stephanie jones

Dear “What to become if you suck at school,”

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I can see phrases used for searches that eventually land people on this blog…I’m often surprised by the searches and I find so many of them fascinating.

This one, “What do become if you suck at school” just can’t be ignored.

So – if you’re out there – here goes:

I have no idea how old you are or how much school you must/will still complete – this part of my response assumes you are in school somewhere right now. If you have anyone at all you can reach out to in school (a teacher, counselor, advisor, administrator, coach, professor, etc.), reach out to that person and tell her or him that you have this question about what to become. Tell her/him you think you suck at school, and ask her/him what things can be put in place to help you to be more successful while you are there. Maybe you can become involved in elective courses, different activities, special co-op work activities, service-learning, or something else that will be more interesting to you – and perhaps you will also become more “successful” because what you’re doing will seem more meaningful.

If you have no one at all you can turn to in school, perhaps thinking differently about school might help. For example, while everyone acts like school is the one thing that is the most important part of your life right now, you have a full life awaiting you outside of school. Focus on “becoming” the things you already like to do and be: Do you like video games? Working on cars? Building things? Growing things from seeds? Do you like something so much that you don’t even realize you “like” it because it’s such a part of your life? Like cooking food, fixing broken appliances, making art? Dancing, running, making clothes? Helping people? Working with youngsters? Making videos? What else might your interests be?

Chances are you might be experiencing “school” as some boring, drill-and-kill experience focused on following directions and test-taking that doesn’t allow you to pursue your passions and interests – or to even figure out what those might be. I promise this is not a good representation of what “learning” means when you decide that you are actually interested in learning something and you really go for it. What are you already kinda good at? Would you like to work on that and learn more about it? Then get going on it yourself – and that might mean on your own time outside of school.

Once you get some ideas, start knocking on some doors that seem related to your interests. Go to community agencies (YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, foodbanks, all kinds of places!), art stores, dance studios, computer stores, design businesses, running shoe store, construction business, animal shelter, or any place you imagine might need a “service” you can offer – even for free at first! Get to know people and let them know you. Show them you are interested and motivated – even if it’s a volunteer position – and ask for their advice about developing your skill/craft and yourself.

If you suck at school, it’s also likely that the way school is working just sucks. It’s not supposed to be that way, but sometimes it is. Take your learning and interests and passions into your own hands, and find others to help you.

Become the person who loves her/himself and what he/she can offer to the world. That means not beating yourself up because you think you suck. You have wonderful, amazing things to do – and you might not be able to depend on school to help you get there.

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