BHS Insight

The Juggling Act

Schooling Today Takes a Toll on the Choices a Student Makes in their Education

Asanya Wawlagala, Contributing Writer

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We are surrounded by numbers. Our grades, GPA, SAT and AP scores and finally the last judgement call, our percentile rank. Education is a hierarchy system, with the most intelligent at the top and the least at the bottom. We are judged by these numbers, they loom above us like rain cloud in the sky. But do they really indicate intelligence? Or are they just numbers that put us in little pools so that schools can easily pick and choose who is worth even the slightest consideration of their precious time.

The first time I remember being labelled a “smart kid “was in the first year of school, kindergarten. I was an outgoing little 5 year old, excited to make new friends and school was still fun then. It’s strange I remember this, but it is a vivid memory in my mind. My kindergarten teacher had handed us all books, expecting us to ooh and ahh at the pictures, but I didn’t just ooh and ahh I read the words on the page to my friends. My mom at the time didn’t have a job, so she read books to me all the time. I believe it is this that helped me to learn how to read and write from a young age. And my love for reading and writing never dwindled. However something did change that day. From then on my teachers grouped me with the other “smart kids” and from then on good grades became the expectation.

And I suppose it was nice being in the hierarchy of “smart kids”. We were the ones who got to skip class a few times a week for Gateway in middle school and we were the ones who got special awards for our good grades. This division became more and more evident throughout the years as the smart kids either continued working hard and strived for the best or burned out. People don’t realize  being “smart” when you’re 10 is completely different concept than being smart when you’re 17. When you are 10 everything is easy and when you hit high school not only does it become harder, but it is a juggling act. High school students are expected to balance participating sports, 100 clubs, and saving a third world country all while keeping a perfect 4.0 GPA. Now juggling chainsaws that are on fire sounds better than dealing with those expectations. It is this stress that causes many students to burn out and to wonder where it all went wrong.

This stress is what is truly detrimental to education and will be its downfall. Students would rather learn for the test than learn for the genuine curiosity of the subject. They take “easy” classes to boost their GPAs rather than taking classes to learn. For me junior year has been a juggling act, but the one choice I am proud of is that the classes I took were not because they looked nice, but because I have an interest in the subject matter. And I joined clubs that I felt passionate about. But if there is one thing I learned about the education system it is about management. You are the only person who can decide what you can and cannot do. You are the one in the end who should have the last say on what you want to do. And it is you, and you alone to make the most of your education and not to let it go to waste.

Education should not be a one size fits all system. It needs to flexible so that all children are given the chance to not only learn, but to enjoy their experience. School should be a place students don’t dread going to everyday. It should be a place where creativity  flourishes and where numbers don’t defy everything.

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The Juggling Act