Why I don’t try


Julia Woods

In most classes, there are few students that are not receiving a passing grade. They are failing. They don’t care about their grade, turning in homework, or learning about the subject. These students sit in the back of the classroom with silent tongues, as few students try to comprehend  why they don’t try, and fewer students care to ask. A WO sophomore speaks out on why she doesn’t try in school.

This sophomore, an aspiring lawyer, said, “I don’t think (law schools) will care about format and commas because they will know what I am talking about.” She doesn’t think the information taught in school is relevant to the field she intends on going into. She is a firm believer in unconventional education, or self taught education. She does not stand alone in this philosophy. There has been an uproar on social media in the past few years on why students should not stay in school. In viral video, “Don’t Stay In School” a graduated high school student voices students’ frustrations regarding being taught impractical information instead of things that he will need to do, like file for taxes or apply for a job.

While students are unwilling to commit to school in the United States, female students in Pakistan have cried out for education in the past few years. They rallied behind female Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for committing her life to women’s educational rights activism. Although women are fighting and dying for their right to be educated, this West Ottawa sophomore said, “I don’t think they need an education to do what they need to do.” Though Yousafzai found success as a writer and activist off of her experiences rather than education, one cannot only wait for trials like Yousafzai’s to make a career. Her experiences are far from what West Ottawa students will likely face.

This sophomore’s approach to education is different than what she has been taught for her entire childhood. She said, “I don’t feel like we need school to reach success.” Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, and John D. Rockefeller are all examples of successful autodidacts, or self-taught learners. While there are some extremely successful autodidacts, there are many more successful educated individuals. Counselor Lori Koza describes the numerous times she has seen the educated succeed and said, “There is no risk to growing academically. There is only reward.”

Koza brings great perspective as a counselor who witnesses students’ struggle with education. She understands the use of education and she says there truly is no harm in trying. There are far more rewards to learning than there are downfalls. She describes the content we learn in school as “the icing on the cake.” There is no harm in knowing who the presidents are or even the quadratic formula. Koza hits on why education is the best tool we could be given; she said, “If you can learn how to learn, you can do anything.” West Ottawa is privileged to have the teachers and facilities we have. West Ottawa is giving us the tool of education which is our first step toward evolution. Although all the content we learn in school might not always be relevant to our future, we are learning how to study, how to be curious, and how to be dedicated to something.