Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday on School Survival Skills

Hi, guys.

Over here in good ol' Pennsylvania, we have just started school, and I've spent the last two days listening to some horrifying pronouncements.

Case in point A --

"We won't be reading any fiction in this class."

I've spent at least twenty minutes trying to figure out if this was a red herring or a really weird expression I'm unfamiliar with, but I've come to the sad conclusion that it's just a (kind of unpleasant) truth.

Case in point B--

"There will be a lot of writing in this class, but it will not require creativity. It will be tedious, but you will get a better great if you simply regurgitate the information given to you."

Any one who has ever taken notes on a history textbook knows there are only so many ways to say "and then the Europeans killed them and took their land" before you want to throw the fifty pound book through the nearest wall.

Case in point C--

"Hi, welcome to your math class this year."

No explanation needed.

Even for people like me, who actually like school (I'm told this is rare), things can sometimes get tedious and frustrating. So, I have some suggestions.

  1. When you're in class that requires you to write in a dry technical way, it can be tempting to assume you're going to be bored to death. Try to focus on the language itself, or something you DO find interesting in that five thousand page U.S. History book. Maybe you'll discover you find rhetoric or linguistic really interesting. Or maybe you'll be fascinated by the Neolithic Revolution.
  2. If you wish your class had more castles/fiction/poetry/whatever, go out and learn about it yourself. No one said you couldn't read a classic novel out of class just for the heck of it. And just because the course you are in doesn't cover something, that doesn't mean you can't decide you want to know more. 
  3. Your dislike of a class doesn't mean it's not valuable. Learning anything about the world helps you become a more informed citizen of it. Even if the subject doesn't seem to relate to you life, it's still useful to know the basics, even if that's only because you want to do decently on the SAT or another standardized test that is looming in your future.
  4. Chill out. It all seems really, really important right now. Some of it is, but you have to prioritize. Worrying about everything is only going to bring you down.
  5. Go to sleep. You'll regret your late night movie marathon in the morning (I usually do).
Don't die.