By: Jocelyn Schwalm
“…education has become one of the chief obstacles of intelligence and freedom of thought.” Bertrand Russell
Society today places too much pressure on students to be high achievers, but it comes at a high cost. It is all too common for students to feel drained of their time and energy studying. The immense pressure that surrounds students trying to attain high grades often stifles the creative process for answers that cater to a professor. Self-worth and grades are dangerously intertwined in a world that values education as the greatest mark of intelligence.
A university education, despite its professional value, offers a limited view into what makes up a person. In this sense, it has failed us. I can attest to this. I only saw success for those around me if they had succeeded in an educational setting. This inadvertently causes students to overlook so many of the other aspects of what makes up intelligence. When it comes to standard educational institutions, so much of what is required is simply regurgitating information from textbooks. Although this is a useful skill to acquire, it is not a measure of someone’s intelligence. Students are taught that their entire future is based around a number on a paper.
This pressure has caused anxiety to skyrocket in the last few decades among college and university students, actually equal to that of individuals placed in insane asylums in the 1950s. Not only is there pressure, but students are literally becoming sick and overmedicated over this thought-limiting education system.
When students have to alter their consciousness to demonstrate their “intelligence,” somewhere along the line, something has gone awry. All too often, professors offer only a limited view into a subject. Students who mechanically take in this information are at risk of mistaking these mass-produced opinions for their own. For many students, ambition is taking a backseat to anxiety, and their grades are tangled up in a professor’s biased opinions. In most university programs, creativity is not taken into account when it comes to grading. Education is able to offer such a small window into a person’s abilities that to judge someone based on it seems absolutely absurd.
Far too often, people’s grades do not reflect their abilities, and this is where it gets complicated. If someone excels on a single aspect of a subject, has amazing ideas, but is unable to keep up their GPA, they are tossed to the side.
So many people have to accept that their future hinges on their visibility within the education system. Grades are not, by any means, an accurate portrayal of intelligence. For a better-rounded system, it would be beneficial to encourage those who have ideas worth pursuing. Our education system needs to take the outliers into consideration and not only find different methods for evaluation but allow grades to be just a piece of a puzzle and not an obstacle for demonstrating our true abilities.