Friday, October 19, 2012

The System

This post is a quasi-rant. Be warned.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the school system hinders me. Most of the time I’m okay with school in the sense that I’m not actively wishing I was somewhere else - but most of the time, I’m also thinking that I could be spending my time more productively.

For example: in Italian, why do we spend so much time on localized activities that purport to review, say, possessive adjectives, instead of talking and reading in Italian and therefore getting a sense of how to put sentences together? Language grows organically, and I want to be able to hold a conversation in Italian more than I want to be able to conjugate (though, ideally, I’d be able to do both).

Another example: my history class rarely deviates from the daily quiz, notes/lecture format. I’d rather talk about religion or ethics or philosophy with the guy who sits behind me (the guy with whom I had the gourment v. glutton conversation).

I get that it’s important to understand our country’s history. But surely it’s more important for us to develop our own thoughts and opinions about topics, leading naturally to research into the past to make sure we have a solid foundation for our beliefs.

A third example, since I seem to be on a roll in dictating how my school should be run: my math teacher is excellent as far as the system goes. But with examples and notes and problem sets, I can see why some people have given up on math. Surely there’s a way of teaching math that shows how interesting it is.

I decided a while ago to take my education into my own hands. First, I’m reading all the books I’ve bought; I am also teaching myself how to code (progress reported on my other blog, Knowledge is Power). I’m also paying close attention to myself so I can figure out what to do for optimum performance.

Trouble is, the school system and my system sometimes fight - and because I care about my grades (what a shame, that so much of my pride is tied up in school), usually the external system wins.

Trouble is, also, that it goes against my instinct to work with the system: I want to bring it down.

So, at this point I’ve reached an impasse. On weekends I read all I want, explore, talk things through to myself. During the school week, homework eats my time. What to do?

I’m not sure. To do the things I want to do is to pile more work on myself; not to do them is to let the external system beat me. What to sacrifice, my sleep or my pride?

This isn’t a real answer, I know, and I don’t want to leave you with just my whining and speculative insurrection. So here is an image that, in my sleep-deprived mind, is relevant:
Drifting Clouds
Caspar David Friedrich

At the very least, it offers a refuge from the frustrations of the high school student. I mean, who values my time more than I do? No one. Who can best decide how to spend it? Being an arrogant sixteen-year-old, I say me. Certainly I know more about what's good for me than school administrators...

But enough. It will not be a restful weekend - but I must believe that I can be happy in the midst of it all. My life is, in relative terms, easy. And to bear this worthily is good fortune.


  1. I SO know what you mean...of course to take matters into your own hands you'd need 72hrs-days so no, it would be physically impossible for you to do everything both as it is required by the school and as *you* would want to do it.
    And don't beat yourself up for wanting good's actually very nice of you to admit to that and there is nothing wrong with it, at all (or at least i hope so, or there would be something very wrong with me). :)
    You know I decided to give up early and used high-school to teach myself English (I'm kind of ignorant about the other subjects - especially history and such - even though i was straight As in high-school too I didn't end up retaining much). I can tell you that the main way i used to knock some English into my skull was watching tv-shows in eglish with english got easier and easier with time and now i can't live without it :) it's been about 7-8 years since i switched languages for my tv-time (so yeah, i was your age). You should probably try to do the same, watch stuff in italian with italian subtitles, keep a dictionary nearby (or better still a dictionary in your computer if you watch stuff on the computer) is probably going to be a little bit more difficult than it was for me cause english is so VERY EASY compared to italian, but still if you try i can assure you that it is going to get easier and easier till you find yourself understanding basically everything and able to hold a conversion. Maybe start slow, watch your favourite movie in italian (with italian subs..that's the key).
    Anyways, have a good week end :)

    1. So, for the subjects that are not important, good enough really is good enough...I like the sound of that. :)

      I certainly will look for movies with Italian subtitles. Oh, and do you have any bands you'd like to recommend?

    2. yes exactly, good enough really is good enough :)

      I'm not much of an expert on music, i've actually got pretty lame taste in music (i just listen to travis and michael bublè) and i don't like italian so i don't really listen to italian music, still if you like love songs like me (lame, i know) you should listen to italian songs from the 60s and 70s, there are many i like, i listen to them on tv on the weekend with my dad <3 among the ones i like best there are 'la cura' by franco battiato and 'ti penso' or 'perdere l'amore' by massimo ranieri, if you like that sort of thing i'll suggest more