School has never been something that has limited me and been so boring and mind numbing that I just want to quit, at least not all of the time. Although I am a learner who usually needs instructions and who is great with working with others in controlled environments, I still love to use my imagination. However, over the years, as in the words of Ashley Mccall, “I am acutely aware of how intentionally I have to work to renew my own lost imagination” (5). The education system has supported me in different ways, but it’s heavily lacking when it comes to creativity and imagination. Many times, teachers will say that there is no right way to do something and there are endless possibilities for an answer, especially in classes like English or history discussions. Yet it all really ends up coming down to a grade and that’s all we as students can focus on. I have been taught by this assembly line that is school, that I must do well now so I can then go to a good college and succeed even further in life. But because of this expectation to do well, it’s difficult to do new and difficult things confidently. The need to get a high grade out of a teacher has become more important than my personal creativity.
I feel as though I haven’t quite found a style of learning that makes me feel confident and comfortable with sharing. I think it stems from being willing to be disturbed, but not being quite willing to speak up. I am the type of person to do well on my assignments and homework, but when it comes time to speak up within a class discussion, I freeze up. If I want to claim my education, Adrienne Rich says that I must have “responsibility to [myself]” and “refuse to sell [my] aspirations short” (1). Even so, I am scared to.
“It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone”Mahatma Gandhi
While I have claimed my education in a more traditional sense through essays and tests, the education system hasn’t really taught me how to live in our current world. As a student and learner, I could really benefit from knowing what is happening in the world around me. However, I mostly get that information from online articles I read alone or from social media. And in this bubble that is Northbrook, I need that exposure to learn better. I am very willing to be disturbed on contemporary issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate change. I want to learn more about these topics so I can be confident when voicing my opinions. But because of school, “we weren’t trained to admit we don’t know” (Wheatley 1). I stop myself from speaking to a whole class about important things because I’m scared someone will say I’m wrong or that they disagree. I put so much into working up to the hard standards that are set for me and now can’t quite find the confidence to be myself in front of others in class.