Complaints I Shouldn’t be Having

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

The results:

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!

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12 thoughts on “Complaints I Shouldn’t be Having

  1. They are first world problems in a way but they’re not to be looked down upon (like most first world problems are lol). They’re more like “growing up” problems I guess you could say because you believe something but aren’t sure it’s right to follow, what type of impact it’ll have on your future. A very interesting read because it’s something that I have trouble with too although I don’t express it as eloquently as you haha…just keep blogging. Blogging has so much more impact nowadays than it used to :) <3

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    • Yeah, I treat this blog as a somewhat organized brain dump, but also as a way to see what people think on certain topics that I wouldn’t bring up in a normal conversation. Nice to know that I’m not alone in having weird insecurities. :)

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  2. I’m in pretty much the same situation, except I still find myself sleeping at 12 to 2 in the morning, giving me only 4-6 hours of sleep >< procrastination, youtube, tumblr, instagram, vine videos…… at least you actually spend the time you freed up doing something that is good for you. :)

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  3. Congratulations on quitting debate! Debate is kinda like Scientology. I’ll not explain this further.
    As for the system, the best way to get out of the system is to do things yourself. We all know the education system of the US is the result of several decades of considering what is best and doing the exact opposite. That is to some extent unavoidable. You will have to go through the system and get a diploma. The key is to do stuff out of school. Self-study (math preferably) or get really good at art or something. Don’t worry about stress. You’ll have plenty fall semester of senior year.

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    • Yeah, quitting debate is seeming like a better and better decision everyday.
      The only problem with going outside the system is time. Any time not spent on homework is, in my opinion, time taken away from sleep, which leaves only the weekends to pursue anything interesting. I can see how it’d be really rewarding though, and I’ll definitely try it. Thanks!

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  4. I always get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and I have taken many extracurriculars (and to preemptively strike on all those haters out there: I am taking the most rigorous course load. I am doing high school “right”. I just get more sleep than you. Be jealous). Do not equate lack of sleep with success! This only leads to poor health due to… lack of sleep. There are many well-rested successful people in this world and you can be one of them too. Amy – find your own path and you can succeed (even sans extracurriculars)!

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      • I am not a troll. Have you ever seen me guard a bridge?

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      • Who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
        This anonymous insolence is quite fun. In my fashion, I shall retire and go to sleep. I hope my advice was helpful and convinces you that there’s more to life than extracurriculars and lack of sleep.

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