High School Amendments

Followers: Did you like high school? If you could change one thing, what would you? Was high school a personal hell for you?

A photo I snipped of my school's graduation last year for the Class of 2014.

A photo I snipped of my school’s graduation last year for the Class of 2014.

I’ve asked around, and it turns out that a generally even amount of people believe that high school was either the best or worst four years of their lives. No bills, no real-world responsibilities, but at the price of what? A social hierarchy? For a lot of people, the social hierarchy was great because you generally were near the top of it — and although something so seemingly insignificant in retrospect, it dominated attitudes across the hallway for four years.

For me, high school is a detached lover. I used to be in love with it: the schedule, the people, the spirit. It was all too much fun, but come junior and senior year, I fell right out of love with it, possibly into resentment.

It all started when I met up with friends who were in college. I saw the work they were doing for a College Algebra class, and it turned out it was work that I generally did in the eighth grade. I saw work for their history classes, and in my A.P. U.S. History class, we analyzed at the same depth, so much that I had helped some of my college friends understand their work, and all of these classes were college level for freshman. That’s when it hit me: I could have gone into college years ago! And I was upset to find that if I’d be doing the same work, I had wasted my time, so here are my amendments for the high school system.

Freshman year of high school needs to focus on, like a college would, general education credits: Generally, Algebra 1 & Geometry with applied mathematics, general science, a combination of history, government, and geography, and English skills with emphasis on grammar and comprehension. At the end of freshman year, students should be able to decide whether or not they’d like to continue their high school education. You gave them exactly what they need to know to function in society; there shouldn’t be anything else holding them in high school unless they’d like to further their education, maybe specifically in a community college program (i.e. Marketing, Nursing), or go on a college-prep course with classes like Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Language, Literature, etc.

The most famous line of high school counselors, “Well, what do you need for college?” College degrees do not make individuals 100% employable; not only that, but some students simply do not want their education from a classroom. Don’t fight me on this. Education is important but to assert that education is only achievable through schooling? That’s ridiculous. I’ve met tons of kids who don’t test well but can get a car up and running in five minutes. I’ve met tons of kids in biology class who can fix the CPU of a computer. Yet they don’t excel, and is it because they can’t? No. Is it because they’re lazy? No. It’s simply because they don’t want to and they know they know they don’t have to. They find the requirements ridiculous. Kids are not stupid, they know well that eventually, they will have to major in one thing, not a thousand different things. We can say that these make our children well-rounded individuals, but kids will not go on to be well-rounded by majoring in everything, they will usually choose one thing — one job, they will specialize.

But we aren’t helping them explore their options by letting them choose one track! Students will attend 9 years of school (including kindergarten) before high school. There are conferences, internships, workshops, and informational sessions that students can attend.

“Students are too young to make that kind of choice.” We expect 18-year-old students to select a college, 20-year-old students to select a major, and 22-year-old students to select a career. Certainly, 16-year-old students should get to choose whether they want college, work, or a career, and can change their minds at any time, high school is even better decision-making training: when they aren’t forking out for tuition.

That is how we let them explore.

We need to reality check our perspectives on education. Not everyone of our students will turn out to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher… Nor will every one of our students attend college or become famous, and certainly, not all of our students will be happy with what they do in the end, but what do we teach them?

“College degree holders earn more than their counterparts. There’s a slim shot at being anything without a college degree.” You can hang up the statistics, but there’s no doubt that common response and confounding variables play a stronger role than we’d like to think. Classroom intelligence is not the only type of intelligence, and if students want to specialize, we should let them specialize.

Be realistic, and don’t lie to the youth. You will fill them with resentment, and they will destroy everything in their path. We all well know that everybody rises from different roots, different soil, and we all have different abilities and to reduce kids’ worth to “what we think is best for them” is to keep this world as corrupted as it already is.

my view when i'm at the library

my view when i’m at the library

I’ll be honest: high school. Hate it. I don’t know how to file taxes, look for a car, or fill out an application properly. But I know that Pb is the symbol for Lead and I find the slope of a line. A lot of my teachers give busy work, and I hate environment. I miss my fair share of it, and well…

Am i devaluing my school system? Do I take for granted that my nation protects my school rights as a student?

No. I think it’s great, but also understand that this nation is one of freedom — one where any person can choose to go where they want with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and if one does not want the school system, don’t stand in their way. One day I missed class because I helped a lady push her car from the road into the parking lot. I went into class late and turns out my classmates turned in 10 vocabulary words and then had free time. So if you think the best lessons come from the classroom, maybe you need to look around. Maybe, yes, people out there would like this school system, but simply, this is not how some people learn, and to say that they should stay in it just because other people don’t have it is like convincing somebody who no longer loves someone but has a healthy relationship to stay in the relationship just because not everybody else has such a healthy relationship.

Knowing that are educational opportunities that aren’t in the classroom and NOT taking advantage of them — that is devaluing everything this nation stands for, and I think we need to rethink the public education system.

Posted in acceptance, appreciation, change, choices, detachment, education, high school, indifference, Insensitivity, insight, life, personality, philosophy, psychology, public education, schooling, value | Leave a comment

The Trouble with Detachment

Followers: Are you a social butterfly? Have you ever pretended to be one so you wouldn’t be regarded as a freak? Are you a strictly introverted person?

No, I am not a social butterfly. I never was, and I highly doubt I ever will be. Socializing exhausts me, and I have spent years acting like it doesn’t, but after eight years of pretending, I’m worn out and detached.

Let’s start with my childhood. I did not talk. I did not like to talk; I was very quiet and shy; I had anxiety to the point of throwing up daily. My teachers made me nervous, and if even one person told me to “quiet down” I would crawl under a rock forever. I found that I was not resilient. I was not happy. I was not like my classmates. I used to eat lunch in the nurses office because I went to a strict elementary school where the school aides screamed and yelled to the top of their lungs all the time, and I was scared as shit.

I got involved in drama early. The first time I experienced being three-way called? I was 8. The first time I learned the way of trash talk? I was 7. The first time I began to understand swearing? I was 6. The first time I experienced bullying? I was 5. The first time I experienced rejection? I was 4.

I was roughed around a little. The first time I broke my leg without realizing it was broken? I was 15. The first time I flew off a motorcycle in an accident? I was 13. The first time I bench-pressed? I was 11. I constantly broke things like latches and water filters, and the first time I gave a boy eight years older than I a black eye? I was 3.

I was not a pretty child. People did not want to be around me. I was strong and unapproachable, and I did a lot better in football games than I did on cheer-leading lines, but I thought I would be okay. After all, I was a star in the classroom and a good kid, but it turned out that all these things would one day change me forever.

Fast-forward to who I am now.

The drama I experienced as a kid? The reason I refuse to befriend people. I do not trust people, at all. And the constant criticism from bullying has pushed me to resist social conferences. I don’t talk trash, I talk truths, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one who is quick to see the bad in people. Swear words are a regular part of my voice that I always forget that they are, indeed, words that are deemed unacceptable. I will never show my feelings for a boy because I will not face rejection; I refuse to put myself through such an roller coaster bumped with fits of inadequacy and turns of emotions. And it sucks because I desire to be intimate, but I won’t let myself experience that kind of vulnerability.

And what did all of this lead me to? Detachment.

Eight years of trying to recover myself from these little, horrid things and forcing myself to be loud and approachable and a pleasure to be around, I am done, and people are fed up.

Teachers saw me in a different light the years before. One specific teacher and I used to carry on conversation after conversation, and I always thought it was great. I thought that I liked it, but this year, it rang to me that this teacher had no idea who I really was, and because of it, I’m punished severely in terms of grading because a refusal to participate in discussion makes it seem like I simply just did not do the lesson. A few of my teachers were rather excited to finally have me after three years of watching me grow as a student, and they’re disappointed. Why? Because they expected me to be the same plastic student I used to be. Instead, they get a tired, grumpy, kid who misses class constantly and can’t be bothered to save the world… they can’t understand me.

It’s not even from my perspective that they don’t, it’s just that they can’t. And it isn’t their fault. Because one minute I’m a raging wildfire and the next, I’m a tropical storm, and in fits of flashback, I possess the outgoing qualities I appeared to have in years before, and you know what? I like that they can’t understand me. I’m selfish. And I think the only person who deserves to understand me is me because I’m the only one who can understand my own constituents.

I admire teachers and mentors and parents and counselors and even friends, I do. What a noble thing it is to use your skill and talent in a classroom setting and home and with me, but wonderful, darling people, I am not who you think I was, and I am not who you think I am, so please just give me the assignment, let me turn it in, and send me on my way. I am detached, and I’ve spent too long putting on a show. I need not the lecture, the counseling, the therapy, I am who I am, please understand.

Posted in acceptance, childhood, dear teachers, detachment, disorder, dissociation, indifference, Insensitivity, insight, life, love, memories, personality, philosophy, psychology | Leave a comment

My Best Friend is a Perfectionist

“Can you make your half of the slides look like mine?”

“Who gives a damn? Why do things always have to be perfect?”

A few months ago, I was constantly fed up with the one-track ways of my best friend. Not only was it a pain in the ass to work together as partners on projects, I constantly felt nagged, incompetent, and frustrated.
I do not care about things being perfect. I’m totally okay with cutting paper slightly crooked or placing slanted photos in PowerPoint slides. I don’t care, if it’s done, it’s done, and if it happens to look nice and neat, then hey, that’s a bonus, but I don’t see why any person in their right mind would spend any time working on anything that it isn’t part of the core content.

But one day, I stepped back, and I realized: my best friend is a perfectionist. I always knew what perfectionism was, but what I didn’t know is that these people have mind chips that don’t stop bothering them until something is exactly the way the see it in their heads. Interested in learning more, I checked out BuzzFeed’s “13 Secret Struggles Perfectionists Face” (http://thoughtcatalog.com/erin-cossetta/2014/03/13-secret-struggles-perfectionists-face/) by Erin Cossetta, and it turned out that these were things my best friend actually feels.

I’ll admit it; I felt pretty bad, I’m not very sensitive, and people brush off perfectionism. Is it a choice? Maybe. But so are a lot of other common choices including smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and eating junk.

I love my best friend, so much that instead of trying to change the fact that he is a perfectionist, I want him to see that I love him regardless of all the things he considers perfect. I love him right down to his perfectionism. I love everything about you: even those 13 secrets. And you may be adamant, but I love you so much for everything you are, so much more than you think.

And I’m proud to call you my best friend.

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