I am a junior in high school with all A’s and B’s. You might say I should feel proud or accomplished, but you would be lying.
So far, all I have accomplished is spending 11 years of my life hovering over textbooks, memorizing line after line, and standing in front of teachers and peers to be harshly judged on my ability to absorb and repeat information. Schools claim to have the ability to make children more intelligent, but that’s a lie. They, do, however, have the ability and power to pressure students hard enough to make them contemplate suicide on a daily basis. It is not said, but it is expected that we put grades before our mental health. I have been institutionalized 4 times throughout my high school career due to such immense anxiety levels that it drove me to self-mutilation and suicidal tendencies.
I was released earlier than I was meant to for one reason. Yes, you guessed right. I had tests to complete and homework to finish. I can tell you the difference between a base and an acid, I can define mathematic terms like a dictionary, and I can recite paragraphs from the textbooks like religion: but I cannot tell you how to properly socialize. I cannot tell you the true value of friendship, or sincerity. Hell, I can’t even talk to people without having an anxiety attack.
Oh, but thank god I memorized the Gettysburg Address. We are taught from a young age that what we learn in school will benefit and ensure us a good future. I can tell you in the 10th grade, I attempted suicide before finals. I have scars on my legs from nights spent crying over a low test grade. We live in a world where hallways are a battleground for students. Tiny mistakes and low grades are viewed as life scarring injuries and failures.
Did you know that a C is considered to be average? If I bring home a C on my report card, I am grounded and told to “get my s*** together and stop slacking off.” I never slack off. I have a deep rooted anxiety complex just from worrying about my grades. I quite literally CANNOT slack off. I work and try my best, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
I try harder and harder but sometimes, all I can manage is a low B. Most teachers will tell you, “Oh, I only give my students 1 or 2 hours of homework each night.” Yes, that’s all well and good, but I have 7 classes. That adds up to 7-14 hours of homework every night, leaving only 2-9 hours for sleep, and that’s not even counting time spent for classwork and projects. Say goodbye to sleep, calm, and any hobbies. Even when you get a high grade on assignments, they always push you to better.
Teachers and parents alike will stand on the sidelines and chant, “You can do better than that!” The problem is, though, we can’t. We can’t be perfect, and when we break and snap, unable to continue, we are abandoned and criticized. We are told we are failures: useless, weak, pathetic, unintelligent morons. About 90 percent of students do their best but are cast off as slackers for not achieving the high expectations of teachers and parents.