Words By S.

Saturday, 8 April 2006

On Life.

Filed under: Life,Ramblings — S @ 9:09 am

There are several milestone periods in a person’s life. The moment you’re given birth to, that first birthday that says, “Hey, you made it! You’ve successfully been alive for one year!” the first day you step foot into school, that tenth birthday when you realize that you’ll never again have a single digit age, the year you hit puberty, the moment you turn 16 and are able to drive, the moment you turn 18 and are able to vote, the day you graduate high school, and so on and so forth. I have already had a number of my milestone periods, and I am fast approaching a new one – my graduation from a university that will give me a degree that seals my employment for the future.

While, to all of those around me, I appear to be stable and grounded with a strong sense of what I will do with the rest of my life, I must admit that I am scared as hell. Absolutely terrified.

While I’m not known to be terribly neurotic or phobic (except when it comes to arachnids), I must say that I have an insane fear of failing at life. Knowing just how possible it is for me to not accomplish all that I have worked for is a major drive and motivator right now.

Having been a part of the schooling system since the ripe young age of three and a half, I have gotten so ingrained in the system and so used to knowing the ins and outs of how it works. Every day, you have homework; every couple weeks, you have a test; there is always a large assignment; you will always get a break. Never has there been a time where I’ve thought, “Wow, I don’t ever have to go to school ever again if I don’t want to“…until now. Just the very notion of that puts my stomach in knots.

I have become so institutionalized that the thought of being de-institutionalized is a foreign notion to me. Having worked in a mental institution psychiatric hospital for a good chunk of this year (to which I will be returning), I am more than acquainted with the concept of de-institutionalization. Everyone always associates this concept with the mental patient or prisoner or some person that has essentially been locked up with a force fed schedule. What they never associate the concept with is the student.

For 18.5 years (eight-teen and a half years) of my life, I have been a member of this institution. The names of the institutions have changed, but the basis of them has remained the same. That is eighteen and a half years of having a set class, lunch, break, and homework schedule. Eighteen and a half years of basically being a drone. Eighteen and a half years of not being gradually acclimated into the “real world”. To suddenly have that cut off…well, it would be like suddenly losing a limb.

Children are never given a choice about being institutionalized. Adolescents are never given the opportunity to not be institutionalized. Young adults are essentially forced to be de-institutionalized and have to wander, blindly, into the world. It’s like being re-birthed, but not from a loving and comforting womb into a loving home. No. It’s being birthed from a cold, mechanical entity into a harsh, unwelcoming world.

School seeks to prepare you for many things, but the world at large is not one of those things. From elementary school on, the child is given test after test after test. Constantly being given a rank of how intelligent they are. If they aren’t intelligent enough, they are frightened into believing that they are doomed to work at McDonald’s for the rest of their lives. “Better get used to the grease smell, boys!

The high school student turns into the college student that is told that their degree will “be completely useful, always!” regardless of the degree, only to find out that when the time comes, they’re frantically searching for a place of employment that will pay enough for a shitty apartment and food.

The student is just thrown into the world minus training. If it is up to us to be concerned about de-institutionalizing the prisoner, shouldn’t we, first, be de-institutionalized?

That is one thing no one ever tells you when you apply for college. That is one thing they never tell you in high school. In high school, you learn that they are preparing you for college. What, then, does college prepare you for?

So, here I am, a mere three weeks left in the education system searching for shelter and employment, scared as hell about what my future holds. But then, you suddenly realize that the degree doesn’t mean much anyway, it’s about who you are connected with.

Life is a series of networks, and who you know determines how successful you become. Maybe the world isn’t so scary after all.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Earlier in the month, I made a post about the deinstitutionalization (or lack therof) of the student. I cannot help but to feel, at this point, that a revisit to that particular post is very necessary. […]

    Pingback by Words By S. » Blog Archive » A Revisitation of ‘Life’. — Friday, 21 April 2006 @ 1:21 pm | Reply


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