Friday, April 16, 2010

Ranting Corner #1: (Barely) An Education

Hello all, meet my friend Ranting Corner, who shall henceforth divulge unto the general public some of the many reasons why I am Bothered By the World

My high school is among the top schools in the nation. Advanced placement courses and honors classes abound, our campus is clean and safe, and our school lunch is at the very least palatable. But despite all of this, despite our school’s sheen of academic success, rigorous courses, and “intelligent” students, it fails when it comes to fostering real interests and personal growth in us.

I myself have been duped into believing that a sparkling academic record is the sole purpose of my life, to the extent that I felt it does not matter what personal interests I have to throw aside to be a “smart” overachiever, just like everyone else. My hobbies and interests have been thrown to the wayside in exchange for acquiring knowledge that I will most likely forget within the next year.

In five years time, I won’t care about what a London dispersion Force or a definite integral is; what I will care about is how I neglected the subjects that I love in exchange for meaningless facts so that I could compete with my ambitious classmates and please colleges. I love music and art, but I have absolutely no time in my schedule for them. I no longer take art classes because it would take up valuable time that could be spent doing homework—and oh, the unending homework! No longer do I play any instruments; Imagine all of the time it takes to have lessons and practice every day. Instead I pore over textbooks and regurgitate facts and statistic I will never in my life think about again beyond that next test.

And now as I write this, I am falling to my knees and shouting “Why?!” to the heavens. In this “why” is imbued the pent-up despair, helplessness, and anger I feel towards the AP system that has really robbed me of my love of learning. No longer is there time for me to pause and appreciate or explore a certain topic that tickles my fancy. Oh no, I must keep shoving myself forward and pushing towards that AP test in May; I must be a good little academic soldier and elbow my way through textbooks to the AP test, that looming May finish line—for that way lies the path to college acceptance and proof from an outside party that I am “advanced”. We see approval from the College Board as more important than approval from ourselves, but we will have to live with the emptiness of failing to stay true to our interests for the rest of our lives, whereas the AP scores received from The College Board will only last until we submit that last college application, then—poof! Those test scores are suddenly meaningless, just ink on a piece of bleached dead trees/glue.

We would be much better served if instead of being stuffed with information that will either be relearned in college at a deeper level or afterwards discarded altogether, we had the opportunity to focus on creativity. Creativity and independent thinking is a truly valuable skill that will stick with a person for life, whereas memorizing the chemical structures and names of all the amino acids will only lead to headaches. We should be given the chance to dabble in the arts now when we do not have to worry about paying bills and feeding ourselves, and tap into our creative sides before it gets completely smothered by a harsh and demanding world.


Alexander said...

Hey Kate, I find myself reading your blog posts in your voice now. It's weird in a cool way and cool in a weird way.

And Kate, as hard as this is to say, I think that the only person you can blame for this is yourself. I have plenty of friends, and have met others, who know what they're interested in, what they want to do, and focus on that. One friend isn't taking any AP courses at all because he's focusing on his art, another is taking the bare minimum/getting a few B's and such so he can focus on his sax playing. It's obvious that you chose to conform to a system that you despise instead of pursuing what interested you.

In the end it's all about your own priorities and goals. While the people I listed above are pretty damn good at what they do, they understand how hard it is to succeed in their fields, one constantly envisions himself as a hobo playing sax on the streets of L.A., but they know that they're doing what will make them happiest in the long run. Of course if music and art are just hobbies to you, there'll be plenty of time for them later on FO SHO!

Kate Rose said...

I'm glad they had the personal conviction to know from the start what they wanted to do that I sorely lacked when starting HS. What began as an act done from peer pressure and a lack of personal conviction has proven to be a miserable journey. I think now I have a better idea of my "own priorities and goals" and I at least won't make the same mistakes in college.

shaheeda! said...

hey kate, owhhh lil one... you know what i see, that all this long, you've been such a great writer, you know. and i noe that you love it too. so, why don't you just focus on that area and build yourself from there on. if i have such a mad skill like yours at writing, i would totally get myself into that cuz i noe that i'm good. you see everyone can have fun, even the smallest thing you can imagine. like talking to friends, making jokes, and taking pictures. All of these can at least turn the frown upside down. so basically, instead of asking why? why don't try something that wouldn't take much of your time and that you love doing, you know?

and last, i'm your awesomest buddy, come to me if you need anything. kay??? ;)

Kate Rose said...

thanks for the pep talk ol' buddy :)

shaheeda! said...

anything for you, lil buddy. ;)