Why Am I In School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Why am I in school? Why am I planning on payingthousands of dollars to continue going to school? Many of the answers Ionce had are full of holes. The obvious one is to learn, right? Yetthere is nothing I have learned in school that I could not have learnedon my own. Any useful skills I possess were learned through lifeexperience. Are there classes in school about what to do when your bestgirlfriend falls in love with you? Or how to talk someone out ofsuicide? Or how to deal with rape? Or how to ask questions, the rightquestions, to learn and to help others learn? No, there are not.

As a cancer survivor, and now with my mom going through the samething, school has not only not helped but it has hindered my ability todeal with these things constructively. And I'm angry. I'm angry thatwhen I wanted to die, I had to deal with a school system that didn'tcare. I still had to get my busywork in on time; I had little time to goto therapy or talk with my mom. Or when I have an essay to write andinstead get caught up in a novel, or the lives of the people I careabout, I must take time out to do mind-numbing work.

The wordlearning comes from the Greek for leisure. Funny, huh? In ancientGreece, learning was considered leisure; they walked around discussingphilosophy or painting portraits or working through the theories ofgeometry.

It's so hard to write this without crying. When I thinkof all the hours spent not just in school but on schoolwork, or worryingabout it, I'm so sad and pissed off. And what makes me maddest is thatthese precious hours taken from the most precious time of my life couldbe spent on so much more. To me, more would be talking to friends orfamily or rereading my favorite book. More would be writing; making myown movie or working on a farm, starting a needle exchange or putting ona play.

More to some people means more school, or advanceddegrees. These things are good, but I know those pieces of paper sayingI graduated high school or college would mean nothing. In weaker momentsI think I should have them just to make my parents happy, get a goodjob, et cetera.

But I cannot mesh my values with school. If Icontinue to participate in it, I will be complicit. Perhaps my parentswill find me easier to live with, perhaps I will get good healthinsurance, but must the price be paid with the essence of mysoul?




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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George said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 1:19 am
The answer to the last question is no. There are ways to live a free lifestyle. If you are looking for help with that and support visit:
www.selfdirectedlearnersunion.webs.com
 
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