Do we hate school or hate education?

As some of you may know I am three weeks off finishing high school forever, and much to everyone’s surprise the one thing I’m thinking about right now is our education system and how truly torturous it is to grow up with this lingering pre conceived idea of high end of year result meaning you become more successful.

First off what is it to be successful? Everyone has a different definition of what it is. Is it to earn more than 100K a year? To live on a yacht, with maids catering to your every need? But what about the rest of us who just want to be happy? I believe that successful is when you have achieved what is important to you, just you! That pressure sits upon my generation right now. As I sat there completing my practise exam today in a near sterile room, the future dependent on the words I write and how much I managed to cram within my so called recent ‘holidays ‘ I took a look around at my peers, some biting their nails in anxiety, others ratting their brain for the correct answer, hollow eyes with black rims from the little sleep received last night, most of them slim or plump from the repercussions of stress, need I say the we are growing into adults (if that’s not stress enough). I thought to myself as glanced at the near foreign language of my business exam and thought if this has been the case for so long so why has nothing changed? Why must our future lay within a few maths equations. If teachers, parents and society can see how much mental strain it puts upon such young, innocent individuals why have they not stood up and rebelled. Well I guess how can one rebel against such a common, yet hidden issue. In year 10 I was expected to pick what I wanted my career to be and stick to that, I’m still expected to go to university next year, do brilliant things and then return home and start a family. I am not passionate about something so drastically that I would chose to do that forever, neither is majority of my peers. That’s how it goes for us rural kids right?

Have you ever got in an argument with someone and then five minutes later remembered all the witty stuff you could have said? So what if I enter my biology exam, answer what I can but than five minutes after I leave the room I remember the answer to question four, does that mean I would have been better off for a pacific job, that those dismal five minutes were the line of me no longer being a doctor but teacher? Some of my friends can recite every piece of an English novel and others can retract Pythagoras theorem within seconds, so why must our passions be suffocated within boundaries of education, this than leads limitations to self-expression, poisoning our young minds. This year I have listened to “I can’t do this” “I’ve cried doing homework last night” and “I can’t wait to leave” “no I can’t go to the party I need to study” why aren’t we told at the start of the year that our mental health is more important than our grades? . I have felt so lonely walking from class room to class room, unable to tell the teachers of the burdens within my head, why would they care? If I am not producing 100% on my tests than why would they feel the need to comfort someone not giving their school a good name? I soon learnt this wasn’t the case, only becoming apparent to me this year when I broke down from lack of sleep in front of my English teacher, blabbering about societal expectations. Within the friendships you create with teachers when they know you are struggling, you find comfort and that loneliness no longer hits you so hard. Even more apparent to me now everyone around me felt the same, those thoughts within my head “am I the only one struggling with literature” and “everyone else seems to be loving biology” was all fake, in fact everyone felt just as lost within the education system as I did. Once I discovered this the signs were blantely obvious. So if you are feeling alone and I can assure you that you defiantly are not, everyone is carrying their own baggage. To the parents out there, I’m begging of you to please sit your children down and tell them that they can be whatever it is they wish to be, to rebel against the education system and not to stress over these upcoming exams, for it is just a number and it will not define them. To my fellow year 12’s, we can do this, but please ensure you are happy, that number we receive in two months is not the be all and end all, we will find our way. To the future students, do not cave into conventions, be who you want. Enjoy school; enjoy the friends you make and the memories that may not seem like much right now but one day will be so bitter sweet.

Year 12 will not define me and whatever I receive will not determine the extent of my success.

Bridie Edwards