Meaningful Acitivites

Garrett - Apple Creek, Ohio
Entered on April 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose, question
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“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” Theodore I. Rubin

I believe in meaningful activities.

When I was in elementary school the teachers would often start off the day with a simple question. This highly educated person would ask, “Why are we here today?” My classmates, along with myself would reply in unison, “To learn.”

Now, as I think back to those innocent days of recess, play dough, and the beginnings of Math, History, English, and other such subjects I can completely understand why I was there. It was necessary for me to learn these things for everyday life, and to be around other people to encourage social, mental, and social advancement.

However, as I continued to reminisce on my school years of the past I begin to wonder. Why do I need to know Algebra? Will my life depend on complex equations and the value of “x”? If I would become a professional artist, then do I need to know the types of rocks and how they were formed? Personally I often find this information interesting, and Math is one of my favorite subjects. But, if I’m not going to become a rocket scientist, or another occupation that includes algebraic expressions, then why should I waste two high school classes on it? Possibly even more in college, when I may never really need to know it past solving the simplest of equations.

This wasting of time is not restricted to the classroom, but it can be found in an average household, a workplace, and commonly in politics. Many people are paid for nothing but pushing papers around, while others dig dirt in one hole just to fill another. My least favorite thing to do at school is what is frequently called “busy work”, meaning that the teacher gives the students work that either doesn’t help us to progress (such as coloring in Geometry), or is very simple, but it requires time to do (word-find in German or English).

Many things that I find a complete waste of time may not be the same to the people around me. However, when a teacher of Algebra is unable to give a better reason for learning his own subject, than that it is required for most colleges, it begins to upset me. My dream is to get into the higher echelons of the medical field, and so would not my time be better-spent researching anatomy and physiology?

The time had come. My hands were steady, but inside I was trembling. I had waited years for this. I endured years of schooling, and spent thousands of hours researching for this time. Hundred, if not thousands of times I had failed, but now I was so close. My purpose, to create the long awaited cure for cancer and therefore save millions of lives. To find a better project would be hard, and little could demand more effort, education, and focus. Accomplishing this would bring a lifetime of satisfaction, and a great happiness throughout the world.

This is a simple example of a project with a purpose. Someday I hope to accomplish this very goal, and I know I would have the motivation to do it. For now though, I guess I have to finish my Algebra homework.