Why Do We Keep Going Back To School?

All students, no matter what age, at some point, have been fallen into what they think is a rut. If you get to the end of this article, it means you’re probably in one. If you know why you’re in one, you don’t need to read on. If you love school, or at least see yourself using the trapezium rule or the binomial distribution in fifteen years, stop reading; I don’t want you to read on. I didn’t write this article to entertain people like you.

A rut, explicitly, is “a pattern of behaviour that has become… unproductive but is hard to change.” As you listen to your teacher tell you about something you won’t ever use, won’t ever repeat, won’t ever need, and, perhaps most importantly, won’t ever care about, the word “unproductive” seems to ring true. Do you find it rewarding? Let’s say that the opposite of productivity is synonymous with being superfluous and worthless. Yes, you’re learning something, however, do you really need to know it? Do you really need to be there? Do you really WANT to be there?

P.S.: When I say superfluous, am I touching upon your existence at school, or am I ridiculing what teachers call “The Syllabus”, but we students call “what’s gonna be on the test”?

So, the question is, apart from your friends (and the food), why do you keep going back?

Let us consider the student in year 9, without a care in the world, who obviously has feelings and emotions somewhat otherworldly to that of someone sorting out university accommodation and writing case studies in year 13. In year 9, being the antonym of “productive” is probably something along the lines of not attending lessons and not doing your homework. One can imagine that the transition that a student makes between GCSE and A-level is gargantuan – socially and mentally.

When I was a year 9, year 13’s didn’t look that anxious/depressed/bored/frustrated/tired. They looked free.

It’s the opposite though, isn’t it?

For your information, I don’t remember being unproductive in year 9. If I was, it didn’t matter anyway. Year 9 was a doss. Your head of year congratulated you upon excelling, not the governors; the contrast being that a teacher fails you, not the exam board. It seemed that rather than being a slave, you were a citizen. If you misbehaved, the teacher’s thought you were a stain, rather than a drain; that’s the difference between year 9 and year 13, respectively. In a year 9 Maths class, when you don’t understand, it’s not the end of the world. However, when you’re at that point in A-level Chemistry when you don’t even understand what you don’t understand, it may feel like it is the end of the world. Especially so, once you realise that if you work all weekend and attend sixth form when you’re not at work, what is the point? What IS the point?

Read on if it hasn’t hit you yet.

It feels like the end of the world, because your world is sixth form. Unfortunately, your world imprisons you. The keys being your (let’s hope) immaculate grades. What would you be without sixth form? Free to do anything you wanted. But, perhaps you stay because one day, (maybe, thanks to sixth form), you’ll be free to do anything you want.

That’s why you keep going back?

Query: is it worth it?

Reminiscent of the hold that corporations have over the government, the government over the media, the media over the people, the people over the kids, the kids over their toys, it’s apparent that your school has a hold on you.

The truth that an 18 year old doesn’t want to admit is that, there are those who are lead and there are those that follow. And as long as you remain at the centre of those four walls, you will always follow. School is your leader.

Depressing, isn’t it? School is: leader, world, escape, prison AND as long as you want the grades… you can’t do a thing about it. Teenagers have vibrant, imaginative minds and as a person with such a mind, it should irritate you that the reality of school is a dull one. The teachers can be as flamboyant as they like; the extra-curricular clubs can be as obscure as they like; the facilities can be as substantial as they like. It doesn’t matter when the syllabus remains the same.

Don’t get me wrong. Some aspects are great as taste is subjective. For instance, I take History and Physics, and respectively, I find Louis XV of France’s life and the life of a star equally enthralling. But, someone else might equal those lessons to that of a free period.

The bottom line is, school is tiring sometimes. Even the teachers understand that. As if it is a coincidence that “mourning” and “morning” are homonyms. As a sixth former, can you recall the last time you weren’t awake AND tired?

Surely it’s worth it though, right? That’s why you keep going back. Surely one day you’ll tell your children that you’re glad that you went to sixth form and learnt about NAND gates, permeable rocks, German foods and the nitrogen cycle?

If it doesn’t amount to something, will you?


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