We’re all asked from a very young age, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and you’ll notice that each time the question arises the answer changes, and that’s okay to a certain point, or at least until society tells us otherwise.
But as most of you will know, our passions change; our opinions, friends, knowledge, it all grows and changes so why are we told from such a young age that we must pick a career and stick with it for the rest of our lives?
There are many milestones in life and a big one is education. Being brought up in a western society, I have the massive privilege of education being handed to me on a silver platter. However, though I feel grateful for the knowledge I have today, I still disagree with how children are goaded and pushed towards a certain path during their time in the education system.
The story is always the same: you sit behind a desk surrounded by your peers in complete silence, staring at a board and revising the words written on it for a test that will cease to be relevant once you’re done.
I was inspired after watching a video which you may or may not be familiar with. I JUST SUED THE SCHOOL SYSTEM is a motivating and influential piece of art. I use the word ‘art’ because it is unlike anything I have heard or seen before. The Youtuber, known as Prince Ea, addresses a jury as the defendant of ‘the people’. The suspect being ‘the school system’. In the video Prince talks about how much of an effect the modern school system has had on the children of the twenty-first century.
Children are taught to believe that there is only one path to follow, and that is that you must achieve high grades in school to go on and study at university and in order to begin a career — that you may or may not want.
This pattern became more apparent to me when I started sixth form and was immediately told that I needed to think about the university I wanted to go to and the course I wanted to study and so on … However, there were so many people around me saying that they didn’t know what they wanted to do; becoming stressed over the fact that everyone seemed to have their life in order when in fact it was the complete opposite. This academic mentality has led thousands of students to spend £30,000+ on tuition fees and courses they’re doing largely because they haven’t been given much other choice.
There may be readers out there who may disagree with what I am saying, but the fact is that I am not writing this for you; I am writing this for the people out there who are stuck because they’re being told that they have no other option. I am writing this for the people who cannot afford university fees, I am writing this to let people know that there are other options and that you shouldn’t be so hung up on the fact that you don’t yet know what to do with your life at the tender age of eighteen. Your life is there to explore, to fail, to succeed, and whatever you may decide to do with it, this is not something you have to know as soon as you leave school. You can travel, you can study, you can work. You’ll go through several jobs in your lifetime and that’s okay! Heck, you can go from being a small-town waitress to a highly paid dermatologist for all I care. The main point is that you do it for you and nobody else.
As a society we have the tendency to label people. Fat, Thin, Gay, Straight, Dumb, Smart, Perfect … the list goes on. And from this, the school system also uses labels for its students. If you are ‘smart’ it means you are good at academic things such as maths, science and English; but if you cannot achieve high grades the way your ‘smart’ peers do, then you are deemed ‘stupid’. The school system favours its academic students while convincing the less able ones that they will never succeed.
There is a famous quote that Albert Einstein once said: ‘Don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree’. There is a reason why this man was awarded the Nobel Prize; as a man who suffered from dyslexia he was repeatedly told that he could not succeed, but this didn’t discourage him and eventually he proved the world wrong. His quote reminds us that though you may not be naturally able at certain things, that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of doing something else. The message is that we must believe each of us to be equally capable of achieving greatness, and to do this we must support each other.
So I’ll finish my rant there. We are all here for a reason and you have to imagine yourself on your 80th birthday. Will you be happy with the choices you’ve maid, or carry years of regret for the things you wish you had done?