From the time I was in middle school, it was made clear to me that I would attend college, there was no question about it.
I went to a military and college prep school from middle school until ninth grade. While I didn’t think about college much, I believed my parents when they said I could go to any university I wanted. I did my homework every day after school, and studying wasn’t a big deal. But over time, these things changed.
When faced with the prospect of college applications in my senior year of high school, I realized I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go to school–or did I even want to go at all? To add to my confusion, I was not coping well at all with my school work. My depression made it hard to focus and the simplest tasks reduced me to tears. In fact, the good school habits I had when I was younger had steadily been declining over the years.
In art class one day in my senior year, I distinctly remember my teacher being furious, because students had started a petition for teachers to scale back on homework. After some discussion, the cause for the petition surfaced: students were having break-downs, were incredibly stressed, and not getting enough sleep. My teacher told us that when she was in high school, she had break-downs all the time. She told us her parents would just look at her as she sobbed over homework. She noted that the experience made her stronger for college.
I understood her stance, but I still wonder–does getting an education have to be so traumatic?
In the end, I decided I didn’t want to go to a university–I would go to community college instead. Taking cues from my senior year, I decided I wouldn’t take a full load of classes so I could have a better chance of flourishing. I learned how to manage my stress, thanks to “studyblrs”–blogs on tumblr dedicated to healthy study habits, stress management, and other techniques that eased my nerves. Studyblrs made me fall in love with school again, and I came out of my first semester with good grades–As and Bs.
This month’s theme, “An Education,” serves as an aid to those in school, those of thinking about going back, and those who need some help and motivation. I hope that you come away from this month understanding that school can be stressful–but that doesn’t mean the stress has to break you.