Sometimes the pathetic-ness of our First-World-Problems hit you like a failed math midterm exam.
Art by Orianne Safré-Proust
Buzz Buzz. With the sound blaring from my alarm clock, my dreams take their final bow and the reality of consciousness finds me cringing on this especially dark Monday morning. I take a moment to come to terms with reality, avoiding the unmerciful streaks of light bouncing in through the window and across my room. Six hours of school are the unavoidable reality ahead of me, followed by the unknown amount of hours I will dedicate to studying afterwards. When the pressure of one too many late slips finally pushes me out of bed, I hurry around my room trying to make order of the mess I left last night. I shove my notes and textbook in my pink backpack, splash my face with alarmingly cold water, brush my teeth, change, have a bite for breakfast (if I’m lucky, that is), and scurry out the door.
The next six hours I will spend going from class to class, listening to my teachers lecture about various topics, until the class is interrupted by the bell, which is when I then hurry on to my next class to repeat the cycle. The days are tedious, filled with the same high school conversations, the same frigidly cold why-the-hell-didn’t-I-bring-a-jacket classrooms, and the same I-am-totally-unprepared and only-remembered-to-study-this-morning tests. Scattered around the classroom are a mixture of students texting and talking to each other along with the tops of students’ heads sleeping on their desks. After school my day is spent doing more homework or maybe even more realistically, avoiding it. My high school days are coming and going and with every day that passes I come closer to one final conclusion. I am seventeen years old and I am shamelessly taking my education for granted.
My absence of gratitude towards the gift of education isn’t a fault I posses singularly, as a large majority of the students I go to school with seem as ignorant to the privilege as I am. We constantly complain about the expectations we face, the difficult classes that WE CHOSE to take, and simply the tediousness of the average high school day. Public education is a privilege given to the majority of us that live in developed countries, and it is a vehicle critical for any career path we choose to follow after high school.
“Education is education and it's the right of every human being.”
- Malala Yousafzai
The truth is that education is not accessible all around the world. Some parts of the world are still struggling with domestic chaos and are too involved in these issues to prioritize their focus on education. Many developing regions, such as north-eastern Africa, are war torn, where the issue of survival (ie. food, shelter) take priority over education, resulting in the lack of educational opportunities for children and adults. Not all schools are created equally, and for the regions of the world who do have accessible public education, many still have difficulties maintaining a safe environment for children.
Concerns that the domestic chaos occurring outside the walls of schools potentially harming the students is a reason alone for children not to attend school. Schools often struggle affording supplies needed for the success of children-- items I take for granted everyday like desks and textbooks-- creating obstacles blocking some students’ education.
Yet here I am lazily struggling to get my butt off to class where I am FORCED to sit in a beautiful air conditioned school with caring and educated teachers who are trying to provide me with the tools I need to be successful in life. It’s sickening to think that I have too many career options to choose from when a whole group of young men and women are fighting for their chance to have successful career (even exist). I, like many other students, am being given such life changing opportunities like public education and am so quick to take them for granted and to not fully take advantage of this liberty.
For every student who takes their education for granted there are hundreds of young boys and girls who would do anything for the life changing opportunity. It is so easy for those of us in developed countries to take education for granted. I know I have fallen victim to it much too often. Changing our perspective towards public education will enable us to make big strides towards spreading the gift of education. Remembering to not take the gift of education for granted, even when school days get tedious and the morning alarm clock sounds extra annoying, is a change in mindset that will allow us to continue moving in the right direction.