How to be a student, and still be yourself.

Nirvan Mehra

The Supreme Court said that “students shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door.” Therefore they have no rights, and true free choice in school. School is unnecessarily chaotic in structure. We are coerced into a path of directed education. Even though we get to choose our classes, and give feedback to teachers, do we really choose what we learn? 

[Success] is if the people who you hope to have loved you, do love you,” said Warren Buffett.

Martin Luther King preached a similar message.

“Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody… Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance,” King said. A students life today can be very difficult, consisting of difficult teachers, debt, racism, other prejudice, and teacher oriented learning, but if we can keep persisting when people ask us to be who we are not we can truly be ourselves. 

Almost all successful people follow their hearts, do what they love, and are specialized in it. We don’t follow our hearts in school because often we are surrounded by requirements. We have to go to school, and we have to study the required curriculum. Many schools don’t understand the importance of free choice studying. Free choice studying is a system of learning that allows students to decide their own direction in learning, with help from teachers, to gain the knowledge they need to pursue a chosen area. 

According to educator and author Mike Anderson, 

“[Some], learning doesn’t seem to have any personal relevance, or doesn’t connect with a student’s strengths or interests.” This learning style is a direct combatant with the common, “so easy… or… so hard [learning],” The way lessons are taught without student directed learning. 

Psychologist Peter Grey, states that when students in school obtain mental health issues later in life due to the un realistic environment they are put in as children and teenagers.

 “[Their] freedom is greatly restricted… more than adults would tolerate.” Grey said. Have you ever seen an adult work an unpaid full-time job, with overtime, for roughly 18 years of their life. This is the reality for most students in the U.S., 46,000 of whom have had major depression, the leading psychological disorder for Americans. 

Grades can also cause us to not appreciate school. Why? Schools create a class system. 

Grey believes that the reason students feel bad, and get health issues could also be caused by the letter grades they have got since they’ve been in school.

 “A students, C students, or failing ones,” Grey said, “Why bother trying to do better when all along since first grade, your grades are C’s, and D’s?” Our value is lowered and lifted, due to unfair teachers, miscalculations, or disinterest. Instead of grades, we can have an independent study, fulfilled by ourselves, and our duty to the world. We should train, and practice to become the greatest help we can be, coming up with intelligent solutions to undesirable jobs, and lives. 

On top of conformity, racism in schools is “unintentional, yet no less damaging… to the persistent achievement gap” according to (An online newspaper, and magazine website) Pacific standards. In the book, Attackus a group of young black Americans fight to find themselves and change the ideology of a town using basketball. The town was run by the Ku Klux Klan, which had an integral effect on the possibilities these boys had growing up. Many things that could have helped them live better lives were taken from them. Money, teachers, even food, was taken from these students. They prevailed nonetheless, survive off just raw determination, becoming basketball legends. Many black and immigrant children in schools, especially white-dominated ones, have to deal with hidden forms of institutionalized racism, which shows the added pressures they have to face. But it also shows the progress we’ve made in diversifying schools.

 We go through a lot in school. It’s important to shed light on the frustrations, anger, and hard times that students have to go through. Regardless of the grades we get, the people who come against us, and lack of individuality in schools today, if we just find a way to love ourselves, and persist we will overcome our obstacles, and land on tranquility, and understanding.