Everything That Annoys Me About 'Education'

This post came about as I was watching one of those TEDx Talks on YouTube. (It was this particular one if anyone's interested). In a nutshell, it was about education and how the only real learning you can get is from outside the system. Good talk - albeit a bit scripted-sounding but hey, kudos to the kid for memorising all of it.

Yes this is actually a post about education. I know - whoop-de-doodle-do.

Education. My world used to revolve around it. I ate, slept and breathed studying. Okay, maybe not too that extent because I distinctly remember being the most chilled out Year 12 person ever. It must've been the nine free periods I got every week. I practically lived in the library, picking up things about people I didn't even know through social osmosis. By the way, I've always wondered how it was possible for high school students to get involved in so much drama but then again, my life was Doctor Who and YouTube so what do I know?

Anyway, although it wasn't something that I based my existence on, education was still a big part of my high school life (as it is for everyone). I'd go to school, come home, procrastinate a bit and then hit the books. I'd cram all this shit about family law and Belonging into my brain, compulsively memorising quotes for the sake of regurgitating it all up during the exam. If you asked me to, I could probably still recite you half of Wuthering Heights. Sometimes I found it interesting (Year 11 Modern History hola!) but other times, I don't think I really derived that much enjoyment from anything I learnt. I mean, I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. It was all for the sake of the big ole ATAR. But it worked and the school was nice enough to give me a piece of yellow paper with the word 'Dux' on it at the end of my schooling.

Ultimately though, education during high school was not preparing me for life. It was preparing me for university entrance, and by extension financial stability.  

University was such a massive culture shock. Not because the learning system was different but because I met so many people there who were super-articulate, extremely experienced and worldly and who just plain old knew their shit. As you would expect, journalism kids are the most politically engaged people you'd ever meet. I kept wondering how they got this way. Was it parental influence? Home environment? Or just the school they went to?

I think it was a bit of everything.

With the first two, I could kind of let it go. As someone who's got parents with a refugee background, I think they did the best they could raising my sister and I up financially. Asking them to be the sorts of parents who engage in political discussions with their kids over dinner is too unreasonable an ask. Neither do I expect them to have connections to people in various industries or fully support what I'm learning. It's always funny watching my Mum react to people asking her what I study. She'll give a frustrated sigh and say, "I don't know, don't ask me. That girl does what she wants to do." LOL Mum. It's PR, not prostitution (although the journalism kids would disagree).

But if it was the school they went to (I'm back to talking about the people I met at uni if you're confused), then I guess I did feel like it was a little bit unfair. After all, I remember the Careers Advisor telling my Year 10 cohort to do accounting at uni because 'it's where all the jobs are at'. Seriously? You should do it if you like numbers and calculations, not because you think it's the easy way out. To be fair, my school was classified as 'low socio-economic status' so I guess getting the students into university was the number 1 priority. And that was what the parents expected them to do so the pressure was also there. But maybe they should've thought a little bit more in advance. What happens after we get in? What non-academic skills and knowledge did they infuse in us?

Maybe they did try. The deputies gave us those speeches during assembly about becoming more engaged and seizing opportunities. But I think they talked the talked and didn't follow it with the 'walk' part. What opportunities did the school give us? The SRC? A handful of students out of 250?

I want to make it clear that there were teachers who really did try. And I admire their effort since students didn't exactly make it any easier. If you grew up in a community like mine, you'd understand what I mean. People don't really want to think for themselves. (I should know because that was me as well). And now all that stuff I'm learning in Foundations to International Studies is coming to the surface and I want to blame it on Asian cultures being collectivist societies....

Anyhoo, those were all my problems with high school education. I don't know how I got here - I started this post with the intention of talking about education in general. Ha, typical. Please ignore the last five paragraphs.

What I really wanted to say before I got into that whole spiel about high school is that education in its present state doesn't really set you up for life very well. This is just my personal opinion and I know a bijillion people out there would be happy to argue against this. I'm not saying we shouldn't be learning Science or English. I'm just saying that the way we're being taught and assessed doesn't always match up with the real life application and more importantly, the repetitiveness of it sucks all the joy out of learning.

I have an essay on cultural globalisation due in 2 weeks time. I was actually feeling quite good about this assignment because I'd chosen an interesting topic comparing the beauty ideals of India and Korea. I was happy to read through the journal articles and watch a couple of videos. I would've also been quite  happy to do a big ranty post about my findings (although you guys probably wouldn't have appreciated it much). But putting it into essay form just about killed all that mojo. I understand the importance of writing but WHY in that particular style and WHY does it have to use all this convoluted, pretentious language. I have interesting stuff to say but you want me to phrase it all boring-like and use double spaces in between my lines. WHAT IS THIS SUPPOSED TO ACCOMPLISH. Yer makin' me hate what I've learnt.

 A Visual Representation of All the Fucks I Give About University Assignments Over Time

Same with the PR assignment. It was good because it forced you to do all the proper research before coming up with an actual campaign. But then they had to ruin it by telling you to include theoretical references. Wut. That's like telling me I need to include cavier in my hamburger because it'll make it more sophisticated.

In conclusion, education is only good so far as it encourages you to learn and expand your opportunities. But while we're doing all that studying, I think it's also important to keep in mind that we should be learning outside as well, or at least engaging with things that interest us and enrich our lives. /end conclusion that sounds way more cheesy than I wanted it to

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