Ever wonder how closely our teachers resemble Gandalf? Add a few inches to their beards, give em a staff and viola.
No matter which class I was in, it seems the only thing my teachers said to me was ‘thou shalt not pass’ and it didn’t even concern my grades much. While it might have to do something with my self-obsession, thinking the world was out to get me, I can surmise coming from a family of over achievers didn’t help either.
So I have spent two decades of my life studying (stop calculating, I am in my twenties). That is to say roughly all my life. I have been told what to do, how to behave, even how to pronounce a stupid letter. “It’s pronounced ‘aich’ my dear not ‘ech’.” Ring any bells? So sue me if I feel like I am done. Teachers believe they are the supreme authority on knowledge. They know everything, and their students are like Mars Rover.. on well Mars (you know discovering everything for the first time!)
Therefore their lives must be meddled with, messed up and made into a complete hell, if something closely resembling a human is to be made out from their confused mass. Excuse me for sounding so pessimistic. I owe all my life to good education. All through my school, I was told I had no imagination, I needed to read more, I should practice writing more. And what did that do? It turned me into a bookworm, spending more time in my own world (it has cookies, you are welcome to join) and of course writing whatever nonsense I feel like entertaining.
In college, I was told I was now a grown up. I need to start taking responsibilities. And that in some way meant figuring out how to gauge the earth’s gravitation pull by bouncing a ball (are you kidding me?). Yes that was an actual physics experiment. Regardless of the fact that I learnt how to make proper graphs from a friend one day before the paper, I failed to see how my life would ever require me to use this practical, (unless I am supposed to ‘ball up’ while jumping over lava, you know December 2012 and all, in which case I am indeed doomed).
And finally the university. In my first year, my Islamiat teacher made it crystal clear how the whole class was going to hell. Day after day, I woke up early in the morning to be told how I was the fruit of the propaganda by ‘Yahoodo Nisara ke qaum’. So one day I decided to stop going. I chose to take an additional Italian language class instead. Next year, it was Pakistan studies. Being taught the same thing for the umpteenth time, I thought to myself if studying history stopped us from making past mistakes, why were the Pakistanis still making em? On the bright side, the present is turning out to be an excellent example of how not to be for the future.
The third and fourth year passed by in a breeze. More stuff that made no sense. Literature so outdated, that when composed, witches were being burnt at stake. Furthermore, there happened to be no room for arguments, debates or individual opinions. Whatever was vomited in the classes, had to be vomited on the paper, in a prettier way of course (thick colorful markers with big headings and swirly underlines).
So was i wrong in taking matters in my own hand? Sick and tired of trying to ‘learn’ what was being hammered into my brain, I took a step to experience it myself. I went and got myself a job. A teacher on finding that out told me I wasn’t supposed to work while studying, only should intern, that too during vacations. I was lost. I was being asked to quit my job, to study, then intern during vacations, to gain experience.. to get a job? huh?
To make things more dilute, I keep hearing about over-achievers who never graduated. Billy Gates, Mark Zukerberg, closer to home, philanthropist Rehan Allahwallah. Attending his lecture on youth empowerment he specifically said nobody asks for you degree, only your capability and talent.
My father who was also a speaker in that same seminar holds a different view. He keeps telling me how much my degree means to him, and that after graduation, I should go for masters in English literature (not happening).
Yeah that has been the sad story. To study or not to study. I ask myself every day. Teachers with their ‘thou shalt not pass’ attitude don’t make it any easier. You have to attend classes to pass. (Who knew)? And people who come to me saying ‘I miss my school life’ give me a break. This is just a ruse from stopping the youth from taking control of their life.
So two decades down. When if ever do I get to make my own decisions? When do I get to decide I no longer want to be one of the zombies our educational system churns out every year? When do I get to drive, without someone ‘more experienced’ hitting the brakes from the passenger seat whenever I go above 30?