The Futility of Schoolwork

I'd be lying if I said this didn't seem a little bit pointless

By Thomas Pain
2022-05-03
2 minutes reading time

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As it stands, there are 23 days until my first A-level exam. Do I feel like I'm going to be prepared for it, and the other 7 that follow shortly after? No, not at all.

Even with the theoretically reduced workload this year (we got advance information about the topics we'll be assessed on because of COVID-induced disruption), there still feels like a mind-boggling amount of preparation work to do. It's not even work I want to be doing - it's literally work that I'm doing so that I can just move on to the next thing, which I (think) actually want to do. It also happens to be what I'm expected to be doing next by, uhhhh... society? I'm smart, so I do well in school and go to uni so I can get a decent job. Great.

Which makes me wonder: why do I need these things, these certificates, to unlock further education? What's the point? Would I even want to be going to university if I hadn't been told that was the next logical step for years?

I mean, I understand the point of this funneling, I think. It does make me stop and think about why the education system is setup to funnel people into very specific paths as it does, with very little wiggle-room or accomodation for the numerous people that don't really fit the system. I'm lucky - I enjoy learning, and I enjoy academia (though not assessments), and up to this point, I've done quite well in my schooling. But not everyone does, and there's not really any options in the mainstream education system for people that aren't so academic, and are more hands-on, for example. So, so many things aren't taught in schools, and there's no provision to let people explore these things outside of school. It's a shame, and, in my opinion, a disservice to people.

The amount of pressure that's put on to this single path by these institutions is impressive, too. The amount of stress I'm under with my A-levels right now is quite ridiculous. A lot of it is self inflicted and borne out of insecurity and high expectations for myself. But even so - if I didn't want to go to uni, I might well not be doing A-levels, and be doing something completely different with my time that I might have enjoyed more or that might have been a better suit for me. I don't know if that thing exists, though, because I wasn't really given the room to explore that. The system funnelled me onto the next step, and I let it, not knowing any better. Oops.

Maybe this is me being stressed out and scared and blaming everything but my own state of mind for my problems and hang-ups. I'm stuck with what I have at the moment, and I'm going to try and do well at it.

But it makes me wonder - am I pursuing certificates for the sake of certificates?

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