School is a Scam
By Annie Woods
This article is biased. It’s biased because I never liked school. I sat in the back. I negotiated black market deals in the cafeteria so other kids would do my homework. In fact, I once posted signs around school marketing this business. They were in color, had a witty advertising line and eventually landed me a parent teacher conference with our 40 year old principal who still suffered from adult acne and had a little mustache that earned him the catchy nickname “Hitler”.
When I think back to what I actually learned in high school I am haunted by teachers so old they should have been in nursing homes, points deducted when words like “gosh” and “freaking” were used. I should probably mention here I went to an extremely religious private school that made learning anything remotely useful in the real world a joke.
By the time I took high school English I imagine it was my English teacher’s 200th time reading Hamlet. His lack of passion – as obvious to us as a mustard stain on a white t-shirt – is why I never opened that book. These people were grumpy dinosaurs. They inspired me only to rebel in one of two ways: 1. Be a smart-ass 2. Skip class entirely.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning. Rather, it was the pre-destined subjects we were forced to learn that I detested. I loved to read, but Shakespeare just couldn’t compete with David Sedaris or Tom Robbins, and if my school had found out that I was reading the hilarious autobiographical book of a gay man in New York City, they probably would have burned me at the stake – Crucible-style.
In my senior year of high school, a 42 question multiple choice aptitude test with questions like ‘On social occasions do you prefer listening to what is going on around you or do you prefer watching the goings-on?’ decided I would be either a paralegal or a flight attendant. I remember the other kids in my school high fiving each other as if they had won something great: “Dude, I’m going to be a pilot!”
I crumpled mine up and made a shot in the waste basket that would make Shaq blush.
I went to college for one year after high school. It was slightly more interesting than high school, mostly because I came across a fake id, and was really good at rolling joints. It was still an environment that killed creativity and bred conformity. I had to leave.
Which brings me to my THESIS STATEMENT (ß–college word): School is a scam. It is unfair, it divides people economically and separates the masses. With college now costing 400% more in the United States than it did just 30 years ago, access is definitely not equal.Yet our society continues to push and preach that having a degree will in someway set you free and make the “American Dream” more attainable. In reality, student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt for the first time ever. With a generation enslaved in debt, how can we expect people to attain new frontiers? What innovation and creativity can take place when the stress of debt and living suffocates the creative motivation you once had? And do we also sacrifice our wanderlust? Our ability to explore and learn from the world?
I guess what I am asking is: What is our trip to the moon?
School takes you in, sifts your pockets faster than you can say Bachelor’s Degree, and leaves you naked in the world with a sign tapped to your back that reads “good luck, kid”.
When people ask me now if I have a degree I smile and say: I have a library card, it was free.