December 15, 2008

I will move to Siberia and become a muskox farmer

I get mainly straight A's on my report cards.
I test well.
I like to think that I can be creative too.
All of this adds up to huge platter of pressure.

I generally like school. I enjoy learning and thinking. However, like your average student, I don't always enjoy the workload.

Which got me thinking-- what is the workload for? Is it school's way to measure what I have learned? I know that I've learned. Why should I have to prove it to someone else?

So far, the only answer seems to be 'to get into a good college.' Perhaps also to assure my teachers' pay. Now, the latter reason I'm all for, but I'm no longer so sure of the first.

To start with the now: This past quarter, I ended up in tears more than once due to my mounting pile of work to be done. That can't be healthy, and it sure was not fun. Stress hurts.

Moving on to the post-now: I am genuinely excited to go to college and specialize. I look forward to it immensely. But, I don't necessarily believe that an "elite" college will give me a "better" education than any other institution. My mother has staunchly avowed that I will attend a college that is "good enough for me." This forces me to consider only those whose applicants are the type of person I avoid being-- over-stressed, over-worked, over-achieving, members-of-20-extra-curriculars, play-when-injured-athletes, focused-to-the-point-of-blindness, future-all-planned-out wayyyyyyyyy over-stretched suburban teenager. My goodness. I like to breathe. Now, I know my picture is over-generalized and most likely stereotyped, but I know some of these people. And I also know that I don't want to be them.

However, I also don't want to be bored. I'm not about to apply to Community College. But, I'm not convinced that I need a network of super-intelligent people, or at least people with a level of intelligence comparable to mine, in order to learn effectively. There is a reason independent study programs exist.

To bring it back to the point: Do I need to work myself to tears? If it's just to get into a school environment that I'm not sold on entering, then I'm not so sure anymore.

After college, I will be finished with formal education. I know that about myself. I will most definitely keep on learning, but not in a classroom. I would prefer to become a productive member of society.

Which might lead to the question, do I want to go college at all? But, I have no intentions of murdering my parents :)
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Anonymous said...

I love you. I hear you. I support you. I trust you. I want only what is best for you. I will back off.

Anonymous said...

I understand you feel this way, but feeling this, and doing something is hard step to make. Are you ready, convinced enough, to slow down, to not try so hard, to not get straight A's? You can be good at school and get into a good collage without being the best in your class. And if you don't want to go to collage, then why go to high school, what real application would it have. you know your smart, who cares what other people think.

You see I'm like you. But you try, try so hard. If I wanted , I could get the same straight A's you do. but I don't, I get B's and C's, D's sometimes. Are you ready to make that step? A step closer to F-ville

Teny Eurdekian said...

That's funny, I felt exactly the same way (I hear back from my 1st-and-only choice college this week). The more I thought about it, the less I even cared about going to college at all. If I don't get into my 1st choice, I'm practically screwed b/c I didn't apply anywhere else and all the deadlines have passed. But I told myself to live a little, and I see both outcomes as a win/win situation because if I can take a year off (yes my parents are freaking), I'm going to go to find some workshop in Berlin and go completely crazy. It's an excuse for me to change and get a little uncomfortable (in a good way).

It doesn't matter where you go, especially if you have a good sense of who you are and what you want to learn (or have a drive, period; it's not as common as you'd think). You're an academic type like me, so wherever you go make sure you work hard... not for your parents, for you. Learning and education is priceless; it changes your world completely. There's no greater gift. I'm probably going to be one of those people who stays in college for a while before I work, as I love learning so much. But it's also important to get out there (my philosophy is to never get too comfortable in your own skin).

It feels overwhelming now, but I have a feeling that once we're adults having to look after ourselves no matter where we go or what we do, the change will be for the good.

And I don't know if this is good advice (as this is the advice I give to myself) but always do more than the recommended amount. Leave an impression on the teacher, let that motivate you. You'll get so much more out of it (I recently had to write a 7-10 page term paper in my mythology class and wrote about Freud for 28 pages... the instructor wasn't upset, but even if he was, who cares? I taught myself and got the satisfaction from my research, knowing I didn't BS like most people). But I don't know if it's good advice to say "bite off more than you can chew"... it works for me. Sure I go crazy sometimes (and sacrifice more sleep than I should), but I ealize that most students complain about the workload anyway, no matter how much they have. Everyone complains about the work they have in general :) The secret is to enjoy it.... which I think you do.

College work isn't real, by the way. That process is just about selling yourself (it was extremely annoying... but these people don't know anything about you). Can't wait until it's all over so I can decide what to do.... and actually visualize the future in my mind. It's fuzzy now. Good Luck.

Fannah Heldman said...

@Anonymous #2
Goodness, I am in no way advocating slacking off. Trying hard specifically for the grade is one thing-- trying hard for myself is another. What I'm trying to stress is the latter.

Fannah Heldman said...

Interesting predicament. It sounds wonderful, actually, to have no college to attend and take a gap year. I believe that I would move to Siberia for a bit :)

And yes, I think being uncomfortable is a good thing. You could either give up because there is no chance of getting the grade, or you could be motivated to do better than you thought you could just to prove it to yourself.

However, I am not planning to stay in college for very long. I'll put in my four years to make it easier on myself in getting a job, but I feel that real, meaningful learning does not often happen in a school setting.

And of course we all complain! Where would the fun be if we didn't... ;)

Robert Glynn said...

I stumbled upon your blog just now and am reading our posts, they are quite amusing. I feel that I should make a comment to you about Anonymous #2's comment. Which is this: Don't trust anyone who tries to get into a 'collage' I would prefer to go to a college after high school. Thank you, have a nice day.

Robert Glynn said...

Oh, and our should be your. That was an honest mistake that I only made once.