What Is Important In Education?

Gary - Wayne, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

High school. These past four years of my life have been probably my toughest years. Expectations, class loads, college pressures. Everything added up to one abnormally busy and stressful time. Combined with all the tennis I play outside of school, I know I have had precious “free time” to actually think about what why I was doing things. But now that I’m already into college and the pressure is off, I can finally truthfully reflect. I might say that, “Oh, these years were really good, and got me prepared for the college life”. But truthfully, that optimistic portrayal of these years is far, far off.

Since I was young, one quote that I heard over and over again was “We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes”.

So, mistakes are a good thing right? Wrong. High school leaves no room for any error, no room for creativity. There are standards that I, and any other high school student, had to worry about. Getting all A’s, being the number one player on the tennis team, or even winning a student council position. Everything was a competition over getting the better resume. Though no student was ever reprimanded for “falling short”, there are definite consequences. Colleges look for the best, and one bad semester grade or one bad set of teacher recommendations could do you in. For me, after getting that one B in AP Calculus BC, I thought my chance to get into my dream college was gone.

Now that begs the question. What exactly is causing this increasing pressure? And truth be told, there is no simple answer. Society expects all students to excel, and almost scorns those who do not. Institutions of higher learning, which pride themselves on selecting only the brightest students, set almost unattainable standards. And even the students themselves are constantly competing and infighting for that precious class rank. Why is that? Why is there no room for cooperation or interactions? Students are repressed by this “competition”. I believe, that this inherent “I am better than you” attitude that our education system comes with, MUST change.

Granted, the education process of today might be the most efficient way to get students through school and onto jobs and such. But this process is creating machines, kids who try to fill templates. To change this attitude and foster individuals again, our society must learn what it means to learn. Colleges, even the top Ivy League universities, are looking for kids with skills outside of the classroom. I firmly believe that our education system must continue to follow this trend. Getting straight A’s in high school is important, but all students should be allowed to relax and excel in what they really like, music, art, or anything. Even after those B’s, I still managed to get into my top choice college. Mistakes in high school are not the end all and be all of a student’s education.