Monday, February 24, 2014

Education And Things That Are Overlooked

I've often been criticized for voicing my opinion on going to a public school. I don't see why people should bash a good conversation about education. It's terribly important and seems to be a neglected subject. Perhaps it is because I'm a current student at a school and my opinion must mean that I'm either complaining or whining. But I'm not. I have a genuine concern for how the school system works and how students' attitudes influence their education.
When I go to school every day, I try not to care how I look or dress. I don't want it to distract me from my work. However, it seems as though very few people (next to none) think the same way as I do. I see people almost obsessed with how they look or appear to the opposite sex. I don't go to school to show off or look pretty, I'm going there learn and absorb myself into the textbooks and lectures. People, this is high school. If you are even a semi-normal person you shouldn't be looking for a mate when you're in your teens. Why spend the time dressing yourself up when you could be spending that time learning? Well, because people want attention. They want compliments. They want to feel like someone cares about them or that their "beauty" is good enough to be praised. They are constantly distracted. By phones, by friends, by people whom they don't like and must talk about, by everything but their schoolwork. The system is ruined because these kids can't concentrate on their work and don't care enough about their future to work hard in the present so that their future can come to be.
The people who have their lockers next to mine complain a lot about their classes and teachers and all the stupid work they have to do.
I pity them.
Their education isn't important enough to them to take charge and learn.
Instead, they must talk and complain relentlessly. They don't seem to have a passion for anything besides talking and gossip. How can these people be the future of our world? If we think that the leaders of our countries are terrible, what are they going to be like when we grow up?

I'm quite lucky to go to a top rated high school and learn from passionate teachers. However, I can't say that I'm happy going there, regardless of the stuff I learn. If I learned one-on-one with the teachers, I can say that I'd understand so much more. And that is saying something because I learn a lot each day I attend. A good portion of the students don't care about the work. They talk incessantly and don't listen. I wish there could be a class for only people who genuinely cared. Oh, but there is supposed to be. It's called an AP or Honors class. Except that isn't how the classes are. People are always chattering about their awful weeks or amazing trips to faraway places. School isn't a place for dedicated learning anymore, it has changed into a social palace. Why should you go to school instead of being homeschooled? Because you need to make friends and be sociable! One of the things I get asked the most and also makes me the most angry is this:
"But what about your social life? You need to make friends and be around people!"
I usually answer that I do extracurricular activities and I do indeed see people doing those. They shrug and mention how they could never be homeschooled. I politely smile and walk away. What I'd love to say is that I can't handle that many people at school and I wouldn't learn anything in that environment. But I know they wouldn't understand. How do I know that? Because I've said that before. And it turns out that every single person (besides one) has said that they don't understand.

When I was fully homeschooled, my mother took aside one day per week and devoted it to art. We learned about composers and their styles, music theory, painting and painters, drawing, handwork, writers, photographers, and such. We learned how to use the right side of our brains to develop creativity and let go of our critical thinking when we drew. While I didn't always like the lessons, I always learned a lot. Music was always important in my family. All of us were enrolled in music lessons on the instrument of our choice. I chose violin. I loved listening to all the classical composers as a young child, and just after I turned seven I started lessons. I thrived. I listened to classical music all the time. I couldn't stand the typical music that was played on the radio. It had to be classical. I have fond memories of waking up on Saturday mornings to NPR playing downstairs. My dad would turn on the radio and the beautiful notes would fly up to my bedroom. I remember eating breakfast and listening to the news on NPR. That was my life. Classical music is still my ultimate relaxation music. I close my eyes and fall into this weird state where my whole body stays absolutely still. My breathing slows and I instantly calm down.
Yesterday our track team had a Saturday practice. My coach put on classical music over the sound system. I got a little nostalgic; it reminded me of my childhood. While only one person commented on the choice, I could see that most people wanted some other music. It didn't really bother me, because it is fine for people to have other preferences, but I couldn't help but wonder if they just weren't ever exposed to classical music, or if they always listened to what was popular. I'm not saying that everyone has to love classical, but like its name says, it is classic. Everyone should study it and try to appreciate it.
I think music is something missing in our school system. Yes, there are music classes, but if someone wanted to be a world class musician, they'd have to take private lessons at a expensive institute. Trust me, I know. Good quality music lessons cost good money, and not everyone can afford that. There are so many talented people who don't live in an area where they can get that kind of education. See what I mean?
Music is a gateway to the unseen. It has the ability to heal wounds and tear people apart. A world without music is unthinkable. I don't know if I could live in such a world. A major part of my life has been and will be dedicated to music. I've invested so much time into it. I've poured my heart and soul into it. It's been my helping hand when I can't get up. I'm not sure where I'd be now if it weren't for music and the amazing teachers and conductors, not to mention the composers who made this beautiful world for us to enjoy.
And it's not just music. It's art. Books, knitting, drawing, painting, and dancing.
I know I've mentioned how most people my age don't have a hobby. It is one of the most aggravating things to hear about. I can see how sports can be considered a hobby, but it can't be your life. You'll burn yourself out and will lose your passion for with what you consumed your life. You'll be lost. I know that feeling. You need something to ground you, to help you move on when things fall apart. Yes, running is something you can do almost anywhere and is a fantastic stress reliever, but what happens when you get injured and can't run? When you're stuck on the couch because you overdid it? Things start to go downhill fast when you don't have anything to keep you in line.
I desperately want people of all ages to have a hobby. Something that can calm them down. It instills a passion and appreciation for art. If I didn't knit or draw, I wouldn't have such a deep appreciation for people who enrich the lives of us all. I wouldn't care about the earth because I wouldn't have spent all this time learning about it and straining my eyes to see the details. I can't imagine how awful my life would be if art hadn't been impressed into it over my childhood.
Art is the key to my world. Without art, my world would be lost. I would be lost.
And on that note, I'll take my leave.

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