No, I Don’t Measure Up, But Your Measure is Broken Anyways.

I probably should apologize for redundancy out of the gate, because yes, this article will have to do with post-secondary education again. It’s been a pretty beautiful day, sipping tea and listening to some jazz, and yet I’m still about to brink on yet another breakdown.

I’m trying to focus on my Developmental Psychology studies, and I can’t help but pay attention to a nagging voice at the back of my head making a nasty remark about ‘how I’m not developing’. And before I know it the words of my textbook are blurring together on my page as I’m trying to hold back tears.

I’ve always been good at school. I can’t tell you how or why, but I always managed to get good marks – doing better than average, but no Einstein. It was by no means my primary interest in life, but I did what I had to with little to no qualms or difficulties. I have always loved and been passionate about learning new things and extending what knowledge I do have. I have always been self-motivated and driven, enjoying loosely structured programs and schematics for learning to allow for my creativity to fill in the blanks. Deadlines and the like were a small annoyance because they to me always stressed  ability to perform rather than celebrating the intrinsic beauty of learning in and of itself.

But now in second year, I’m slowly starting to lose my mind as I feel all the passion and drive being slowly sucked away and the tank getting dangerously close to empty. Why? Because I don’t agree with society and culture that post-secondary is the end all be all main source for attaining knowledge. Perhaps at one time it once was, but now I’m struggling with every fibre of my being to not stand up and walk out of my lectures. There is no extrapolation on what I could read out of my textbook; it has not been uncommon for my slides to be directly copied and pasted out of my textbook. There is little to no objectivity on subjects, thus disallowing me from formulating my own opinions. I get told to jump yea high, to answer in this way to be awarded a favourable response from my professor, and to know this information so that I can be the best mother bird I can be and regurgitate it all later for…?

Yep, I really don’t know who I’m regurgitating all this pointless material for. Even the professors acknowledge that once you’ve written that final exam, you’ll forget almost all you have studied by that time next year. “But they’re gauging your capacity to learn and critically think.” Very few times have I had to “critically think” about something in a university classroom. Regurgitation and critical thinking do not coincide in the same place for me, or at least certainly not in my class rooms. Perhaps in yours, which would be a breath of fresh air to me. Trust me when I say that you are blessed to have professors who actually lecture.

I’m going to finish this degree. I will because I’ve gotten this far, and I have not suffered this brain- numbing labour for nothing. And because if I didn’t, it would devastate those who have put so much time and effort in to getting me here. So I’ll grin and bare it and pretend like that paper really is worth it. I’ll suck it up and pretend like university didn’t almost destroy my hope for doing just about anything I aspired to when I finally got out.

The passage from my Developmental Psychology that made my vision blurry? The one that spoke about multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner. There are 8 total: Linguistic, Logic-Mathematical, Musical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalist, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal. I myself rank most highly as being Intrapersonal. My processing operations are defined as having the ability to discriminate complex inner feelings and to use them to guide one’s own behaviour; knowledge of one’s own strengths, weaknesses, desires, and intelligences.

For every intelligence in the graph, there are listed end-state performance possibilities. For almost all of them, they have occupational titles as the possibilities. Except for one intelligence.

Mine.

The end-state possibility for my intelligence is that I will be a person with detailed, accurate self-knowledge. Equate that with what society believes about university (that it’s the best shot anyone has at getting a high income salary) and I’ve drawn the shortest straw. Why am I going to university? So I can have a more detailed, accurate self-knowledge.

I cannot tell you the draw I have for wanting to drop out. Again, I won’t. But my goodness do I ever want to. My intelligence apparently doesn’t fit the schematic for university and apparently doesn’t end in any job at all, but I’m sorry, I am by no means incompetent because I don’t measure up to what they think I should be. My worth in the greater context of society isn’t diminished by their inability to see my true potential (that you’re attempting to snuff out in their classrooms). I’ll make my own occupation and self-employ, thank you very much. I don’t fit under their umbrella idea or ideal schematic of what a good little university student should look like, and I don’t care, because their idea of what “I should be” is fundamentally flawed. They’ve turned learning to acid in my mouth by shoving what they think I should know down my throat, but I’ll reclaim it once I’m free of them. I’ll subject to their demands that I attain that fancy paper because I have to, but for no other reason other than that. University is by no means the end all be all for learning though they’d like to credit themselves that they are.

For me, they are not. My ability to perform in ways that they demand does not define my abilities, add or subtract from them, or enhance them. It’s a shame really, everyone amped up post-secondary to be so much more than it is but I’m utterly and irrevocably disappointed.

There are plenty of reasons why people don’t like post-secondary. Personally I’m feeling like any natural ability I have is being suffocated and exhausted, not extended. I was made to be creative and to adapt. I thrive off ideas when they are met with a loose structure that is built of task setting. Novelty is my creme de la creme. Critical thinking is crucial (fancy that) but too bad it’s not required in any of my required classes. I do not fit the schematic of my school, and I am not thriving by trying to.

I’m also praying intensely that you aren’t able to relate to anything I’m saying, because if you do, I sincerely empathize. I hope I’m wrong and that post-secondary truly is extending you.

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