If you ever thought about hating school and all its dramas, endless class requirements, and examinations that don’t make any sense, you’re not alone.
Hating school is the norm.
73% of students say that they do not like school (source)!
But have you ever thought why?
Why do students dislike the idea of learning in an institution?
I will answer this question in detail.
But first, let me tell you the story of my niece Michelle, a junior biomedical engineering student at the University of Illinois.
What a typical school day looks like
Here’s how my niece describes her college life.
Imagine this is your life:
My alarm starts ringing at 6 a.m. every single day.
However, I wake up after 40 minutes of convincing myself I have to get up, eat breakfast, and catch the 7:15 bus to school. So I’m left with only 30 minutes of free time from dozing too long.
I end up panicking and skipping food and coffee.
I take the bus to school as it’s cheaper than driving a car and helps me prepare for my first subject. It takes about 15 minutes for me to get from home to school.
From the bus stop, it takes a 10-minute walk to get to my school, and I guess an additional 5-7 minutes to get to my first class.
Things can get longer when you bump into traffic or a friend and spend a few minutes talking, which is usually the reason I get late, sheesh!
Fiction 8:00-9:00 a.m.
It’s my first non-technical class, and I’m quite happy with it as it allows me to focus on other subjects that require a lot more brainpower.
But then again, it’s a compromise, so I have to work twice as hard on certain days when I have to catch up on fiction.
Awkward gap 9:00-12:00 p.m.
So after fiction, I have a 3-hour gap that annoys me most of the time.
It gives me more hours to focus on my homework and even have lunch without any time pressure, but it gets super boring and unproductive.
Dynamics lecture 12:00-1:00 p.m.
This class is exhausting. It’s technical and full of calculations that leaves me with a headache.
To make matters worse, I dislike my professor here. I don’t find him that qualified, and he explains too briefly.
In a nutshell, he’s not doing a great job at all — unenthusiastic about teaching such a complex subject!
Modeling-Human Physiology 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Another class that I wish was less technical than the previous one. It’s annoying how I need to take two technical subjects back to back. Although I find my professor passionate and sincere about teaching, the class has too many equations that you don’t expect.
One other concern is that I have a few classmates here who are purely annoying and aren’t taking this class seriously.
Research 3:00-6:00 p.m.
After drying my brain from those two subjects, I have to analyze musculoskeletal motion data. That’s all to understand the balance and movement of human beings — in an absurdly meticulous manner.
After this 3-hour-long session, I am nothing but drained.
Dinner 6:00-6:30 p.m.
I have a love and hate relationship with my dinner break. It’s only 30 minutes! It drives me nuts that I have to rush to the nearest cafe or restaurant and eat whatever’s quick to chow.
I wish that there was a way to transfer that morning gap to each class evenly. But that’s college; you have to do what you have to do.
Engineering council meeting 6:30-8:00
It’s a must at our school to attend this meeting. So here I am, not satisfied with my dinner. We do get a lot of useful information here, but I’m just too tired already from a long day of class.
Homework 8:00-11:00 p.m.
Since I have no plans flunking out of college and seeing my money go to waste, I have to study all night at the library with a few colleagues. A cup of coffee right after the meeting does the trick.
Home 11:00-11:30 p.m.
After a long day, I finally get to rest. Super tired and sleepy already, but I have to take a warm bath to relax. After that, I fall asleep almost instantly, and then it’s another battle at 6 a.m.
I have been battling this schedule since the first day of this semester.
Let’s recap: 5 reasons why students hate school
Now, after reading my niece’s hectic schedule, you should know by now that school isn’t flexible.
Unlike work or running a business where you can skip a day or two without facing dire consequences, school is different.
You not only waste time and money, but you also risk failing class if you force things to run your way.
Seeing an F on your report card can give people the impression that you’re either lazy or slow. And when people see you as either of those two, you get fewer opportunities in life.
That’s what makes school so much more unforgiving than running a business or going to work.
But here’s a breakdown of why students don’t like school in general:
1. It’s not up to you
Again, as we’ve mentioned above, schools don’t leave you with a lot of options.
You take what they offer and follow that to the letter.
When they say you must be there at 7:15 a.m. sharp, you have to be there, or else you’ll be late.
Although you may have the right to choose your major, you’re still left with annoying prerequisites, minors, and schedules that you may likely hate.
You end up feeling helpless and forced to follow. It’s not just students that hate the idea of being forced but also adults.
However, that’s how society runs things at the moment.
There are a few schools in the world today trying to change this norm, but until then, students are stuck with this system where they can’t fully customize their learning.
2. You don’t get to choose your classmates
You don’t get to choose your classmates
Like above, it’s not up to you.
Whether you like them or not, your classmates are there in the same room as you.
Some of them may likely be bullies that you have to deal with every day, which is one of the biggest reasons why students hate school even more.
Unlike work where you can effectively complain about a colleague, schools have a high tolerance for that.
Add the parents backing these bullies up — it’s almost impossible to get them kicked out until something significant happens.
3. Some teachers don’t know what they’re doing
Let’s face it, not every person who graduates college deserves to become an educator.
Some professors aren’t enthusiastic about helping their students get good grades. They’re more into handing out examinations and assessing the student instead of focusing on making them learn.
Students feel like they don’t have a chance against a bully, how much more would they feel when talking about facing a terror professor.
4. Information overload
Another reason why most students hate school is the sheer information that it requires for them to digest.
Remember, you don’t have that many options. In school, you’re in a take it or leave it situation.
If you take it, like everyone who goes to school, you should be prepared to take everything regardless of your opinion about the subject.
The problem is that some people aren’t ready to take on such a load. Remember, everyone is unique and has his/her capacity.
For some students, this information overload can make them rebel and skip school. And as a consequence, they end up failing, making them hate school even more.
Last on our list that makes students hate school so much is the pressure that comes along with it.
Your parents expect you to provide them with good grades. It’s not just an Asian stereotype, but any parent would be happy to see their kid with an A than just passing with a C.
This pressure puts a lot of stress on the students, making their experience in school even more miserable.
Add pain to injury — bullies will tease students with low grades and call them names.
Hating school isn’t anything new. These institutions are never perfect, and they’ll never be. However, they are doing their best to upgrade and improve and give every student a worthwhile experience apart from just education.
What you can do as a student is to persevere and focus on the outcome — the life after school.
Getting a high GPA will help you hit the top and get more out of your studies.
Instead of hunting for a job, you get corporate invitations for high-paying positions.
Perhaps, that’s one of the things why school is challenging and unlikeable because it prepares us for the next big thing — life.