Complaint I: I don’t think I’m getting enough stress.
There, I said it.
Compared with the rest of my grade, I’m not doing any significant extracurriculars (IQUITDEBATE) or taking a notably challenging courseload. Life during the week is pretty much: go to school, study in the library for an hour or go to a club meeting afterwards, come home, start homework with various breaks of various lengths in between, go to sleep for almost-eight hours, wake up tired, and repeat for five days.
Some restless part of me isn’t satisfied with this lifestyle. Hearing stories of my fellow peers pulling all-nighters already due to extracurricular activities (read: debate) makes me feel lazy for having the time to be unconscious for 7ish hours every night.
Perhaps I’m undervaluing sleep here, but I feel like the people pushing themselves right now will gain more in the long-term than someone who’s just…sleeping, at least in terms of accomplishments and stuff on paper. One can get a lot done in 7 hours. PSH WHO NEEDS SLEEP.
My parents constantly emphasize the importance of being well-rested in order to focus and learn in school, and that not sleeping enough isn’t going to solve anything, and I completely see where they’re coming from. Paying attention in class and working hard makes studying for tests so much easier, since I already know the information. Plus, all my teachers this year are pretty awesome.
Anyways, the lack of stress is honestly making me feel guilty, since the “Pre-AP/AP” life at Bellaire is equated with sleep deprivation and being an overachiever. It’s like I’m not getting enough out of my high school experience, not reaching my “full potential,” even if that means a life of minimal sleep. Yes, sleep has become the defining metric for everything.
(Just watch, next week I’ll be going sleepless. Darn you Murphy’s Law.)
Complaint II: I’m falling into the system too easily.
Yes, you heard me. I’m accepting school without a fight, and that’s a problem.
Even after reading countless articles on education reform and writing a piece myself, it’s hard to take a step back from my life and recognize that I am living this failing system. Every day I go to school and patiently do my work is just another day of accepting the status quo. Of course, completely rejecting school isn’t a viable option either, but it’s pretty hypocritical to be against the schooling model and still aim for straight A’s.
As a wakeup call, sometimes I read Seth Godin’s manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams. Here’s an excerpt.
Jake Halpern did a rigorous study of high school students. The most disturbing result was this:
“When you grow up, which of the following jobs would you most like to have?”
The chief of a major company like General Motors
A Navy SEAL
A United States Senator
The president of a great university like Harvard or Yale
The personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star
Among girls, the results were as follows: 9.5 percent chose “the chief of a major company like General Motors”; 9.8 percent chose “a Navy SEAL”; 13.6 percent chose “a United States Senator”; 23.7 percent chose “the president of a great university like Harvard or Yale”; and 43.4 percent chose “the personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star.”
Notice that these kids were okay with not actually being famous—they were happy to be the assistant of someone who lived that fairy tale lifestyle. Is this the best we can do? Have we created a trillion-dollar, multimillionstudent, sixteen-year schooling cycle to take our best and our brightest and snuff out their dreams—sometimes when they’re so nascent that they haven’t even been articulated? Is the product of our massive schooling industry an endless legion of assistants?
The century of dream-snuffing has to end. We’re facing a significant emergency,
one that’s not just economic but cultural as well. The time to act is right now,
and the person to do it is you.
Arguably, that point isn’t accurate because there wasn’t a single Asian surveyed, but this is simply 1 of 132 sections in Stop Stealing Dreams, each providing a different insight into what education should be. I’ve referenced this piece on my blog 3 times already. Perhaps you should like, READ IT.
The main problem is that I’m actually learning a lot through reading, taking notes, and listening in class. The system isn’t entirely bad, but I’m worried about what it’s subconsciously doing and if it’s possible to…break out of this cycle.
From another perspective, this must seem ridiculous. My life is fine as it is, and I’m just being paranoid and trying to find something wrong with it. However, all successful people achieved their success despite the system, not because of it, clearly indicating a problem without a clear solution.
I’m not too sure what to make of these two complaints. The former is due to societal pressures and expectations, while the latter is caused by my own concern about education reform. Are these even legitimate problems or are these just super #FirstWorldProblems? Tell me below!