school system outdated

College systems differ widely by country. Some uphold the separated home-school environment structure, while others, like America, mix the environments into one. You learn, study, eat, sleep, and live with the same people, all in the same place. There’s no strong distinction between school and home besides the ones you try to create yourself. Even for those who commute, college in America is strongly all-encompassing. The defaults for American higher education include norms that were formed on the bedrocks of white, heteronormative traditions. The most obvious of these defaults is Greek life, but even includes faculty behavior and general university policies. It makes sense that many students feel a disconnect from college. They are not the students that the founders of the schools had in mind when opening them, and they continue to not be prioritized in reforming school policies. Here are 4 blindspots of an outdated school system.

1. Diverse Economic Backgrounds of Students

Yes, many of us go to college to earn degrees in hopes of having a well-paying job one day. But the pressure seems higher for me. It’s not just myself I’m working for, it’s also my family. So work is not optional, it’s not a means to just have extra money in our pocket–its the only way some of us pay our way through colleg or have enough to eat. Studying is not the main priority for everyone, and professors forget that. 

2. Lack of Representation of Professors

Professors often don’t realize the wide range of their student body. Or if they do, they’re unable to recognize the differences in students’ personal life, possibly out of a lack of commonality. The same is true of educational institutions at large. The aim of many educational institutions is prestige, money, and outputting the best work-candidates. Nowhere in this aim is the well-being of students beyond what is necessary to relieve distress that widely interferes with daily campus life. Frankly, in a place that consumes every part of your life, that sucks. The students who get the worst of this apathy are those who don’t have as much external support with navigating college life.

school system outdated

3. College is a Safe Haven for Many Students

Recently, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most educational institutions have shut down and decides to move to online classes. They failed to realize the great variation in home-life for students. Many students have limited or no internet connection at home, some have difficult family situations that make it difficult to work from home. With public spaces slowly shutting down, there’s almost no help for these difficult situations. But colleges just assume that people have the full capacity to continue learning online. It’s because it’s the default of students who go to college–they have internet and an environment to learn from home. It’s hard to believe that these same schools that flaunt their inclusive nature actually care for the students they tokenize in their diversity brochures. 

4. The Dramatic Shift From Home Life

Another point of disconnect because of college is one between home and family. There are often times I feel because of this strongly encompassing experience I’m having at college, there is some disconnect from my family. Lorde’s song Love Club has a lyric that I feel explains what college does. “The only problem that I got with the club Is how you’re severed from the people who watched you grow up”. While they are my family and they will remain in my life beyond these four years of school, it is difficult to look past how much less connected I feel to home now. 

College is a hard experience to live through, even with all the fun that can come from it. But there is always hope in community. I’ve only found real solace at school in first generation/low income friends. It’s my only line of hope at my worst points. There is great friendship and community to be found beyond all the confusion and mess that is college. And if anything, those friendships are worth the whole experience. 

school system outdated

Featured Image by Michael Marsh 

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