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Hey guys, hopefully your summer has been an awesome one. Unfortunately, the summer is coming to an end and school is looming over the horizon. And I'm starting to feel its effects already. X_X


[[P.S. Don't be intimidated by this long post. Honestly the essentials are just in the next two paragraphs. Please take some time to read, I know it's sometimes hard to focus. XD I feel the same way.]]




I'm hesitant to use this stereotype, but we are all probably extreme procrastinators. And being the procrastinators we are, I can probably say that most of us haven't done much summer reading. School starts for me in a week, yet I have absolutely nothing done, save for a couple chapters in one book. The thing is, I will be fine grade wise. So why do I still have this feeling of dread? Why can't I just do all my work, and be done with it? I still have a decent amount of time, provided that I use some "shortcuts" which many of my classmates abuse. I guess you could call some of it cheating, but in the end, academic integrity doesn't mean much to me. Because in school, you lose your individuality anyway and are forced to think like a robot, constantly churning out demanded data exactly how others want it. And I think that's the problem with school.



I believe that most of you want to do well academically. But is it just me, or does "doing well" mean more than just getting good grades? To me it also means producing meaningful work (no matter how mundane the assignments are) and having a personal relationship with the things that are learned. Unfortunately this is a lot harder than it sounds. For example, our class is doing a summer reading "blog", where each student posts his or her reaction to a book. I took a look at what was submitted already, and it seems like 95% of the people just made no effort to come up with something original. They just blindly followed the suggestions given. 4-5 sentences, what chapter was the most interesting, how did this book impact you, important scenes, favorite characters. This is enough for a near perfect grade, but I just can't seem to follow these directions! They are just suggestions after all, and I always have a need to produce something unique. It really drains a lot of energy out of me the more I become robotic and churn out demanded data. Can you guys relate to this?





When doing schoolwork, I am constantly debating whether to follow simple directions and get the good grade, or spend a lot more time and energy and get some personal satisfaction from the work as well. The pros to the latter are that I learn a lot more, remember things easier, and feel energized after completion. The cons are that I end up spending 450% more time (I'll never finish anything else), it doesn't really improve my grade that much, and it often goes unappreciated. What do you guys think about this? What should I do about this problem? I think I have pretty much decided that I will have to sacrifice some personal feeling and individuality this year in order to survive the massive workload that comes with being a high school junior. To compensate for this emotional draining I may take an art class as well as focus more on extracurriculars such as piano and martial arts. Any other suggestions?
 

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Thanks so much for reading this, btw. It has turned into quite a long post but also an insightful personal realization. Hopefully others can relate to this and we can all help each other deal with school better!

:happy:
 

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I felt exactly the same way in high school.

Looking back on my high school years, if I could do one thing differently, it would have been to tell every single teacher I had that I felt this way, and ask if we could work something out for a win-win situation. Now that some of my friends are teachers, I see the other side of things. A lot of teachers hate grading the same thing over and over, but the administrators (and legislation) require it. Some teachers are willing to break rules for students who care about learning meaningful things.

Don't expect sympathy from every teacher, but there is bound to be one who will be on your side.
 

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Starflower, I know haha it sometimes feels that way for me too. and thanks clear umbrella! I think I will maybe ask my guidance counselor or something. maybe see if i can work out something out with my teachers too. nice idea. So do you think teachers will notice if I do a little extra, even if its very subtle or just once in a while?
 

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I'm a high school teacher (though I teach math) and I have a friend and co-worker who's an INFP and he's an English teacher. He sounds extremely similar to you not only in how he described himself as a high school and college student, but also how he is as a teacher.

It's hard for me to describe the similarities and differences between him and me, because it's extremely complex. I could probably go on for pages and pages about education, but I'll try to keep it short.


I'm hesitant to use this stereotype, but we are all probably extreme procrastinators. And being the procrastinators we are, I can probably say that most of us haven't done much summer reading. School starts for me in a week, yet I have absolutely nothing done, save for a couple chapters in one book. The thing is, I will be fine grade wise. So why do I still have this feeling of dread? Why can't I just do all my work, and be done with it? I still have a decent amount of time, provided that I use some "shortcuts" which many of my classmates abuse. I guess you could call some of it cheating, but in the end, academic integrity doesn't mean much to me. Because in school, you lose your individuality anyway and are forced to think like a robot, constantly churning out demanded data exactly how others want it. And I think that's the problem with school.
You're right, and this is a subject that my friend and I talk about constantly, though there's very little we can do about it.

The problem is that in the current public school system (I'm referring to the United States here, I'll assume you were too because of how you described it...though I'm also referring to North Carolina which I believe is worse than a lot of states), from an early age in elementary school, kids are taught not to think or question but just to do. It's all political BS, measuring everything by standardized test scores and awarding funds accordingly. Like you said, even then, kids are forced to think like robots.

So by the time they get to high school, most kids are like that. They're used to just doing what they're told to get a grade. Of course, a lot of them don't even do that...they're simply passed along whether they know the material or not, and then we have to deal with them in high school and get blamed for when they fail. But I digress.

SJ's probably just do what their told because they love the routine and structure. They have no problem following directions mindlessly, going through the motions, and getting good grades. They just want to get into a good college and get a good job.

SP's probably struggle because they have trouble staying focused on something that seems pointless to them...there's no need to worry about the future after they graduate, they'll figure it out later, and in the present, doing fun things with friends is more important than mindless work that means nothing for hours and hours every day.

NT's probably feel like everything is extremely simplistic and easy, and since most kids are S's, they can probably get good grades more easily than most of their peers. They're probably bored in class, thinking the work is stupid yet easy, and manage to do their own thing but still get great grades (or feel like the whole thing is beneath them and don't "live up to their potential", having parents and teachers wonder why they can't be more like the SJ students).

And NF's...they're just screwed. They can't do any of the previous three things, so they're like you...they have to choose whether or not to sacrifice what's more important to them.


I know I'm generalizing here, but this is the way that I see it. I once read that school is run by SJ's for SJ's, though even SJ's think it's stupid and pointless...they're just better at accepting it and going through the motions.


But teachers are in the same situation students are. Because our students are so used to doing mindless work, it's like pulling teeth to get most of them to do something else. We're not measured by what kids actually do and learn, we're measured by how well they do on standardized tests and how many of them graduate, whether they deserve it or not. If a student doesn't want to do real work, it's our fault for failing them, according to principals. And of course, we want to keep our jobs so we can pay our rent.

So like you, we're faced to choose...do we go through the motions, do what we need to do to keep our jobs and keep ourselves from over-working ourselves and stressing ourselves out even more than we already are? Or do we try to push for real teaching and learning, knowing that by pushing ourselves beyond what is reasonable for any person we're only going to reach a small number of students, even though we might have a profound impact on the ones we do reach and can positively influence them for the rest of their lives?



BrightenUp said:
I believe that most of you want to do well academically. But is it just me, or does "doing well" mean more than just getting good grades? To me it also means producing meaningful work (no matter how mundane the assignments are) and having a personal relationship with the things that are learned. Unfortunately this is a lot harder than it sounds. For example, our class is doing a summer reading "blog", where each student posts his or her reaction to a book. I took a look at what was submitted already, and it seems like 95% of the people just made no effort to come up with something original. They just blindly followed the suggestions given. 4-5 sentences, what chapter was the most interesting, how did this book impact you, important scenes, favorite characters. This is enough for a near perfect grade, but I just can't seem to follow these directions! They are just suggestions after all, and I always have a need to produce something unique. It really drains a lot of energy out of me the more I become robotic and churn out demanded data. Can you guys relate to this?

When doing schoolwork, I am constantly debating whether to follow simple directions and get the good grade, or spend a lot more time and energy and get some personal satisfaction from the work as well. The pros to the latter are that I learn a lot more, remember things easier, and feel energized after completion. The cons are that I end up spending 450% more time (I'll never finish anything else), it doesn't really improve my grade that much, and it often goes unappreciated. What do you guys think about this? What should I do about this problem? I think I have pretty much decided that I will have to sacrifice some personal feeling and individuality this year in order to survive the massive workload that comes with being a high school junior. To compensate for this emotional draining I may take an art class as well as focus more on extracurriculars such as piano and martial arts. Any other suggestions?

Like I said, what's so interesting is that your teachers face the same decision you do, just probably with more stress and more at stake. I'm not trying to de-emphasize your own situation, it's also vitally important and very difficult. I'm just saying that both my INFP friend and I have been in both positions, student and teacher, and we both agree that being a teacher is harder, actually much harder, than being a student.


So we end up compromising. We give in to demands from our bosses enough to keep our jobs and keep ourselves sane and living, but also try to get something real wherever we can. That's better than a lot of teachers, because there are a lot of horrible teachers out there. I know that if nothing else I'm helping students graduate, which in itself takes a ridiculous amount of work, since these standardized tests are extremely ridiculous and unreasonable. My friend, as an INFP, is probably more noble than I am, and probably does actual more real teaching. Of course, he's also not shackled by a standardized test, and he probably gets more stressed out than I do.







So anyway....this was probably more of a personal vent than anything else. I'm an ISFJ, the epitome of a goody-two shoes student who did everything he was supposed to in order to get good grades and get into college. It's natural for me to want to please authority, including my bosses at work. But even I know and see how pointless and screwed up the education system is, and my INFP friend feels the same way even moreso.

I don't mean to come across as overly pessimistic, because there are a lot of great things about my job, I know I've helped and formed relationships with students, and I have a lot of great memories from teaching. So the only advice I can offer you is to try to find a balance...when you can physically and mentally manage it, go the extra mile and do real work, for yourself if for no one else. If you have a teacher that you know is passionate about it, do more for that teacher than your others...if they really are passionate about their work, they will appreciate it. In other situations, just go through the motions and do what you need to do...don't beat yourself up over it, just move on, it's not your fault.

That sounds like a good half-way compromise between myself as an ISFJ student and my friend (and you) as an INFP student. :happy: Maybe INFJ's have it down just right. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Wow Teddy, a lot of what you said about types and their attitudes toward school seem to be spot on! Most of the people who I know are good at school are all SJs. And two of my friends who are INFJs also do really well in school but also feel like they are in my situation at times.

and thank you very much for saying that teachers are also in a similar situation to students. It opened my mind a little and changed my perspective towards many teachers in our school. I kind of felt like teaching was a mundane job about repeating facts over and over again to people, and that my teachers actually spend more time on other things in their lives. But my suspicion that there is much more to teaching has been confirmed, and now I realize that "education professionals" go through as much complications and technicalities as other professionals do!

thanks a bundle for the very thorough response. I really appreciate it.
 

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I felt that way in high school. I could get at least somewhat interested in the material, but the assignments were never interesting or challenging and I never got any reward for putting in extra work, so I didn't. I'd make A's with little effort, but that meant nothing to me. It was mildly insulting to be forced to go through that giant waste of time, being held back by the same information year after year with the "reward" being a useless number on my paper that was not the measure of knowledge they pretended it to be, but a measure of obedience.

What I would change if I had to do it again, I would have fun with it. I wouldn't let myself get bogged down by the bullshit, but turn it into something fun. I have to do it, and I don't care about the grade I make. So, why did I not do exactly what I wanted instead of the bare minimum? I felt crushed and uninspired. Hindsight is 20/20, and this is certainly something I would do differently. It's not for the grade, it's for yourself.
 

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and thank you very much for saying that teachers are also in a similar situation to students. It opened my mind a little and changed my perspective towards many teachers in our school. I kind of felt like teaching was a mundane job about repeating facts over and over again to people, and that my teachers actually spend more time on other things in their lives. But my suspicion that there is much more to teaching has been confirmed, and now I realize that "educational professionals" go through as much complications and technicalities as other professionals do!
In all fairness, as I mentioned, there are plenty of horrible teachers out there. Some of them don't care about students, go through the motions, only work for a paycheck, and cash in on all of the benefits (good job security from teacher unions, great health care benefits, great retirement benefits, and plenty of vacation time). And because of teacher unions (or in NC's case, a complicated tenure set-up), it's very hard for a lot of them to be fired. There's a lot of abuse of the system.


Of course, the flip side to it is that the system is set up so that good teachers are either driven away, burned out or worn down to the point where they become bad teachers. See, my friend and I are both young, we're only in our fifth year of teaching. I know that when I was in high school all of my teachers were much older. So we're both still probably on the fairly optimistic and idealistic side.

But I'm willing to bet that a lot of potentially great teachers are choked out by the system. The pay is low and the stress is high, which keeps a lot of people from going into it in the first place. Then a lot of idealistic young teachers, who really want to do real teaching and want to make a difference, get burned out by all of the limitations and BS, and end up quitting after a few years to try something else. And I'm sure some of the ones that remain just get worn down by the system after years and years. It's possible that some of your older teachers who aren't good were much better when they were younger. I hope that I'm not much worse ten or twenty years from now.


Simply put: Teaching is a very easy job to do badly and still keep your job. It's a very hard job to do well.



So it's a very frustrating situation. Just do your best to get the most out of it without burdening yourself too much. Unless you go into education yourself, at least you only have to deal with it for a few years. :wink:
 

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This'll probably be a mess - my first drafts always are - so i apologize in advance.

I went to a pretty good high school, and i suppose i had more opportunities to do interesting work than most people. Still, most of the work was pretty dull, or i fell into the same trap as you, BrightenUp, where i could work much, much harder than usual and actually come up with something that i was personally satisfied with. Or, i could just put in my time and do well enough, but not find the courses personally fulfilling.

This changes a bit when you're older, thank goodness - in college, i was able to minor in Writing (+ take several Creative Writing courses), which was the most creatively and emotionally fulfilling set of courses i've ever taken in my life. I was able to work far to hard and throw myself into those courses and come up with something i was deeply proud of. Of course, you're probably not at that point yet, but it's still something to look forward to. :)

I feel like the biggest mistake i made was that i valued my schoolwork less and less. The work seems stupid, boring, and unfulfilling at the time, but you're not in high school just to learn sets of facts and how to do math problems. You're also in high school to learn how to make the best of doing work that might not have that much value to you. Throughout your life, there will be times when you'll have to do work that's not immediately gratifying to you, and it's valuable to learn how to focus and get that work done. (If you figure out how to do this, tell me how - i spend far too much time at work browsing the web or doodling on post-it notes. >_<)

One thing that helped me in high school was talking to my teachers and having some kind of relationships with them. I remember discussing James Joyce with one of my English teachers, and a couple months later, we read one of his books. Sure, all my friends hated the book, but for me, the class became a lot of fun.

Hm. Not sure i said much that wasn't said already, but try not to hate / rebel against school too much, and i hope you have an amazing...or at least a decent...junior year. Oh, and extracurriculars are great, especially the ones without some form of homework. For some reason, being busier has been a fantastic way to help me budget my time and enjoy the things i'm doing more.
 

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I always want to produce something meaningful too. It is beautiful to see others do things well for no reason except their own inner drive, so I want to do it too. I want to inspire like that.

You might not get credit for doing something well, but it is satisfying and uplifting at least. The opposite, like you say, is so draining. It's kind of like being yourself, unfortunately. You don't get much credit for being yourself, but at least you appreciate the difference.

It is deeply satisfying though, in school, to know going into a test or exam that you have mastered the material to the point that it will be easy. Mastery is deeply rewarding. It is also a habit and needs a lot of nurturing.
 

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I feel like the biggest mistake i made was that i valued my schoolwork less and less. The work seems stupid, boring, and unfulfilling at the time, but you're not in high school just to learn sets of facts and how to do math problems. You're also in high school to learn how to make the best of doing work that might not have that much value to you. Throughout your life, there will be times when you'll have to do work that's not immediately gratifying to you, and it's valuable to learn how to focus and get that work done. (If you figure out how to do this, tell me how - i spend far too much time at work browsing the web or doodling on post-it notes. >_<)
This is actually a really good point, and every now and then I'll mention it to my students. Unfortunately in life, you're just going to have to do things you don't want to sometimes, whether it's for your job, your living arrangement, or anything else. School gives you practice sucking it up and working through it. It also gives you practice working with and dealing with different types of people, some of which you don't like...often that happens in jobs too.
 

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I decided i'm gonna do things differently this year; instead of scraping by with bare minimum marks, i'm going to do what I want. This is mostly related to art....I get so bogged down by everything the school system conveys to me that even what I love, art, seems like a chore. And as a result I feel personally unfullfilled.

I don't know about you guys, but I just need to step up my game and stop procrastinating and TRY to stay interested. It's so, so easy to not give a fuck - and us INFP's seem to do it as well or better as any of the other types. We are masters of procrastination, and for me being told to do something makes me want to do the exact opposite. I also think I have a self destroying complex somewhere up there :p. I have three sciences this year, psychology and 2 whole semesters of art. You would normally think that I would fail the sciences and ace art, but the fact is I generally try really hard, and since art comes naturally to me I whip something off last second and BS my way through it. This year I'm going to focus on what I really like, while also trying to get past the subjects I hate - because I've fallen into the same trap all you others have, where being a mindless robot and getting the work done is more important that personal fulfillment.

Well, fuck that! :)

hope that wasn't too jumbled to completely understand, I kinda skip around and confuse people sometimes
 
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Yeah, so I guess having closer relationships with teachers seems to be important as well. Teddy, yup, I am sure there are bad teachers as well, who take advantage of the system. But I believe people like you still have got the chance to try and change things! I hope at least that by the time my generation becomes older, our school system will have changed.

Sumi, thanks for the post, and don't worry about sounding disorganized. I agree with Teddy, you made a good point in saying that school can also teach you how to do things you don't want to do. That is a valuable skill. I'm not really sure how to stay focused either, I only seem to be able to focus when there is a lot at stake and little time. However I think once you push past a certain amount of hard focusing on a task, it will be easier to focus after that. You just kinda have to break through your.... concentration threshold I guess.

ptarmigan, its true, if i actually do manage to master something then it is very rewarding. but school doesnt really give me much of a chance, and many topics are unfortunately presented in uninteresting ways. Thats why I think I am going to focus on things I enjoy such as art.

and Minkaybell, I guess I am also going to be taking a similar direction as you are! good luck to the both of us. :crazy:
and your post wasn't jumbled at all.

All in all I am glad that I have a plan for school now, especially for junior year. And honestly I only have such a plan because of how much I learned about myself this summer. I express my deepest gratitude to Personality Cafe for playing a large part in my growth over the past few months :proud:

But I would still like to hear opinions from more of you, and what you say may help out a lot of other people too! :happy:

thanks again everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
oh, I forgot to mention Psilo. yeah, I think I am definitely going to have a lot more fun junior year, despite what everyone says about it being the worst year ever. thanks for the advice!
 

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I believe that most of you want to do well academically. But is it just me, or does "doing well" mean more than just getting good grades? To me it also means producing meaningful work (no matter how mundane the assignments are) and having a personal relationship with the things that are learned. Unfortunately this is a lot harder than it sounds. For example, our class is doing a summer reading "blog", where each student posts his or her reaction to a book. I took a look at what was submitted already, and it seems like 95% of the people just made no effort to come up with something original. They just blindly followed the suggestions given. 4-5 sentences, what chapter was the most interesting, how did this book impact you, important scenes, favorite characters. This is enough for a near perfect grade, but I just can't seem to follow these directions! They are just suggestions after all, and I always have a need to produce something unique. It really drains a lot of energy out of me the more I become robotic and churn out demanded data. Can you guys relate to this?
I can definitely relate to this.
But sometimes it's hard to see past the logic of just following
instructions and get an easy grade. So I give in! :mellow:
Which makes the end product of my work not as an enjoyable and meaningful.....
 

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I can definitely relate to this.
But sometimes it's hard to see past the logic of just following
instructions and get an easy grade. So I give in! :mellow:
Which makes the end product of my work not as an enjoyable and meaningful.....
yup, I'm glad so many people feel the same way I do. It's tempting to just give in for me as well.

Nice signature, by the way. :laughing:
 

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I'm not an INFP(or so I think not), but I figured I'd comment anyway.
I hate school, for the facts that 1) you can't do anything significant in school 2) too many rules 3) it's not like i can even USE 90% of the knowledge i am learning. pardon me if this sounds extremely Te, but I do not believe in accumulating knowledge just because it is interesting. I often find that I have to give myself a reason to learn something for me to be interested in it. For example, i am an earth science major and i let myself know that "this stuff will come in handy when coming up with new environmental innovations, etc." It is very hard for me to study something if it has no purpose. I was an underachiever for most of school.
I don't relate to "extreme procrastinating"..it bugs me until I get it out of the way. But I do end up procrastinating at times.
Because in school, you lose your individuality anyway and are forced to think like a robot, constantly churning out demanded data exactly how others want it. And I think that's the problem with school.

Oh my goodness, who are you and how did you get into my head? This is EXACTLY what I always thought, in addition to the fact that I thought it was too rigid and most of it wasn't even necessary.
For me, doing well=being able to actually USE that knowledge. I don't care how well you understand something, but I do care about what you can do with it. If I want knowledge, I can just go to the library or google. But it takes an even better mind to produce innovations or even just DO something with it.
Give me a good reason why it is necessary to go to school and follow all these rules, and I won't bitch about this anymore.
 
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Hey Staryu, thanks for responding! Yup, while I may not always feel like I have to be able to use or innovate from whatever I learn, there has to be more to school than just receiving information. You're right, a lot of the information we need can simply be taken from books or the Internet.
 

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Hey Staryu, thanks for responding! Yup, while I may not always feel like I have to be able to use or innovate from whatever I learn, there has to be more to school than just receiving information. You're right, a lot of the information we need can simply be taken from books or the Internet.
Hey! No problem.
Oh having to "use the knowledge" is probably just a J/ Te trait. IMO, information is useless without using the knowledge. But I do know people who enjoy learning something just for the sake of learning it...good for them. I could care less for academic credentials =_=
 
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