By Ashley Soriano
The Hoof Print (McDonough, Georgia)
The year is 2018. We’re all out of high school, possibly studying in college, possibly working at a job, or both. Some own a house or rent an apartment. Some already have kids. At this point, we are supposed to apply everything we have learned thus far.
Flash backward to 2014, the present. You’re sitting in math class being taught how to factor trinomials, and next period you’re gonna write down what happened in the 1300s, only to skim through your notes ten minutes before your 50-minute test. During study hall, you’re gonna look over your vocab words that you memorized twenty minutes the night before.
I look in Infinite Campus, and I sigh with relief: I got a 95 on my history test and a 100 on my vocab quiz. I learned the ropes of test-taking. I memorized the facts.
When I get to college, I am supposed to apply despite lacking application skills. I am supposed to fully understand despite only knowing how to fully memorize.
By no means am I blaming anyone in particular or anyone for that matter. After all, two teachers who have encouraged application come to mind. Lori Vincent, AP Language teacher, advocates for intellectual thinking, knowledge and understanding; Russ Lee, honors and AP physics teacher, expects nothing less than thinking outside of the pea-sized box we’ve all been stuck in for years.
So, I’m plagued with where the fault lies. Are Easy A’s being handed out? Is there error in the education system? Or is it ultimately the student’s fault for a lack of initiative?
I conducted a three-question survey and distributed it randomly to a class composed of all grades. The questions were as follows: What grade are you in? Overall, is it easy to get an A on an assignment? On a scale from one to ten, how likely were you to take a class based on its reputation for being an “Easy A?”
An overwhelming 36 students out of 50 responded “Yes” to the ease with which getting an A on an assignment requires.
Seven students rated their likeliness—one being least likely, ten being most likely—of taking a class for its “Easy A” as a 10, nine rated it a five, four rated it a one and the 30 others rated it between a two and a nine.
In other words, As are easy to obtain and taking a class for its lack of difficulty is appealing to some. As students, many of us seek for non-challenging tasks to boost our egos—or rather, to avoid the stress that comes along with difficulty and obstacles.
Flash forward four years again. You’re in college researching and writing a 20-page paper that can’t be B-S-ed at 3 a.m. the day it is due. You learned in history class that the Black Plague originated in China in the 14th century. But on the test the question asks what the long-term effects of the Black Plague were, and suddenly you realize that memorization doesn’t apply here. You realize that your selection of classes with a reputation for being an “Easy A” is limited, if not nonexistent.
Therefore, I challenge myself and my fellow peers to stop memorizing and to start applying, to stop searching for ease and to start overcoming difficulty. Although we can’t change the education system, we can change the way we learn.
Photo Credit: Unsplash