When I was a child, I remember my mother telling me that reading and writing and math will become “real” when I finally attend school. That things that happen before enrollment were not “real life” and that big changes were going to occur. I believed my mother, and cringed at the stress that awaited me at school, only to be hopelessly disappointed.
In primary school I remember the same speech, from a different authority figure. “Be prepared for the intermediate grades, the teachers won’t coddle you like us, that’s when the real academia starts”. Again, full of fear, I awaited the horror that 4th grade and beyond held for me (not to mention we weren’t allowed to play on the treehouse anymore, since it was on the “little kids” side). Of course, I learned 4th grade was just as meaningless and silly as 3rd grade, and all the grades before.
In 7th grade, teachers were very, very adamant about high school. “You won’t understand it until you see it!” they cry. “High school is where life actually starts, everything before this was just preparation for it.” Skeptical in my adolescence, I pondered whether or not high school really would be that intense. But it being more than 5x the size and attendance to my old school, fear took over and I once again trusted my elders. This time, it had to be real.
Arriving in high school, I learned that classes are exactly the same. Homework was completed in a matter of minutes (if I ever bothered) and class was mundane and rarely interesting or helpful. Late high school, and examinations start! “Beware!” the teachers stressed, “post-secondary is when life matters, and responsibility is thrown upon you!”. The adults all work in cohesion now, spitting out the same story that university makes or breaks your entire future, life, career, success, and your identity. “Without going to university, you will be a failure in life and certainly cement your likelihood at becoming homeless” (Yes, the exact words of a concerned adult). Being lied to my entire life, I finally clue in. It will be exactly like high school.
This is where most ‘regular’ people will disagree, but unless you are in a STEM field it’s a fallacy. Post-secondary is based upon your level of effort, and not your intelligence. Those who work hard will do better than those who are smart. I have never attended university (been to several lectures) but the coursework is actually easier than it is at colleges who attempt to transfer there.
This led me to an epiphany. We have barely progressed beyond our responsibility of what we had in kindergarten. If you still live at home, or have your parents pay for anything (yes I mean anything), you are not grown up, you are not mature, and you are not responsible. You are riding out an extended adolescence that our generation has been forced into.
At times I wish there were a great war, or a depression, or some kind of test that our generation would face so we could objectively look at ourselves in the mirror and know what real pain is, what we would actually die for. I think back to my life and the most traumatic experiences so far has come from a couple instances of heartbreak, a stab wound from being a foolish youth, and a couple physical encounters with drug addicts. I would not call any of these things character building or accomplishments.
When you take a step back and realize that somebody is profiting off of every lie you have been fed to fit into this system. A girl just wants to be friends? She wants you to wife her up when she’s 33 and unwanted. Professor tells you to stay in school for that Psychology degree? He needs a job. Government wants you take out loans and get an ‘education’ for 5 years and 50,000? I wonder who profits.
You need to do what is best for you, not for your friends, girlfriend, neighbours or professors. Anytime someone speaks a truism to you, you need to think ‘Who does this benefit and why?”. Put yourself first, then you can help others.
As a man without strength, you have no value and no business helping others. Build it, and then they will come.