Is school failing us?

November 10, 2015


Emma Espey

What is the high school system teaching us?

The Outcomes of High School

Author: Anonymous

Want to know something funny?

We’re students.

We’re 15-18 years old.

We supposed to be young.

We do our homework.

We study for tests.

We memorize answers.

We take all honors.

We memorize formulas.

We take eight AP’s –like it’s normal!

We play three sports.

We’re in four clubs.

We’re in NHS.

We take SAT prep courses.

We compete against each other.

We apply to IVY Leagues.

— —

We’re tired.

We’re exhausted.

We’re anxious.

It’s been four years.

It’s been long nights.

It’s been no sleep at all.

It’s been panic attacks.

It’s been ADD pills.

It’s been disappointment.

We’ve memorized every answer.

We’ve learned every formula.

We’ve applied to every college.

It paid off, right?!?

— —


Ask us how we’re doing…

As us if we’re okay

Ask us ABOUT ourselves…

And we’ll freeze. |

We don’t know.

Because there wasn’t an answer

There wasn’t a formula

We didn’t learn this.

That’s not in our textbooks

Not in our notes

Not on the SAT

All that prep work

All those resume builders.

All the sleepless nights.

All of it.

It didn’t work.

It didn’t mean anything.

We didn’t learn how to think.

We only learned how to memorize.


We’re losing our minds,


Knowing the answer is more valuable than learning the lesson,


Our “education” is clouding over our personalities,


Our diplomas are more important than our sanity.

Isn’t that funny?



Emma Espey

I don’t know who I am

I don’t know who I am

I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who I want to be, where I want to live, what I like. I can balance playing a sport, going to church activities, being in NHS, taking four AP classes, and a job. I can write a thirty page book analysis and ace quiz after quiz. I can take an SAT or an ACT and score phenomenally. But ask me who I am, and I don’t know where to start.

…. to put academic excellence above everything else in life. The system that has seen increasing drop out rates in recent years continues to make the passing of a test superior to becoming a productive member of society. In order to achieve true academic success students have to be excited and passionate about what they are learning. They have to be engaged by educators who are also passionate about what they teach. For far too long students have been told that how they perform on a standardized test defines who they are as a human being.

Don’t get me wrong, doing your best and striving for academic excellence is not a bad thing; it is something that should be championed, especially to a generation that has no deep emotional or intellectual connection with each other, but the question still remains: Fifty years from now will your SAT scores or how many AP classes you took really matter, or will the knowledge and wisdom you have gained from life be more valuable?

The school system has taught us that building our record is more important than discovering who we are. In high school I’ve been involved as a class officer, an officer for NHS, a volleyball and softball player, a part of Fort Bend Teen Service League, and more. And the sad part is that honestly, I’ve joined most of these things because I’ve been told my whole life to join groups because it would look good for college.

I’ve taken the most rigorous courses I can, and it is not because I love learning, but because everyone else did and it was what was pushed by my high school. The only elective classes I’ve taken are to get the credits I absolutely need, such as choir to fulfill the arts elective. I’ve never let myself venture into classes that might actually help me discover careers I might like such as law enforcement, anatomy, or human development because I’m too afraid that my GPA will drop.

My high school career has been defined by nights of endless homework, endless subjects I’ve had to teach myself, endless stress. It never ends. Once one assignment is finished, another one is waiting right around the corner. It’s been a continuous cycle of anxiety. I feel like I’m going and going but never reaching a point where I can really say I’m satisfied in myself.

I think we really need to learn that the test score doesn’t define who we are, but the efforts we put in are what count. We need to learn how to cut ourselves some slack and realize it’s gonna be okay. We’ve focused so much on our scores and so little time on figuring out who we want to be, that now at the end of high school, we’ve gained limitless academic abilities but minuscule real life abilities.

I say all this, because now, at the end of my high school career, after learning how to get all of the right answers in the classroom, I am left with no answers for my life, for who I am, or for who I want to be.

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