I am Jack

I knew this would happen some day. I’ve spent the last twelve years thinking about it, preparing for it, and imagining what it would be like. Applications are in. Acceptance letters are being received.

I’m going to college.

As someone who was dual-enrolled all throughout my high school years, college classes aren’t much of a worry for me. After completing over sixty credit hours at my local community college, post-secondary courses are nothing to be afraid of. What intimidates me is…well…everything else.

I’m moving out of my childhood home. I’m leaving my town, my community, my church, my family; all the familiarity will be a thing of the past. I’m going to a strange city, living on a strange campus, surrounded by strange people. Change is necessary for life, but it’s a difficult adjustment.

As odd as it is, I keep comparing myself to Jack and the Beanstalk. I’ll bet Jack was scared to scale the beanstalk, but the adventure was something worthwhile. (Unless we’re talking about Into the Woods. Then the adventure was not worthwhile, it was deadly…spoiler alert.) Well, going away to a university feels like the equivalent to scaling a beanstalk. It’s big, scary, and there might be a giant or two to conquer, but it’s an adventure.

I am Jack. College is my beanstalk.

Bring on the giants.

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Motivation

There are times in this life when I feel like I’m charging full speed ahead. There are times when I feel as though I’m an arrow, completely unstoppable, shooting towards my target. There are times when I feel like I can conquer the world.

This is not one of those times.

When I was in high school, I laughed at the idea of “senioritis.” I rolled my eyes and called it “laziness.” I didn’t understand how people who are so close to the end of their high school careers could simply stop caring. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was more determined than ever. I was dual-enrolled in several college classes; I was the lead in one of my favorite classic musicals, The Wizard of Oz; I was in a ridiculously fun and educational Western Literature class with the coolest teacher I’ve ever had; my life, to put it simply, was awesome.

Of course I had my moments when all I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and cry. Who doesn’t? Senior year can be seriously hectic. I certainly felt the mounds of stress between production week, final exams, term papers, and my nearing graduation, but I somehow had the motivation to power through all the stress. I knew that if I did, I would be done. I would have conquered something. Sure enough, I set my mind to it and by the grace of God I finished up an amazing and wildly fun high school career. Did I mention I got straight A’s, had a terrific run as Dorothy, and made friendships that will transcend this lifetime? Well, I did. It’s pretty awesome.

I thought that by powering through my last few months as a high school teenager I would be released into the world as a mature, motivated college student.

I now laugh at my own ignorance.

You see, just because I graduated high school does not mean I suddenly have my life figured out. I’m currently enrolled in college and I’m still not sure what I want to study. To make matters worse, I don’t care. I finally understand the concept of “senioritis.” It is the cruel period of time (usually occurring during senior year) in which one does not give a rat’s…well, you know.

It’s not that I don’t care about my grades, my life, or my future. I do. I just don’t currently have the motivation to do anything about any of it. I’m aware that my grades are slowly slipping, but I’m not putting my best effort in my assignments or exams. I’m aware that I’m almost finished with my A.A. degree and that I need to figure out my major, but I’m not doing any soul-searching to discern what I should study. I’m aware that I should be writing my sociology term paper instead of this blog post, yet here I am, over 480 words later, not caring.

When did I get so lazy?

I know for certain that I’m not the only human being who deals with these issues. Self-motivation is a difficult virtue for anyone to master on their own. Usually, people get a little nudge of inspiration from someone else first. If anybody out there is reading this, I could use some help. I could really use a little nudge.

Einstein Says Everybody Is a Genius

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein

I first enrolled in classes at my local community college when I was only a sophomore in high school and fifteen years old. Since then, I have completed a total of twelve courses, averaging a grade of an A or B in each. I am currently enrolled in three more courses–one math and two sciences–currently holding high B’s and an A. I am an excellent student, as my transcripts and past grades have shown.

Yet to the leaders of our modern-day education system, all I’ve accomplished still is not enough.

You see, I am an extremely visual, hands-on, active learner. I cannot simply read something and retain it, or hear something and understand it. I have to have it thoroughly shown, clearly drawn-out, and explained before I finally grasp it; but once I do grasp it, it stays with me and I become a walking encyclopedia about that particular topic. For example, ethics was a difficult class for me to get into because the material itself was–to be blunt–extremely boring. However, my teacher was exceptional and had a massive amount of talent. She was able to utilize interactive learning and exercises so I was able to truly grasp each ethical approach we studied. Now I can tell you all about the details of egoism or about the philosopher Immanual Kant or about what it means to be a sentient being, and that is all thanks to a brilliant teacher who actually CARED ABOUT LEARNING.

Oddly enough, that is a trait which most leaders in the educational system lack today: the care for actual learning. Everything now is SAT this and ACT that. I often hear the usual “you won’t get into a good college if your SAT scores don’t improve,” as well as “you will never get accepted for that hefty scholarship if your ACT scores don’t at least reach this specific minimum.”

SAT this. ACT that.

You know what I have to say? ENOUGH.

Enough of this conformity and confinement. Everyone is a genius in their own way. Everyone can learn in their own way. Everyone can succeed in their own way. Stop trying to make us all prove our worth in the same way.

^This is what it looks like to set the majority up for failure. It’s time that we overthrow this vicious dictatorship of standardized test scores. I demand more than what I am being offered in terms of education. I deserve more than what my standardized test scores are allowing, because–in spite of what they convey to society–I am a smart person.

Let me show it in the ways I can best.