that the system would favor me over my friends just because of the way I stayed under the radar. The only thing that made me different was the fact that I wouldn’t rebel against the school policies and experience life. In a way, the education system held me back from experiencing life in a first person point of view. I always read about situations, I never went out and did them.
I sit here in my AP Language and Composition class, filled with brilliant and inspiring classmates, thinking of what to write about that includes my own journey in this education system. So far, in the 11 years that I have attended school, the education system has created two stereotypes, the “smart” people and the “not so smart” people. Or in a nicer tone, the red group and the blue group! How is a child supposed to feel, when they’re separated from the people they enjoy talking to only because a system thinks that they have different learning capabilities? I’ll tell you how I felt, labelled. I’m sure my other friends felt the same way as well. We’re judged solely by the way we’re able to grasp information and apply it to worksheets/tests. I believe that everyone can gain knowledge, we all just have different learning mechanisms. Throughout my years in school, I haven’t had any personal struggles with the education system, such as Malcolm X or Maxine Hong Kingston. This shows that the system might’ve worked for me, but in most cases it does not for others. As I grew up, I started realizing just how many of my friends disliked school and the way we are taught. Most of these problems are along the lines of only being taught in order to pass a test, which I would have to agree with. Teachers teach students only to pass a standardized test, or to pass the class in order to graduate. What ever happened to the passion behind teaching and passing on information from one generation to another?
I’ve always enjoyed learning, whether it be about the most unnecessary information or it actually be useful. My drive of wanting to learn about this significant world we live in (that’s filled with extraordinary measures of history, science, literature, and art), has made me become naive to the standards that the education system has handed out to me. I don’t even notice how uncreative I am because of how long I’ve followed the standards of this education system. For example, instead of creating this narrative in a different format, I decided to create a somewhat formal paper because that’s what I’ve learned all along. I so dearly wish that I could create a beautiful form of art with my own originality, but I can’t because my creativity was destroyed by standards. I’m the perfect student for all the wrong reasons in my own mind; My brain has molded into the education system. The education system showed me my love to learn. I’ve always loved school because of the knowledge I’m able to gain about the world. My struggles of being labelled as a “perfect student” is nothing to those who have struggled in real situations this education system has caused them.
My story isn’t as inspiring as others, but understand one thing, knowledge unlocks a whole new world that you’ve never seen before. Find that drive in you that makes you want to discover what the world holds. In the end, you’re in control of what you want to learn about. Don’t let others force a drive into you, find that drive yourself. My story exists to help you understand that although I followed every single step that the education system offered me, I’m still not the perfect student in my own eyes. I don’t have any significant remarks of me being creative and original in my own way. Don’t think that the education system is some sort of holy grail, that only those who can succeed in it, are able to be successful in life. I’ve followed every standard that the education system has offered to me, yet it all means nothing. Just remember, with knowledge, you can see a whole new perspective on life; But don’t think that you’re only able to gain it in a school. Because of school, I’ve personally felt that I’ve missed out on chances to experience life. Fill your life with experiences, learn from them, and gain knowledge.