Senior column: Thoughts from the bottom of the curve
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 10:10pm
I'm sitting here at what is supposed to be an important point in my life with nothing of importance to say. I'm supposed to be able to look back on the last five years and see a life-changing experience. High school was a major experience, but I still don't know what to make of it.
People have asked me if I'd go to Uni again, and I honestly can't answer. I have no idea if I've wasted my last five years or not. I didn't do too well on the academic front of things, yet I don't regret it. I feel like I should feel guilty for putting off so many assignments, and just straight up not doing most of them. But I don't. I'm not sorry for waiting to do all my papers the night before they were due. I'm not sorry for almost failing out of math, but I am sorry to all the teachers that tried to reach out that I ignored. You deserved a better student.
At Uni I've been provided so many safety nets to make me a better student that I always know one will be there, so I've done badly but never bad enough to hit the ground. Subbie year first semester were the highest grades I ever got. Then, the next semester, I just burned out and stopped doing assignments. I didn't turn in half of my math homework. I didn't study unless I was forced to, and in the end I was much happier, as the school picked up the slack for me. I was always more satisfied with mediocrity than excellence, as I had more time to do what I found important. So for the remainder of high school I only did real work on what I was interested in, which wasn't a lot.
Yet I still feel like I accomplished as much as anyone in my class. Sure I don't know calculus, but I don't need to know calculus. And no, I'm not going to an Ivy League college, but once again I don't need to. I feel like there's a lot of pressure at Uni for people to follow that track, and the pressure did get to me. So that in the end I only felt guilt for the apathy I had towards my academic mediocrity, rather than an honest feeling of regret for my sub-par performance.
Sophmore and freshman year were particularly hard for me as my grades were the lowest. I'd be told I was doing badly and I would have meetings with teachers and counselors to put me on the right track. The administration even tried to put me on academic probation "for my own good". The stress began to pile up, and I avoided it the way I had the last two years, ignoring it. I tried more and more to get the school out of my life, but the more I tried to separate from the school the more it tried to pull me back in.
I tried so hard to separate myself from what the school wanted me to be, that eventually I was only able to keep up the appearance of motivation. Internally the only real source of motivation I had was from others' disappointment in my academic performance. I wasn't living up to the school's image of the dedicated, hard-working student, and I knew it. It still bothers me that I didn't. In the end I'm just a rich white guy who came here for the prestige, rather a true passion to learn.
So I often felt as if my spot at this school would've been better suited to someone else. There were kids at my old school that got turned down who would've prospered here while I stagnated. But the people I've met here have left an impression on me that will last permanently. My friends and teachers are some of the best people I know. I just don't know if this was the right environment for me to meet them. I had some of the best times of my life here. I just hope that I don't re-live them.