I really love to learn but I hate school. And this is coming from someone who wanted to and somedays still wants to be a teacher. As far as formal education goes, though, my mentality becomes more and more phlegmatic with each passing day. Among my many existential crises and the questions which arise from them, the one climbing highest in the ranks lately is: why in the blue hell am I still in school?
It’d be remiss of me to say I don’t sometimes worry this may all be my fault. My relationship with school has been stagnant since sophomore year of high school. Before then, I had next to no social life so my grades were always top notch. Around 16, I came to realize the gods I’d been trying to appease for years with academic performance had finally smiled, granting me friends and a small degree of popularity. All that reading and devotion to education in the years prior honed my ability to criticize life’s absurdity and joke around as a result, both skeleton key skills in high school.
Still, I never lost my desire to fill my mind with big or small ideas. Giving up the validation of a report card for the company of friends didn’t stop that. I’ve kept up reading and, lately, become more of a podcast junkie than ever before. But I honestly can’t remember paying attention in a class for the last five years.
I used to have such high hopes for college. In junior high, I had my eyes set on Oxford. Somehow, I ended up at Biola. I love the friendships I’ve made, I love the extracurriculars. The same goes for my old high school. Sometimes I worry the reason I’m so disenfranchised is because both these places are Christian schools. Calvary, more so than Biola, taught within a vacuum. Where my outside reading and listening is built on questioning, searching, the school I went to, the school I’m at is more about answers and stopping the journey after receiving them.
It just seems kind of strange that thousands of dollars are being spent by all kinds of families across the country and the debt is piling up like madness personified. All of this to receive a piece of paper with foil on it when we reach the end. That’s the validation our employers are looking for. And, I know, if I were to stop now, I’d feel there was something deeply wrong with me for not having a piece of paper with foil on it myself. For that matter, I’ll probably start feeling like a jerk if I don’t go to grad school.
Most of the friends I’ve talked to feel the same way. But a couple really, really love higher education and always have, always wil. I guess it all comes down to personality type. I’m too burnt out today to go all meta and David Foster Wallace on this topic. I guess I just wanted to piss and moan. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about it from a more theoretical angle.
Would it be fair to say I’ve always learned more from the books I’ve read, the movies, the shows I’ve watched and the music I’ve listened to than from any class I’ve taken? More importantly, that I’ve been shaped more by the relationships I’ve built with other people in my classes than our attempts at mostly pathetic attempts at shrewd discourse? Any John Hughes movie would answer yes so I think I’m in good company. I always felt this pang the best teachers I sat under felt the same way.
My brain is too Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall” is echoing through my psyche way too frequently. Sometimes, school feels more like Office Space than the office job I have on the side. Soulless and absurd. Here’s hoping all of life isn’t that way.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep listening to Pavement.