There have been countless times when I have walked into school to see my friends standing around by the lockers talking about how much they didn’t want to be there. Even more frequently, I have had text conversations that would lead to my friends telling me at length about how much they hated school and would have rather just laid around being lazy at home all day. I see constant posts on social media from big corporations trying to appeal to younger generations. These posts often have an undertone of negativity towards education in an attempt to relate to teens. Around the world, children and adolescents in developing countries are devaluing their own education and limiting their learning opportunities later in life. This both causes and adds to a negative stigma toward education among the youth which is proliferated through social media and peer pressure.
The pictures above are just a few of the numerous posts which underrate school. Typing “school hate” into Google yielded 147 million search results, some of which were pages such as Pinterest or Giphy which contained even more results on the topic. Some of the websites were even lists containing 10+ reasons why “school sucks.” Inevitably, many students find themselves spending ample time on social media and, as such, they are encouraged to adopt a negative mindset in regard to school and their education. The third photo above (purple) shows the perspective of many students, some of which I know. Many of my friends at school believe that much of what we learn is a complete waste of time. This mindset is toxic to students and leads them to stop believing in the relevance of schooling. Photos such as the pink and green ones encourage kids who want to fit in to look into the reasons why school can be seen in an unfavorable light. Again, this creates a ruinous mentality.
We have all heard of peer pressure because it is something that occurs constantly and can be another way for ruinous mentalities to circulate. We see examples of it every day, especially in schools. We have all seen it happen: one student will begin talking about how upset they were at the idea of coming to school in the morning, their friend will agree, and then another will agree as well, despite the fact that they woke up excited about the forthcoming school day. Over time, the student that enjoyed coming to school will likely cease to enjoy education after being conditioned to do so by his or her peers. By beginning to dislike school, students will often devalue their education and ask pessimistic questions: What is the point? Why is this important? Why am I cursed with going to school?
Of course, not everyone does or can love learning, but it is important to understand that education is, in fact, important and being a student in a developed country is much more desirable than being deprived of an education. From a racial standpoint, people have been asked to “check their privilege,” but this phrase can be applied to students. In the wake of all the other societal issues which are coming to light, the importance and privilege of education are dwindling. According to UNICEF, about 124 million children and teens are out of school and many who do attend school will drop out without learning to read or write. This is predicted to continue if nothing is done to stop it and yet children who have the advantage of receiving a quality education choose to throw it under the bus and rant about how awful it is to go to school.
One could have called me a hypocrite, for I, myself, used to complain about school, but I was ignorant then. It is important for people to educate themselves about education statistics and to understand the disadvantages faced by those who are not lucky enough to have sustainable, reliable, and safe schooling. Now I realize how fortunate my fellow students and I are. It is important for us, as opportune students and global citizens, to understand our privilege and to do what we can help spread awareness about the value and the importance of education.