The Longer Ones

Monday, October 10, 2016

Academic prostitution

Selling yourself to the school. That's basically what it is, and as weird as it sounds, it's necessary for you to have a good future. I'm not really sure how this all started but if I were to guess, it began when everyone started to act more seriously.

Let me explain.

In elementary school and middle school, there was no real academic pressure. The only real struggle was fitting in and finding real friends or making sure you're not in the bottom of the imaginary and now obsolete hierarchy that once held us all in captivity. It's hard to believe that those memories are almost five years ago. Oh well.

In high school things changed more towards academic prostitution where you learn exactly who the good teachers are and how to bribe them or at least suck up to them. I don't really know why or how, but all of the sudden, "BAAAAMMM." People changed. Our priorities changed and we weren't focused on a hierarchy at all. Academic took over us. In the first few weeks, we were still all glittery and new like the shrink wrap on a new ream of papers, giving us a new feeling of curiosity and excitement. But soon that changed as fast as it started, and we were all trying to impress one another. The hierarchy fell and all that mattered is whether or not you managed to be smarter or better or faster than those you once called your friends. Because now it's a competition. And academic prostitution was the way to win. Now it's not always like that of course. They were still my friends and we still had fun, but never before did my friendships have an academically competitive edge.

Before I left high school one of my favorite teachers told me that, "no matter how smart you may think you are, it doesn't matter because you're about to go to a college where everyone else is just as smart if not smarter than you." And he was right.

I was very intimidated. And quite frankly, terrified.

Soon I discovered that it's okay, because you know what? Everyone else is too. We were all going through the same thing and I realized that friendships and academics can go together in the same direction. They are proportional in that I can let my friendships flourish and let my grades rise and IT CAN WORK. I'm not disregarding the difficulty in this, because it truly is hard. But it's not impossible either.

However that doesn't mean we are successful. We sold our identity and voice to our classes in hopes to raise our grades or network with the right people. I don't want to justify this because it's wrong, but it's necessary to be successful. I made a point that friendships and academics can be proportional, however it comes with a price. I am selling myself to my school. I do my best, I bite my tongue, I hold my breath, I work harder, I walk faster, I make it in time, I suck it up, I type my resume, and I pray that they accept me. And I think in a sense we all do this. To our bosses or our parents or our teachers or our god(s) or to whoever you hold in a position of authority. We voluntarily give up our individuality for these models and hope that everything works out. One of my church leaders said that, "we are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." And I do think there is some merits in his words, but again I need to ask if the sacrifice is really worth it.

I am committing academic prostitution in hopes that I'll be successful. That's reality. And whether or not that is wrong, chances are we're all doing it.

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