At My Wit's End

posted in School on Jan 29, 2007

Today came a realization that it has been nearly twenty years since I have had one year without school. You know, back when I was a toddler. While this revelation comes to no surprise to anyone who can figure simple arithmetic, it serves to strengthen my case for me being completely and utterly worn out of going to class and sitting through lectures that I find dreary and boring.

I’m not the only one who has gone this long, and many more have gone longer. For me, however, I’m nearing the edge of my sanity. Those who share my length in time in school generally have a love for what they’re doing or becoming, which staves off the intense dullness of it all. I, on the other hand, have chosen poorly – in a very Indiana Jones-ish sense of the phrase – and I can nearly feel the skin and very essence of my being melt away at the thought of waking up and trudging to class like the proletariat of Chicago in the early 1900s making their way to the meat packing facilities in the mornings. (Yes, I’m currently reading The Jungle.)

I’m not trying to downplay education, or even the fact that I’m very lucky to be where I am right now. I am, however, hitting the extremes of what I figure is my usefulness as a college student in terms of the output that I’m bringing to class and homework. It’s at the point where I feel like I have to do schoolwork just for the sake of schoolwork. There is seemingly no advantage to any of it. I can do accounting problems all day, but if there is no real life counterpart to those problems than sitting in class and being lectured over them, how am I supposed to feel like my time is well spent? This is a very traditional way of working, and in my earlier years, working like this no doubt brought a foundation to my education and the way that I learn. Nowadays, though, just doing work because a professor says it needs to be done isn’t enough. At this level of education, shouldn’t there be something more than a classroom and a book? I see nothing outside of four white walls, a desk with tremendous amounts of eraser shavings on the top (seriously, who sits at my desk before me?), and a projector displaying ugly Power Point slides that tells me how real world economics or accounting is supposed to work. Doing a “case study” or twenty problems on whether an object is batch-level or facility-level doesn’t really help me when I’m looking for a job other than familiarization with terms, which I can do on my own if need be. It’s not as if my professors aren’t good teachers. That’s not the case; I actually like all of my professors this semester. There’s just not enough in a classroom setting to get me motivated for anything that is being taught.

All of this of course sounds whiny and it makes it out like I don’t appreciate where I’m at in my life and the things others have helped me with to get me here. That’s not the case. The case is that I don’t feel like more school is the answer for me at this point in time. Getting some actual, real life experience sounds very much more exciting and fun. Will I drop out? No. Have I thought about it? Yes. In the end I know I’ll just stick it out and finish what I’ve started, but the percentage of my thoughts that meander away from school and studying will only increase as time goes on, and the importance I place on exams and homework will increasingly wane because honestly, folks, there’s so much more than a test score or a GPA out there. Twenty years of school has taught me that much.