I love to learn… and I hate school


Natalie Widmer

Student stresses over complicated work.

Abby Wexler, Editor-in-Chief

My entire life I have loved to learn. It was something that came naturally to me. Since elementary school, I strived to do the best, no matter the circumstances. This work ethic, built up by myself and encouraged by my parents, followed me throughout middle school. I studied for tests, and even enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed learning, asking questions, and working hard. School was my “thing.”

My love of learning continued in high school, except school did not come easily to me anymore. I was presented with challenging classes that I did not get automatic A’s in; I had to work for every grade I got. During sophomore year, my motivation continued and I worked extremely hard. During junior year, I took the most challenging course load I ever took and my motivation continued. I wanted to succeed, but more importantly, I wanted to learn.

When picking my classes for senior year, I chose challenging courses on purpose, and, a lot of them. I didn’t want my senior year to just be a walk in the park, but a grand finale to all my hard work. I was ready to challenge myself and work as hard as I could.

However, the result was not what I thought. I am miserable. I am pushing myself to breaking points and putting my happiness at jeopardy for a grade in a class. 

It’s easy to say I did it to myself, because I did. I chose the courses I did and I was fully aware of how hard each of them are, but regardless, my mental health should not be at stake.

As someone who truly loves to learn, this is so upsetting. I have stopped putting learning as my first priority and put a grade before. I don’t study to learn any more; I study to do well on a test. I don’t let my brain seep the material in because I don’t have time; I cram it in so I temporarily remember information. I want to learn more and get away from this robotic routine.

This isn’t me blaming the teachers and administration of Stamford High School, or even Stamford Public Schools as a whole. I completely understand that each class is independent and they cannot control the pace of other classes due to preparation for Advanced Placement exams, midterm exams, and/or final exams. Rather, I am blaming the current educational culture as a whole.

Today’s high school culture all over the world is cutthroat. I was made aware of the competition of high school before walking in – I needed to be taking the hardest classes and do well in all of them to get into a good institution. I was also made aware that there are many other smart people in the world, and I must do activities to stand out. I was essentially told to be a robot. 

Now I realize that this is the furthest thing from the truth. 

There is a school or a place for everyone; it does not need to have the highest ranking programs to be a good choice. It’s fine to not do well on a test, because I am only human. I need to leave time to do things I enjoy, otherwise I won’t get as much out of activities personally. I am allowed to be human, I am allowed to fail, I am allowed to be stressed, and I am allowed to not be perfect.

This may sound hypocritical; if you know me personally, you know I am one of the most high-pressure and stressed people. I was tricked into feeling that I need to be perfect by a toxic culture. I only wish I had realized it sooner.

We’ve reached a point where the culture needs to change. It needs to be made evident that being human is fine and people make mistakes. Learning needs to be put first. How this change happens and when it happens is what I don’t know. However, what I do know is that it’s getting to an extreme when children hate school, but love to learn.