The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views


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Has the fall in intellectualism stemmed from poor educational systems or lazy students?

I can vividly remember the invigorating feeling of curiosity that sparked in my head as I listened to an intellectual conversation between my mom and her friends. They sat together outside around a bonfire under the stars, roasting marshmallows. As I quietly watched my marshmallow roast, I listened intently to their conversation as my mom’s friend explained the plot of one of her favorite books. She talked about how she believed that the most beautiful message was actually the way the author portrayed the beauty and comfort in death. 

This confused me. Imagine you are 7 years old, listening to a conversation about the beauty of death. It didn’t make sense. I hadn’t even grappled with the complexity of the idea of death in itself, let alone seeing it in a positive light. I couldn’t help but chime in at this point in the conversation. I had so many questions. So many emotions. All I wanted to do at that moment was learn how to read well enough to read that book. I wanted all of the answers. 

I truly wanted to understand. 

I am now a junior in high school, and am submerged in an environment where grades are the number one priority in education. I walk into my AP Lang class every other day, immediately being hit with a wave of nerves as my classmates all shower each other with questions about the most recent homework assignment. Comparing ourselves to each other, a sense of insecurity builds in all of us as we think that our peers may have taken a better approach to the assignment. One that our teacher may or may not like more. One that could receive a better grade. 

I am a victim to this feeling of perfectionism. My desire to get an A on an assignment is high, even if I am forced to prioritize memorization rather than genuine understanding of a subject. It is certainly necessary to develop study habits that specifically aid individuals in receiving a good grade. There is not an issue with students earning good grades, the problem is our lack of desire to take anything away from the knowledge we build in school. 

When I sit at home, shoveling a pile of psychology vocab terms into my brain, memorizing key words that I know will be present on a test, I find myself feeling a bit ashamed. I love psychology. I am passionate about it. So why am I minimizing my educational experience? Is it the school system that is stealing all of my time away from learning on my own, or am I just lazy?

One thing that I do know is that I am exhausted. As a student athlete, nights after school involve a minimum of two hours spent on homework, two to four spent on working out and training, and around an hour and a half dedicated to eating and hygiene and all the other nightly necessities. While I’m not great at math, that leaves me with approximately one hour of free time (if I want to be asleep by midnight). While these numbers range depending on the day, they are definitely a crunch. I don’t know about you, but in my final hour of my night I would prefer to watch my current hyperfixation show than research further into the findings of Sigmund Freud. 

My teachers always tell me to not be afraid to fail. That it is okay to receive a bad grade. But is it? If I don’t get a specific GPA, then I won’t get into a good college and then I won’t find a career that will make me successful and fulfill the American dream. It feels like school isn’t about learning. At this point, school is designed to teach youth how to get an A. Not a true education that fosters creativity and passion to seek knowledge. 

I’m sick of the contradictory feelings of laziness and exhaustion. While spending each day working diligently on obligations, I lose sight of looking more into concepts that truly interest me. 

Maybe, us students should start by expanding our intellectual horizons within school. Be a little more engaged. A little more open to learning about new ideas. Willing to take those few extra minutes of homework in order to fully understand, and a few extra to expand. Maybe, although the school system at this school is rigorous, and enervating at times, we need to recognize the amazing opportunity we all have to learn and grow our consciousness. But certainly, we need to hold the school system accountable for the type of learners they are breeding.  

The next time you sit down in class, channel your inner child’s curiosity. Not only will it help you get that A you’ve been craving, but it will help build the habit of enjoying academia and actually taking something out of all the time spent learning.

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