March 2016

The Relevance of School


What is the secret to success?  Definitely sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day, staring blankly at a board, having information bombarded at you until your brain goes numb and wanting to crawl into the fetal position upon the realization that you’ll have to regurgitate all this data for your upcoming mid-term and eventually, the cumulative finaschool_busl, at which point you think, “hey, maybe living under a rock wouldn’t be so bad”.  Sound familiar?  This is what the current schooling system looks like for the students that care…and it’s a giant waste of time.

Don’t get me wrong, education is undeniably an integral part of a functional society; it’s the tool which permits us to live in a stable and efficient environment, as well as the key to development towards a better world.  However, there is a distinction between school and education.  School is the mechanism we have in place in order to educate.  But, what is the purpose of the latter?  Many would say that self-awareness, intellectual ability, moral character and marketability are the four tenants of education.  If this is the case, then we can conclude that school fails to educate the majority of youths because the system is one that is not inclusive of the different types of students that exist and additionally, is one that does not foster innovation.

School is a waste of time because of its rigid and standardized structure, which only promotes one type of student.  It’s great if you’re someone who’s disciplined, good at memorizing and adept to following instructions.  However, if you’re more creative, if you like to think outside the box and like to question the world around you, you’ll often get in trouble with teachers or other forms of authority for not following guidelines because you’re not doing exactly what you are told.  This reality leads to a number of problems because it breeds a flawed norm of what kind of person we deem to be “smart”, and what kind we deem not to be.  These norms affect how students view each other, but more importantly, they affect how students view themselves.  If a student isn’t obtaining good grades, they begin to internalize the reasons as to why this is the case, and thus start to lose motivation and fall in a cycle of self-doubt, stress and anxiety.  However, it is important to recognize that intelligence is not contingent to school; it can very well exist without it.  Grades are merely a measurement of an individual’s ability to abide by and follow the structure of the system and definitely do not define a student’s skill and mental capabilities.  Therefore, because of the noninclusive nature of this systematized institution, school fails to provide the opportunity for students to harness and exploit their strengths, which consequently lessens their motivation.

Moreover, not only does school waste away each student’s unique talents, it also does not encourage the youth of our generation to innovate.  When students are rewarded based on their ability to follow concrete instructions and punished otherwise, it creates a pattern of stagnancy, not progression.  Improvement only occurs with change, and change only happens when individuals are self-aware and able to think critically of the world around them and unfortunately, the majority of classes offered at school do not teach this skill set.  In addition, most hard-working students study because they want to get good marks, not because they are invigorated by what they are reading in their textbooks and what they are hearing during what seems to be never-ending class lectures.  Since students are not inspired by what they are learning because they do not genuinely appreciate the material, they are less likely to push their limits and achieve unprecedented outcomes to further society.  It’s true that society needs people who can perform already existing tasks adequately, but they also need people who can think differently in order to make the world better.  Yet, school, the very structure that is supposed to teach us how to improve our lives, only teaches us –at its best — how to maintain our lives as they are.  Thus, the incentive structure of the system is one which does not gear society forward towards progression, defeating the purpose of its very existence.

Most of us buy into the school system without even thinking twice, simply because it is the convention.  However, what is normal may not always be good.  School, in theory, is an ideal way to teach people how to forward the world in every possible way.  That being said, in practice, it covers a very narrow spectrum and is only beneficial for certain types of people because of its exclusivity.  Furthermore, it does not actually provide society with benefits on a holistic level because it does not encourage students to think of new ideas.  The current schooling system has muddled the definition of intelligence, reflecting this concept based on a student’s overall average rather than their ability to question, to think and to act for the greater good of society.   Evidently, for all of these reasons, the school system needs to be reformed, and until then, it will remain without a doubt as a waste of time for most people.

Written by MWR writer Jiasi Liu, edited by the MWR team


Grades, grades, and grades! School seems to be an endless cycle where you learn, you study and you take your exams. At Marianopolis, R-score is the talk of the day, the choice of discussion, the happiness and pride of some, and the despair of others. From a young age, most of us Marianopolites have been told by our parents to study hard for our future and every one of us has questioned the truth of that statement. Have you never felt your English class to be more boring than the teletubbies? Isn’t school a waste of time? School may not be perfect, but overall it is a good investment of our time. School is more than just grades. School is more than just attending class, taking notes, studying and taking exams. School is an interactive web of people striving for a better future. School transforms students into reasonable human beings who understand that Donald Trump is not the future.

School brings an environment that we can learn from. The students are thrown into classes with people around the same age. I still remember that in kindergarten, we were graded on our ability to make friends, our ability to initiate action and our ability to affirm ourselves rather than our intellectual capabilities to solve logical questions. By being thrown into a group of strangers, we were forced to start making connections, building friendships and learning how to work in a group. We also learned how to respect authority (teachers, principal and monitors) and the rules while being in a structural hierarchy. We learned to evade the students who tried to take advantage of our hard work (a.k.a the homework robbers) , we learned to evade/stand up to the assholes who bullied people to affirm themselves and to help out each other. Now that we are at Marianopolis, we are still learning from the school environment. We are learning to cope with the summer heat without air conditioner and more seriously, to be more independent. No one will force you to go to class or to do your assignments anymore. School has taught us to adapt to unfamiliar environments. This skill will allow you to adapt rapidly to different kinds of working environment in the future.

Friends are one of the first strong connections we make at school. We learn to rely on our friends, to help out our friends, to stand up for our friends and in return, they do the same for

The connections we built are the basis of networking. As we grow up, connections become more and more useful to us. Our ability to make new connections comes from the past where we learned to talk to strangers, to make new friends. We slowly improved our social skills at school. Thanks to school, we managed to take our head out of our turtle shell to have a bigger and broader vision of the horizon. We no longer close ourselves out as we are able to make new acquaintances with more ease than before. These social skills are often the result of teachers forcing you to work with strangers or activities that led to being acquainted with new people. As we build more and more connections with people, the process becomes more and more natural and we are no longer afraid and shy to make the first move to build that connection. Building connections is an important part of our lives as these are very important to further one’s career. Being friendly with your boss certainly won’t be a detriment to being promoted. Connections will always be a plus in our society.

School may help us prepare the skills needed for our future professional success, but it also shapes us as a person. Our personality is highly influenced by the life we led so far, and most of our life we have been at home or at school. At home we are influenced by our family but when we are at school we are influenced by our classmates, our teacher and most importantly our friends. Have your parents never told you to make “nice friends” at school? That is because peer pressure is a big influence on your actions at school. If your friends all have a 39.6 R-score, it will bring the pressure to be the same, to be like our peers. You may become more hard working than before and end up staying a hard working person for the rest of your life. But let’s say your friends are all taking drugs, you may easily end up doing the same and become someone with a lack of self-control. This applies to almost everything such as being late to class, skipping class, eating chicken or beef, joining clubs, participating in activities, volunteering and many more. All those actions may seem insignificant but small actions are what shapes you into who you are. Basically, your personality is shaped by your own actions and your own actions are highly influenced by your friends.

To conclude, school is more than just obtaining the right R-score to go to university and then going to university to obtain the right GPA. School is an environment that allows you grow as a person. You shape your personality while gaining the required skills to strive in the future. School may not be perfect but it is an incredible learning journey for each and every single one of us. It is certainly not a waste of time as some students like to proclaim. The privilege of going to school is something that students forgot about, as it became part of their routine life and is now taken for granted.

Written by MWR writer Yu-Chen Chu, edited by the MWR team

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