Eva Harshman

A stack of notes I found in the first three chapters alone from the previous owner of one of my textbooks.

The tablets have only my mindless scrawls

Day in, day out. Read the textbook, fill out a paper and turn it in for a completion grade. Get tested on these exact terms three days later without remembering a single word. Each time the words are written down, they float out of reach after escaping my handhold.

I hate school.

The judgemental stares, stringent punishments and constant fear of failing taint each and every day. They are tolerable. They add spice and variety to the day, and at this point, anything that isn’t monotonous is thrilling, whether it be positive or negative. 

I love learning.

Uncovering a new concept isn’t torture; it never was. I love expanding what I can do, as each lesson is a weapon in my arsenal in my fight for my personal autonomy. I need each and every resource that could possibly be at hand in such an expansive world. I don’t just need these weapons, but I need the newest and latest models; the best and highest grades. Anything below an A is unacceptable.

Fortunately, school has never come disproportionately difficult for me. I can grasp conceptual ropes as I climb further and further into my education. I take a plethora of AP classes—probably too many for my own good—but I am still staying afloat.

School is hard. It’s really hard.

I’m a scribe being held captive by the enemies, watching the battles outside from the small cell window. I will be thrown into that very battle with only my writings as armor. I can tell you from start to finish how a battle works—actually, I could a few days ago. All of the writings have been smeared into one ink blotch. I can describe each weapon if I can retrieve it from my overflowing neural paths, but if you throw me onto the battlefield, I will surely not last a second.

With each worksheet and textbook page that my eyes briefly glide over, a small scrap is processed; a proportion that is surely not efficient. It is barely tolerable at this point, and I can hardly remember a thing.

Homework and studying, though awful, have left me unscathed and possibly even stronger. They are my training regimens that are necessary for each and every muscle, including the brain. I can’t skimp out on training; I will surely perish in the real world.

It’s the lack of stimulation that causes me to falter, and I can only imagine that my peers feel the same. When I am doing the same work in the same format in each of my classes, I am not learning. I am remembering certain phrases and specific questions that when on the battlefield, I will completely brush to the side. I am putting in hours in reward for minutes.

I am remembering certain phrases and specific questions that when on the battlefield, I will completely brush to the side.

Throughout the monotonous drag of the day, there are few classes that I genuinely learn in. These classes are not solely worksheets, bookwork, and note-taking. Admittedly, there is value in these, but in proportion to other learning methods. 

Most learning in my day takes place outside of the cell; I am out on the battlefield, clashing, building, and thinking—really, truly, thinking. 

There is very little thought that goes into my daily tasks. Typically, I’m thinking “Ow, my hand hurts from all this writing,” or “Only five questions left.” Five questions in my textbook reading guide or five years shaved off of my life?

Due to the mindless agenda I stride through every day while blankly doing the bare minimum and calling it an achievement, when I do think, I think hard. I have the energy. I need to burn it off, and I want to burn it off as a blazing torch into the battlefield.

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