Is what we learn in school applicable to the real world?

SCHOOL’S OVER!… Now what? (The Tide)

Sophie Rapeepat | Head Editor

February 1, 2024

“Who uses SOH CAH TOA in the real world? Why should I care that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell?”

With over a decade of experience in school, all of us have asked these questions at least a hundred times in protest of the academic system. To many, it feels like each year is a monotonous struggle of learning and relearning the same useless information, much of which is not even what we consider “need-to-know” information. For example, why do we spend so much time and energy learning about kinematic equations if the majority of us aren’t going to become physicists? Wouldn’t it be more productive to learn instead life skills like how to change a flat tire or do taxes? Many agree that while school teaches knowledge, the real world requires more than that.

Ultimately, there are endless arguments for how the school system has failed us, and undeniably, there is much to be improved. However, what is the alternative option?

Anyone can declare that school is a waste of time and whatnot, but the truth is that students will most likely have the same attitude about it no matter what information is being taught. I think it’s a great idea to incorporate life lessons into the curriculum; but honestly, I couldn’t care less about how to do taxes or how to buy a house– not because I don’t think they’re important life skills, but rather because they simply aren’t relevant to me at this particular moment in time. Others would agree, and many would dismiss and even abuse a practical skills class.

I think the purpose of school is not to give us the answers to navigating the “real world,” but rather to teach us how to teach ourselves. Junior April Smith agreed that “it’s not just the academic education being taught, but how to develop leadership skills, social skills, and even who we are as teenagers.”

WHAT has school taught us about the real world? (Spin Sucks)

Calculus problems may not save our lives, but they teach us critical thinking and perseverance. Memorizing history textbooks might seem like a waste of time, but in reality, we are learning time management skills and how to deal with stress. All of these are necessary for everyday life, and maybe learning SOH CAH TOA is just a path to help us learn these skills for life.  

What I’m trying to say is that school does help us develop life skills, just maybe not in the way we would have originally thought of. Junior Presley Persson explained how sometimes school teaches “information we think we will never use again.” But at the end of the day, she reflected, “I think every assignment has made me into the person I’ve become. I look back and it’s cool to see how much I can improve in just a year.”

Complaining does not change anything, so we might as well learn to adapt. Instead of focusing on what we are learning, we should start recognizing, and even appreciating, how we learn. 

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