I guess my day could be best organized by what I learned in it, as I've been trying to re-integrate that aspect into my education. I'm not quite sure where it slipped away, but in the life of an honors student at a competitive prep school is not about learning anything. The swarm is thronging and banging into the fluorescent lights that say "Grades! Scores! College Admissions! High-paying Job!", and just like insects in the dead of night, mistaking the sign for the moon. All of which is a perfect segway into the first thing I learned today(not chronologically speaking):
The Question We Should be Asking
Stop asking me "Wha'd'ya Get?"!!! The grade I got on the last pop quiz is among the least relevant numbers in the universe, followed only by the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. I started strategically dog-earing the front covers of all my graded assignments when Cs and Ds started popping up earlier this year, and now, even though I'm getting better ones (most of the time) I'm trying unsuccessfully to fan the flames of Academic Revolution in which the overworked perfectionist preps would declare to the world that the Honors-AP path is a trap, holding you back from exploring your passions and that working for straight As stops you from learning the gazillion other things that high-schoolers should be learning! (I'm working on it). But I've continued to dog-ear the page.
Oh unnamed Grade Weasel who sits next to me in math class, do you not see that I have covered my grade? It is not that I am ashamed of it, as I once was, back in the fall. I am no longer as fearful of admitting what I deem to be failure as I am of being naked in public (a thing of which I'm pretty damn afraid). The reason, oh otherwise perfectly reasonable Grade Weasel, I have dog-eared my pop quiz is that I don't want it to be about grades. And you're killing it.
In place of Grade Weasel questions like "Wha'd'ya get?" and "How did you do?" (a slightly more polite Grade Weaseling question with the exact intention), here is the question that we the students need to be asking ourselves and our peers in order to liberate ourselves from the predetermination of our futures by a group of adults who generally (with the exception of a few incredibly wonderful people) never bother to get to know us beneath our "Incorrigible!" flaws.
What did you learn today? The question that dinner tables are shockingly devoid of was replaced by a far more Grade Weasel-y question: What did you get on that [insert subject] test, sweetie? It sounds so innocent, so motherly or fatherly or adoptive/foster care guardian-y, but I assure you, while parents may say it with good intentions, they're distracting students from the point of getting an education (learning, duh). Why aren't parents asking about that? Why don't we ask ourselves about that! If the point of high school was to get a rubber stamp, then nobody would care about dropout rates on the other end of the academic spectrum. Honestly, people should also be worrying about the students on this end of the spectrum who are driving themselves crazy for the A, and loosing learning in the process, being taught to fill in a bubble rather than live in our complex, multi-dimensional world. Maybe these kids are learning more than the dropouts, but at least the dropouts have to learn emotional skills, figure out what they want to do with their lives, and pick up some information outside of the classroom. Here, we're all learning for the test, and the test doesn't necessarily know what an individual student will need to know in ten years. Seriously, think about it. What did you learn today?
All Surprise Parties Should be Held at 2 in the Morning
After a 2 hour brain-overload induced nap, I was just getting revved up again to do some work on an english assignment when Mrs. Seal, my motherly, elementary-school teaching dorm parent at school knocked on my door, and told me I needed to go somewhere (even now I'm not sure where she said). My disengaged brain didn't remember that my birthday is this weekend, or that I wasn't sure why she was taking me wherever the hell she was taking me. So, when I walked into the lounge to see the entire dorm gathered shouting "SURPRISE!" and my parents all dressed up, standing awkwardly in the corner, I was caught completely off guard and mortified (albeit not so much as to be unhappy with the turn of events) as I stood there uncomfortably, not only through the shouting, but the singing that ensued. And although my fight-or-flight instincts kicked in (and were only quelled by the fact that I would have to push past Mrs. Seal to get out the door), I was somewhat embarrassingly, but also somewhat happily taken by surprise because I was still half asleep.
This seems fairly irrelevant, besides the implications for throwing surprise parties, but I promise it's not. If a calculating high schooler who can predict the people she knows better than some psychologists was caught off guard by drowsiness, what can happen to ordinary trusting people, when ill-intentions or ill-actions are at play? Is this how people are tricked into absolute belief in the divinity of a despotic ruler or the rule of a despotic Divine? (See, I told you I make Him hate me). It's interesting to see how little pre-occupied people think. Car crashes almost exclusively happen in situations where a driver's attention is diverted to something other than the road, and, in the same way, society crashes are too, I'd suppose. I maintain and will continue to maintain, unless it's unequivocally proven otherwise, that Jersey Shore is killing us all.
I guess that's most of the big, interesting things I've learned today. Sure, I learned that the boiling point of Methanol is 65ºC, and that the US embargo on sending war matériel to Japan is what caused the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and that, in spanish, The word "Si" (meaning if, not "sí" meaning yes) is either followed by the imperfect of the subjunctive and then conditional or present and then future. But none of those things have any larger implications than their particular uses; the boiling point of methanol is good to know in oil refining, the cause of the Pearl Harbor bombing is an interesting historical fact, and I'm sure I'll use the models for verb tenses when speaking spanish, but they really don't effect my life outside those realms. So I'm trying to shatter the glass box of grade obsession that's held me captive for so long. When I'm burning in Hell, know that my only goal was to break free...