So I’m almost done with my second year at university. The quarter was off to a good start until yesterday when I found out some particularly distressing and insulting news about an event the honors college I am a part of was putting on. It is a mandatory day-long event during a Saturday that happens to fall on family visitation weekend and the opening weekend of my uni’s production of Les Miserables. If you can not attend the event you have to write a 4-5 page paper about one of the “four pillars” that make up the honors college with an annotated bibliography or else be suspended from the college next quarter. This has never been done in the past. In the past we have had quarterly “cultural events” and the first one I attended was the last real “cultural event” the college has put on. Back then if you could not go to that you had to go to a school event such as a play or concert and write a paragraph or two about your experience there. It benefitted the school by supporting the events. Now you write a paper that has no value and does not benefit anyone or else be suspended the next quarter. I feel like I’m in high school all over again with all their bullshit! So it got me thinking about all the things public school does and does not do for you.
What they don’t teach/tell/prepare you for:
- tax season
- job interviews
- buying a house
- renting an apartment/house
- paying bills
- how to budget your income
- how to raise a child
- how to actually work in the field you are interested in
- how to stay sane in stressful situations
- how to deal with family issues
- what the protocol is when someone is in the hospital
- just how much cable costs
- how banks work
- what cash-back is
What they do prepare/teach/tell you:
- Just how much bullshit you’re going to have to deal with from various organizations you are a part of, whether it is school or work or the government you are going to have to put up with some level of condescending and pointless bullshit.
Granted some of that “bullshit” isn’t “bullshit” anymore when put into the right context. Team building in your office is good because you work with those people, just don’t do it all the time. Team building across departments where you’re split into random groups probably isn’t very productive because when are you ever going to work with Bob from accounting ever again?
I learned some things in my public school experience, most of them from all of the teachers I had my senior year of high school, and I planned it out that way. I suffered through the first few years so that by the time I got to my senior year all I had left to take were electives and everything I learned in those classes I use today because I took the classes that will translate into my field(s) of work. Not all their classes are worthless, they just don’t offer/require any that have actual real-life value such as a class on how to do your taxes. I really could have used that.
So, yes, the honors college had to see the side of Aja that my old high school got to know and fear so well. I really did not want to have to do that in college, but they forced my hand. Their event is kind of pointless, but the penalty for not being able to go is just absurd. It’s unfair to punish those of us who have real, valuable things to do by making us write an essay that isn’t for a class or have any real intellectual value or else be kicked out. Sorry some people have to work for a living or made plans far in advance and can’t go to the thing you sprung on us last minute.
Takeaway lesson of the day: you don’t have to blindly follow everything people tell you to do. You do have a voice. And public schools need to include life-applicable classes along with calculus. Or just replace calculus with them.