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School is Not a Place for Smart People

I have a weird relationship with education. School has always come naturally for me, but that’s only because my parents prioritized my education. They made sure to move to a decent school district, to involve me in the arts, and to make sure I received a form of special education, gifted support. I felt as if school was easy most of the time, so I spent more time on my projects, dove deeper in essays, and accelerated my study of mathematics. But I think there was a problem with my education; I was incentivized by awards, dreams of admission to top schools, and frankly, my “beautiful” transcript.

But school isn’t a place for smart people; especially when you think like that. Now, I find my days characterized by extreme swings in mood and motivation. One day, I spend 11 hours on my club, F.O.R.M. Consulting, and the next, I’ll nap three separate times. I’ll go from studying 13 hours for my first exam, to just 2 for the next. I’ll excel in my role in an organization in September, and be ready to quit by October.

Today, I find myself particularly apathetic to the entire education system. My attitude has completely reversed; I no longer want to get a college degree, but have to get a college degree. I don’t want to go to class, I have to go to class.

Why is this? Where did I lose my awe and respect for education?

I think there’s a few answers. First, I’ve generally been disenfranchised by the methodology of being presented lists of things, being asked to memorize those things, then being asked to fill in bubbles on the bubble sheet. Last year, although I had swings in different ways, I was generally happier with my studies. I took all English classes, where free thought and debate were encouraged. I thought that was the point of higher education, or at least a liberal education. Now, I know that in order to graduate with something “employable,” I’m inevitably going to have to sit through bubble-in tests. There’s no argument for why an answer is “right” or “wrong,” it just is. As I see it, flawed methodology. If we lived in an idealistic world, there would never be another multiple choice answer test administered. I really believe that.

The next step is the complete and utter lack of education around me. Nobody cares, man. Nobody cares. They don’t want to debate intelligent things because they have 12 hours of homework, just like everyone else. Even in honors classes. In my experience, people refuse to do the deep, deep digging that is necessary for intellectual growth. I first experienced college as debates until 3 in the morning, challenging my beliefs and the beliefs of others. Now, I’m up until 3 AM trying to edit my resume, or do something for a club, or fulfill a work responsibility.

The last step was burning out. I’ve burned myself out of motivation; I’ve just outright stopped caring. If the only thing that made me care before was the desire for a good career, or the desire to be respected by my peers, I’m now too tired for that. Some might call it laziness, but my body is actually quitting. It’s interesting to note that I learned in my CAS 404 class that seeking integrative solutions (the hardest methodological work in conflict) can actually physically wear on your body. I also am partaking in an absolutely vicious cycle of unhealthiness; stress-eating, sleeping few hours, napping long hours, etc.

Well, why is this at all significant? What makes you so “special?”

My argument becomes this; when I face adversity, my immediate answer is to drop out. I find myself doubting everything I’ve come to know. I get depressed. And I have nobody telling me, “you have to do this.” I find myself wondering if I would’ve been better off going to community college, like my parents and sister. Even with a 3.9 GPA, I feel like I’m not worth anything. Even with participation in three honors programs, two degrees, and five minors. It all feels futile; I feel like a fraud, devoid of actual meaning and depth, just moving from place to place trying to convince everyone that I’m something I’m not.

So I arrive at the conclusion; school is not a place for smart people. It inhibits your freedom, creativity, and sometimes, your life. I wonder how I could be better using my time. I always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve always been too busy because of school. I think I’m a “do-er,” not a thinker. I’m starting to question my dreams, and what I want out of live. I think I just want to enjoy it. I think I want to work as little as possible, and to have as much freedom as I can. I just need to remind myself that even if I don’t love school, and even if I have some depressive swings, dropping out won’t fix anything. It won’t get me closer to my dreams. I need to re-anchor myself in my dreams of becoming the first person in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. I need to keep pushing on, even if I believe school isn’t a place for someone like me to grow.

I want the workforce, I think. I just can’t way to actually do something. You know, put a fraudulent banker in jail. Or help somebody divorce their abusive spouse. I don’t know; just something that feels a little more real.

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