School Is Killing Our Passions

Graphics by Kaley Peniche.

When I was ten I began to write stories in a notebook. I would spend my weekends writing because my best friend wrote in hers. It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed writing. However, it wasn’t until  the seventh grade when my English teacher assigned a homework in which we have to create our own mythology that I realized how much I loved it. I remember getting off the school bus and running to my room just to get the assignment started. I came up with a dozen scenarios and it was in that moment that I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

However, other assignments that I would endure later turned this passion into a chore.

While that one assignment made me proud of my writing, others made me stress over the quality of it. Quality is important and making sure that my writing is at its best is always a priority. However, there is a difference between concerning myself with the content of my writing and worrying as to whether my professor thinks that it’s up to their standard.

I believe that perfecting one’s craft is important, but not to simply please a single individual who doesn’t care about what you were trying to say because they are focused on a specific guideline. Having to write to meet specific criteria forced me to leave creativity at my door and work with my logical side. This turned writing completely into work and left no room for passion.

I wouldn’t mind having to write according to a specific prompt if I didn’t feel like it had to be perfect. It’s not about following a guideline, because you can still be creative and follow someone else’s idea. Instead, it’s about the grading system that we use. I will take the time to write a well thought out response to a prompt and would love to discuss it. However, all the students get in return is a simple letter grade at the top of their work.

In other words, the hundreds of words that are made up by thousands of letters that I put to the paper boil down to a single letter.

It’s not just about writing, as students have all kinds of passions. Which is why I reached out to another Miami Dade College  student, Yasined Fernandez, and asked her how she felt about her passion, art.

“I used to take ART classes with the intention of just spending all my time creating new unique pieces and learning new weird techniques. At first, I’d walk into class, happy and willing to make something new, but after a while, I’d dread the idea of having to pick up a brush,” Fernandez said. “I don’t know why school tends to screw over our passions, making them feel like chores, but over the span of my time in that class, I started to hate art, and the whole concept of art.”

Fernandez made me realize that this discontent I feel is completely normal. I’m not simply being a lazy procrastinator; I’m feeling something that I believe every student feels at some point with their own passions.

While I do believe that school can turn our passion into a chore, I think it is up to us to keep the love for it alive. I don’t want to think about the fact that I stopped writing because I just got tired of having to do it. I want to think about the fact that I got over the hassle of writing for school and continued to write for myself.

I propose that we make time for our passions outside of school and work. Let’s make sure that we continue doing the things that we love despite the chore-like feeling that school might make us have about it sometimes.

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