Thursday, September 8, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: No More Pencils! No More Books! No More Teacher’s Dirty Looks!

Just had to do this one because I wanted to use the title…

Top 10 reasons why you are glad you are done with school.

1. No more drama. I somehow always managed to find the people (and sometimes I was the people) who had some sort of life-threatening issue with classes, or grades, or boy/girlfriends, or something that could easily be solved by just dealing with it. Doing badly in a class? Study harder, or drop the class. Homework assignment makes no sense? Ask the idiot professor who assigned it what s/he wants. Geez, kid, grow up.

2. No more ennui. Some of the classes could just bore the eyeballs out of you. I had an art history professor who had spent too much time inhaling turpentine fumes, who would stand with her back to us and drone on semi-coherently while the class caught up on their sleep, the homework from another class, or doodling in their notebook, waiting in vain for something interesting to spring from her mouth. One day a dog got loose in the class and was trotting up and down the aisles. She had no idea, and I don’t think she stopped talking.

3. No more all-nighters. Occasionally you managed to fall behind in a class and would have to spend the whole night writing a paper or doing some other assignment, or that Mickey-Mouse class you took because everyone said it was easy and everyone got out of it with at least a B turns out to be The Class From Hell and takes every waking moment to do the work, never mind you have three or four other classes that are just as demanding, requiring you to find some time to do the work for those. That’s when you decide “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”…

4. No more self-destructive behavior. I think I subsisted on coffee and cigarettes during the week and beer, coffee and cigarettes the rest of the time, even when I was living at home so I wouldn’t do that. We would have “Wild Turkey Day” at least once a quarter where you’d show up for school and be handed a paper cup filled to the rim with 100-proof whiskey. You generally took the day off from classes then.

5. No more having to please teachers. Half the game of getting through school, whether college, high school, middle school, elementary school, kindergarten, or Montessori was figuring out what exactly would make your teacher happy so that you have at least a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. Sometimes they wouldn’t be forthcoming with what they wanted, meaning you had to guess…

6. No more taking stupid classes because they’re required. I have a theory that the only reason you take so many stupid classes is because your teachers had to take them, and they want you to have the same torturous experience. You know, “If I had to spend four hours a week for a quarter learning this crap, so do you.”

7. No more grades. And, with it, no more trying to figure out what “classroom participation” which counts for twenty percent of your grade consists of.

8. No more having to explain bad grades. Some parents think that any grade less than a B means you failed the class. I got more than my share of C’s and D’s in my high school and college days, mostly because I couldn’t care less about the class, and I had to explain each one.

9. No more peer pressure. This is more a high school thing, but it comes up in college, too. Having the right clothes, the right haircut (or, in my day, not having a haircut), smoking the right cigarettes, having the right guitar, liking the right music, driving the right car… all the things that are basically meaningless except to sixteen-year-olds.

10. No more exams. And with it, no more academic bulimia where you “binge” on the class material so you can “purge” on the exam.

Looing at my list, I realize it doesn’t go away when you graduate and go out into The Real World®. You still have to deal with all this crap in the workplace. I submit that it’s because of the school experience that the workplace is like school, except instead of having to figure out your teacher, you have to figure out your manager, instead of having to explain to your parents why you got a D in Art History, you have to explain to your manager why the simple assignment they gave you has turned into a hot mess, etc. A big difference is, you can find another job, transfer to another department or location; you don’t have to just “buck up” and live with it.

So, what are the things you don’t miss about school?

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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