You’ve heard that before, right? That school is destroying passion and imagination? It’s probably come out of your own mouth at some point, and that right there is the problem. Nobody should feel like they have to make this statement.
My passion? Writing. Storytelling. I believed in fictional characters, and I loved them as though they were real. I created entire worlds in my head and I desperately tried to hold onto these parts of me.
From my first year of school as a four year old until I began High School, my imagination and my passion for creating flourished. I was encouraged to write short stories because my family and teachers thought it was sweet. They didn’t take it seriously, and they figured it was part of growing up. A phase. I didn’t want to prove them right, but when the exhausting amount of schoolwork took control of my life, the so-called phase was over.
My imagination had been replaced by the hardworking student version of me, someone who spent hours crying because I couldn’t do mathematical equations. I read books not for enjoyment but because I had to write an essay based on the text. Instead of creating art, I was analyzing and writing down every single step I took to reach a finished product. A product that wasn’t even that great because I’d spent half of the allocated time thinking instead of letting my passion lead me.
The stress of school brought out the worst in my mental health, as it does for so many High School students, and I didn’t have my passion to cling onto. I couldn’t find it.
Does the education system kill our passion and imagination because teachers think we need to be practical and realistic about our futures? Do they think that putting every ounce of our energy into school will help us grow and be successful?
I often wonder if my High School teachers realize that probably half of their students spent a year studying an intense, soul-destroying academic-based course at college after being pushed in that direction, before either dropping out or transferring to another course.
I was one of the students who transferred. I failed my first year exams, lost any aspect of a social life that I once had and subsequently switched to studying film & media without even taking the time to discuss it with my family.
I reached my breaking point, and I had to do what was right for me, not what looked better to employers and educators.
Is that what they are trying to achieve? They want us to drop out of college because we haven’t had the opportunity to figure out what we genuinely enjoy dedicating our time to?
Our generation has a choice. We do not have to be perfect students with perfect grades.
We do not have to be in desk jobs for our entire lives if we don’t want to be and money doesn’t have to be our top priority. We can take our passion and create. We can inspire and we can change lives, but only if we are given the encouragement to do so.
We don’t owe anyone except ourselves.
Once I graduated High School, I realized my imagination had never left me. It had actually been there for me in times when everything else got too much to bear. Part of me lived in a fictional world that I had total control over, and the other part was out facing reality. It’s a form of stress relief that I still access years later but it reveals the damage the education system can cause. No teenager should feel like they need an entirely fictional escape.
Parents and adults need to take a stand for the younger generation, and the younger generation needs to know that their passion will always be there to guide them even when they feel like they’re failing.