When a baby is born, it’s life is like a blank canvas. Its innocent and pure, untouched from any paint, any medium that may change it to be anything else. The blank canvas allows for any imagination or creativity to occur. It is a symbol for all of the possibilities.
When I reflect on my life, the one thing that has remained a constant in it, from the time I was four to now, is how I have education. I have spent my life learning. My blank canvas is filled, yet it remains empty; it remains waiting for all the years to come. Education is connected with learning like a knit scarf. Each string is intertwined together to make a whole, a long scarf that may never end and can be continuous or be paused in wait to be started again. The scarf can be any color, its colors are the ones used on my canvas.
Education to me, is the surroundings of a person. It is everything the person learned from what they felt, saw, heard to the moment itself.
I have learned many things from school. I have learned love, and I have learned pain. My surroundings have taught me perception and how I perceive the events around me. I have learned the math and with the skill, I have learned that I have spent over 14080 hours in school. They say to become a master at something, you have to spend 10000 hours on it, but I don’t think I am a master at school yet. I don’t think I’ll ever be.
Since I have entered high school, I have felt like a caged bird. One that was originally free and was caught in the net of fate and placed in a small space after they clipped my wings. I feel trapped. I try to spread my wings like a peacock shows its feathers, but they don’t move. I am confined and locked in the darkness.
I feel this way because I have spent my entire life in school working, or out of school working. I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. I work hard in school because I am told that doing well will allow me to have a better quality of life, but at the same time, I don’t even know what I want in life. I have no clue where I’ll end up and the future scares me.
Even so, I will keep pushing myself despite how difficult it is, despite my struggles. School has taught me I must work to go, but the go I do not know.
Education has painted me into the person I am today. From the moment I was in elementary to the moment I left, it implemented values I still hold and use in everyday life. My entire personality has been shaped around and by education. It is the water and I am the rock it has carved out. Each ripple has slowly eroded it me and yet, it has turned me into a beautiful thing.
People tell me that to think so pessimistically is what’s wrong and that everything that I am hating and feeling was all my doing. When I am honest with myself, I understand what others are telling me. I am like a robber and school is the driver to my getaway car. They only played the part of allowing me get away with this self-infliction.
I think the American education system is supposed to be this great system, but it almost seems like no one is truly happy within it. Those who succeeded say they had struggles and those who failed… They don’t get to have a voice. Their light died off a long time ago and so they are only memories. The canvas almost seems like a large “X” was painted over it or maybe in this case, it would be a “F”.
If I shift my perspective from this dark shadow cast by expectation, there is light and some of it is shining through. I imagine it to be like the gleam of a flashlight. I can visualize the people looking in the dark trying to save those who have failed. The problem is: I am imagining all of this. I will never be able to relate to this because I have learned and come from a very different background.
There are two things I have learned from school that stands out as if written in bold letters. I find these two things the problem in America’s education system.
School is not a spawning place for creativity. It is structured to give a baseline of information meant to be used to and expanded upon one day. It is unable to cater to every student’s needs and lacks individuality, even in more abstract classes like art or music.
There are people who are able to play the system and appear like they’re better candidates. The reality is, they have one skill that they developed elsewhere that allows them to do this: they are slightly more perceptive and clever than their peers.
School is like a competitive game. Those who succeed with A’s wins the prize promised and those who receive lower are the losers. The game is interesting though because we get to choose how we come back from failure. The problem is, no one teaches us therefore it depends on each person.
Personally, failure is a motivator to come back as a winner, unfortunately to others, it can be the sign that tells them to stop playing.
School, my learning experience, has always been a game to me. I think I treat it this way because it makes it easier to keep trying to win.
I have met a lot of people over the years. I think with every meeting of a person, you can learn something. From people, I have found that if you are going to give credit to the bad, giving credit to the good is due.
Even as a trapped bird, I know I have been well taken care of. Perhaps they clipped my wings and kept me in a cage to keep me from flying to high and destroying myself. Keeping me in a box allowed me to learn about myself and kept me safe.
School has taught me so much. I have learned more than just the core subjects. I’ve learned love and happiness, and without suffering, there is no compassion. My art has been elevated to new levels and my eyes have had so many wonderful moments to see. I have made a voice for myself because of my education.
So, despite everything, I have won. I have won an education and I think I am doing great in life. This is not a formal conclusion because it doesn’t end. My education story will never end. I get to choose to keep knitting my scarf or if I want to take a break. My canvas still has so much potential left.