It’s 3 a.m. My desk surface is barely visible beneath the piles of notebooks and blank papers waiting to be filled with pending assignments. I am up late at night with all of this work, wondering what it will all do for me one day. What gratification will I receive when all the grade books have been finalized and all that is left is a GPA meant to summarize all thirteen years of my education? A three or four-digit number meant to encompass all of the sleepless nights, tears shed, and stress given, in hopes of succeeding later in life. A life that is, unfortunately, not guaranteed, leaving me questioning all of the work that I have done.
Despite all of this questioning and uncertainty, students are told to invest in the future that they may never get to live out. We are sold on the promise that the work that we put in today will be beneficial in the future. Yet, nothing in the world can protect us from the fact that we do not know what the next day holds. Nonetheless, we work. We work and study to get grades that we hope will lead to better lives. Our brains turn into conveyor belts of information- facts going in and hopefully staying so that when they are needed, they can be spit back out.
Adults everywhere try to reassure us that it will get better and that one day all of the work will be worth it. They speak from experience and try to understand what we are going through, but they cannot. Our generation is growing up in a world where past mistakes are not forgiven. A world where change for the better is not recognized, only the traits that you are trying to get away from, where everything we do is documented and kept, only to be used against us later. There is no sense of privacy, no messing up, no being young, because these actions are later used as evidence as to why we should not get to succeed.
Right now, my peers and I are at a crossroads. Behind us are the years we have already lived. The young children with stars in their eyes that truly believe the sky’s the limit; the ones that want to act first and think later; the care-free spirits we were before reality started to seep in. In front, is adulthood, the cynical, over-analyzed future that awaits.
We see our futures played out in front of us every day. We see the adults in our lives, in a constant replay of going to and from work with little time in between. The same adults who tell us how great they did in school and that if we do the same that our lives will turn out differently. What teachers need to hear is that we need help deciphering the truth from the lies. Will we ever use this information later? Is this what we need to know to live independently? How will acing every test that you put on our desks prepare us for the many that life will throw our way? The truth is adults have been in a version of our shoes before. They have experienced what was needed for them to achieve the life that they have.
All we are asking for is the truth. What will guarantee that all of the sacrifices we make, all the work we do, and all of the fun opportunities that we turn away will reward us later? What parts of algebra will we need when doing taxes or figuring out mortgages? How will analyzing the texts that you put in front of us help us when we are given a document that could decide our future? What specific parts of our education did you use to order to get yourselves where you are today?
I understand that this is an abundance of questions that are being thrown at you and that this topic cannot be answered in a single day. All we are asking is for someone to tell us how the hard work that we are putting in now will pay off in the future.
Hello! My name is Kaluki Kithome and I am a junior from Lake County Florida!