Trapped in Education

“I could just run away,” I thought to myself, “yet I’d still feel a need to finish my homework first.” -my brain between classes as I looked out a window to the campus below.

It’s amazing how different it feels walking on a school campus after graduation in comparison to before. I wander the brick pavement, taking my time, while students rush around me to class. I can finally relax because I’m on the outside looking in.

As a student, the stress of never being done gnawed away at my soul. There was always another assignment, always more reading material, always something exhausting my mental energy. There was no relishing in what I learned because I always had more to do. Even times of rest were laden with the knowledge I would have to get back to work soon. There was no clocking out until suddenly everything ended for break.

When people say school prepares you for life, I suppose they are referring to stereotypical 70-hours-per-week jobs. The ones where you wear a suit and stay late out of a need for constant busyness and endless production. I am not envious of them. People say school (college years) are the best years of your life, but I have never been more relieved to not have homework looming over my head.

Too often we trap young people in constant to-do lists that probably prohibit their growth rather than aid it. This can happen in adulthood too, but adults tend to have a little more control over it. I empathize with young people who are still bound by academic responsibilities. And while I am a huge advocate for learning and growing, I am so glad to not be in a formal school setting anymore.

In my limited life experience, I find I much prefer independent adulthood than the stress of student-hood/childhood. Going through high school and college was mentally and emotionally draining, not just because of the endless cognitive workload, but also because of the development that was happening within my own body and brain. Life is still immensely draining now, but I feel much more equipped to handle it now that I don’t have homework to worry about.

2 thoughts on “Trapped in Education

  1. I would have to respectfully disagree with the notion that school (college) prepares you for life and the “stereotypical job”. That is really only true for a vocational school. I was brought up being told you go to college to get an education. It wasn’t until later in life did I really understand what an education actually is. You must have wondered when you were ever going to use that quadratic equation you had to learn in algebra or why you had to learn about Einstein’s theory of relativity. You probably weren’t planning on making nuclear weapons, right? Then there were all those word problems from economics that you wondered if you would ever encounter later in life and all those papers you had to write dealing with abstract thinking in English or related language arts classes. The there may have been Biology, Music, Calculus, History and so on. Again, classes filled with stuff you had to learn to pass, but questioned if you would really use that stuff as a working adult. Katherine, what all these subjects had in common were that in different ways, they were all contributing to the development of your brain’s cognitive ability to reason your way through most any problem life will throw at you. That’s what I learned an education really is. So congratulations, you are among the 32% of US adults who attain a college bachelors level education!

  2. Yes, I agree. I believe it’s super important to learn and stretch the brain. My frustration with college was that I couldn’t relish it and take the time to learn for the sake of learning. I had to be concerned about keeping on top of taking at least 16 credit hours per semester, and soaking up as much info as possible to regurgitate it on tests. Each waking moment was filled with either doing homework assignments or thinking about doing homework assignments. I struggled with a lot of anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to get everything done, and I couldn’t truly rest until the semester was over. As a result, I spent little time enjoying the learning process and instead spent a lot of time worrying about meeting expectations to maintain a high enough grade to move on to the next required class.

    Now that I’m done meeting such expectations, I feel like I can now research and take classes and learn however I please without the pressure of getting a degree in a designated time. And that feels really freeing.

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