QUOTE


"School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence." - H.L. Mencken

Man I hate school

by deanesmay.com


Have I ever mentioned that I hate school?

Every once in a while I'll say that to someone, and they'll chuckle at me indulgently. The funny thing? They appear to be completely unaware that in response to their chuckling, my primary urge is to put my fist through their teeth.

I hate school. I don't mean it's a pain in the ass. I don't mean it's annoying. I mean that if you told me today that if I drove a red-hot nail through my hand and in exchange for that I could have my degree and wouldn't have to go to class anymore, in two seconds that nail would be through my hand.

I'm not joking. I'm not being hyperbolic, either.

Week in and week out of having to drag myself to an experience I loathe so deeply and so passionately has been one of the biggest psychic energy drains on me of the last two and a half years. Comforting to know I've only got a year and a half of it left, I suppose. "Over the hump" and all that. Although still, to this day, every time I'm presented with an excuse to quit, I have to spend a long time talking myself out of it.

In fact, right at this very moment I have an opportunity to quit. I have an excuse. All I have to do is fail to file some paperwork they just mailed me, and I'm out. I'm fighting myself right now to make myself fill it out. Fill it out just so I can have the "privilege" of continuing to punish myself with something I hate so much, and piling up more debt I don't want in the process.

Why do it? Well, I do it for my family. That is the only reason. I get absolutely no value--none, zero, zip, nada--from college, except whatever status it brings me professionally, and I only care about that because of my family.

Someone usually responds to such statements by saying, "what's the matter, you don't like learning?" Actually punching such people in the teeth would be excessive. Perhaps a boot to the gut would suffice. "No, moron, it's not that I don't like learning. I learn every day, in every way, in the same way that people like Edison and Lincoln learned: with books, and by talking to people, not by sitting in some classroom, sweating out the minutes, wishing to God I was somewhere else."

I have an excellent GPA, as it happens, but you could take everything I've learned in the last two and a half years, write it down, and teach it to me in 1/10th the time and 1/100th the cost. Learning is not what most modern universities are about.

Not long ago someone told me that I'm a "different person" because of college. Yeah, a more surly, cynical, annoyed person with a lot more debt.

I've also had people tell me that college "expands your mind." Yeah, it's expanded it into a deep and abiding contempt for higher education in the United States, and a tendency to view people with college degrees as even dumber than I thought they were before.

The best, though, is this: "college teaches you how to learn." My ass. It does a far better job of teaching you how to sit there and not learn, from what I've seen.

It appears to me that the only thing I've learned in college is how to sit down, shut up, and jump through hoops without much complaint. Which is, perhaps, the real purpose of undergraduate education today. Because it sure as hell isn't the acquisition of knowledge. Yeah, maybe you get that in law school, in tech schools, med schools, etc. But your typical undergrad education? Feh. Learning is the last thing anyone cares about anymore.

I really, really hate school, and I mean in the literal sense of "counting the days until I'm finished like a prisoner counts the days until his release." Have I ever mentioned that?

By the way, you there. Yeah, you. The one who's about to leave me a comment saying, "Cheer up Dean, you'll look back when it's all over and be proud of what you've accomplished!" Before you type it, just stop yourself. Don't even try it, Bunky. No, I will not feel proud. "Relieved" is the most positive emotion I'm likely to feel, and I'll be glad if that's all I feel.

Why the hell do we put people through this? I get it it for highly specialized fields like law and science. For anything else, I have trouble thinking of it as anything but either an elaborate joke, or simply an expensive initiation rite, the buy-in price to be a member of an exclusive club of people who've proved they can suck enough dirt to buy their way into a decent job.

Man I hate school.

Written by: deanesmay.com
05 November 2004





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