The Good’ol Classroom
Being frank, this article is to be a pretty one.
I’ve been thinking of writing this article for quite sometime now, but decided to allow my feelings to take some form beyond purely abstract frustration.
Today, I think that I can speak more clearly and logically about the reality that has been for me, while trying to be authentic to the feelings I had.
First off — and to serve a bit of context — , I dropped out of school about six months ago. It was by all accounts a pretty hard decision to make, but it was motivated on what I still believe to be authentic and reasonable arguments. Today I am back in school, so in a way you could say I took a sabbatical, or that I just corrected an unfortunate misdirection. I think these views drastically underestimate the situation and serve only to a cynic’s perspective.
Truth be told, I am not pleased with this situation, but where I to go back in time, and talk to the person I once was, I would only tell him to go on. I don’t believe in regrets, because one only is what one does and has done, and rejecting any of it is rejecting all of it, an thus rejecting oneself. I like my life, and all the problems I might go on and rant about, are only the happiest of problems.
I left school for simple reasons: I don’t think the current setting of a scholarly institution is beneficial for my way of learning. In fact I would even argue that anyone who deeply loves learning is poised to hate school, but that is a matter for another article. The feeling that I was stopping myself from being who I could be, and for reasons and social conventions entirely separate from myself was akin to feelings of imprisionment. On this point of my life I could make one of two choices, be me, or be them. I took a choice that has gotten me back where I started, but that took me places I would’ve never known. I shall do it again and again and until I die.
Today I am back to school and nothing is different. That is to no one’s surprise, my mental machinery has not much abandoned reason and the institution itself hasn’t much changed either. The naturality of the situation hasn’t been an impediment for me to feel frustrated about all of this.
Although this article is not the place to talk about why I decided to go back to school (check out “Course Correction”), I should sum it up here: being a dropout I discovered there are no better options to traditional education, at least for me.
I allowed myself time to mourn my condition. This sounds very much dramatic but overall I think it was the right focus. I vividly remember a coworker of mine asked me, with hopeful eyes, on my first day: “so how’s it being back to school?”, to which I simply answered: “awful”. She was not pleased, but I deep down think she was not surprised anymore than I was. There was no need to pretend I liked being back.
I wanted to leave then, and as such I found myself wanting to drop out once again, every single day. This time, though, a little different, for now I knew that left me to an ally with access to only worse alternatives. I finally knew that I had no other options, but I also knew that I took no one’s word for it.
My first few days of school were awful, as they should’ve been, and the fact that I allowed myself to feel all of this instead of rejecting it for the sake of being optimistic and “keeping it positive” has allowed me now to fully embrace what is my life now. School was awful for me, and it still very much is the same school it was, but I am very much not the same I was then.
The biggest learning I take from my less-than-stellar opinion of school and recent relationship to it, is that nothing is ever so good or so bad in and on itself, and that is dwarfed by the impact that your simple approach or perspective can bring. If Victor Frankl could make the most of his time in a concentration camp, how could it be that I couldn’t of my time at school? Ranting is helpful and healthy, because the alternative is denial, but it should have always have an expiration date.
Being at school as a former dropout while also having a job has been a challenging way to make it less boring, fun at times, and even a bit overwhelming here and there. I wouldn’t change any single thing and value greatly the trajectory of my life, specially now that I am leveraging the companionship of old-time friends and other people my age, as well as of all of my teachers and the institutional infrastructure to make my life better and ease out some projects.
School had taught me much, and now that I am back, it keeps teaching, just now not much through classes.