Open Letter to Education System

Junior speaks on stress, failure caused by school

To the education system,

I just have one question.


My question applies to a lot of things. When did assigning a plethora of assignments amount to students acquiring a plethora of knowledge? When did throwing a textbook at a student and telling them to “learn” become sufficient? When did you decide that the letter “A” is the only acceptable letter in the alphabet in terms of grades?

I think about these questions all the time.

I’m a junior in high school. Another synonym for “high school junior” is “experiencing the worst year of my life”. It’s the year where you have the option to take as many Advanced Placement and Dual Credit classes as you please. It’s that awkward year where you don’t know if you want to be 25 already or five all over again.

It’s ironic, actually. It’s ironic how the infamous “worst year ever” academically is such a pivotal time in the development of young adults, the future generation of leaders, and functioning adults.

Did you ever take that into consideration? Did you ever take the actual person behind the GPA into consideration?

I struggle leaving my car in the school parking lot every day. I always try to push back the time I walk in the entrance – 7:05 a.m., 7:06 a.m., 7:07 a.m. It’s worth it too. It’s one more minute I don’t feel like I’m set up to fail. Your system enables concepts to be thrown in my lap and for teachers to tell me to, “Do it”. Most of the time, I end up doing work on subjects I don’t fully understand so I don’t disappoint. Every day, I’m left with my own choice whether I should put emphasis on the rigorous curriculum or the mountain of rigorous assignments.

made with Canva by Haylie Stum

Is that what learning is supposed to be?

When I was younger, I took pride in my knowledge. Showing off all the sight words I knew and counting to 100 was a norm for me. But now, learning seems like a burden. Learning represents another topic I’ll have to do a project or essay over.

Is that learning at all?

Classes have turned into a checklist – AP English, AP Chemistry, AP History and more. All classes your system peer pressures me to take if “college is in my view” or if I want to move up the ranks of my class. Instead of preparing me for the next stage of my academic career, it’s teaching me that I have to put my personal needs aside so I can turn in all my meticulous work by 11:59 p.m. I could be drowning in my anxiety or my own emotional issues, and your system only throws me a lifejacket just to make sure my MLA formatted essay is turned in. My brain needs time. It needs time to breathe.

Do you even see me as a student, or am I just another name to assign a grade to?

Put me, the student, first. Stop teaching me that the product comes before the process.

-A High School Student