By ◆ Juppie on Saturday, April 3, 2010 @ 9:08 AM


Have you ever heard of that TV show called Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? I think I've watched it once or twice, not very much, but enough to get the gist of it. It's a game show, where a person tries to answer questions to win money. Sometimes the contestant asks for help from one of the fifth graders present. I used to be shocked by how little the contestants seemed to know. Like how they didn't know the epidermis was the outermost layer of skin.

But then again, I, having been quite a bit younger than those adults at the time, had learned the facts more recently, and since they were still fresh on my mind, I could recall them easily. Adults cannot remember all that much of what they learned when they were younger, except maybe the subject they teach if they are a teacher. My parents weren't even taught that much biology (there was more focus on physics and chemistry). And it's hard for me to talk to them about science because they learned the terms for things in Chinese, whereas I only know the English words. Well, anyways, there's no guarantee that they remember any history they learned. They still know how to do math, but they use it in their jobs (and in daily life - there is always that stress on "Math is important!") and I make them help me with hard homework problems, which are probably the main reasons for that.

I wonder if all these years of going to school are really worthwhile, then. If we don't remember much of it later on, what use is it to us? Knowledge is power, but if we lose that knowledge, has it not gone to waste? Or is it worth it to go school for other things, like the memories and friends we make? And yet at the same time it can be painful, when friends drift apart or fight and never make up, when friends move away, when you have difficulties in academics or in PE that you can't seem to overcome. When you have a teacher who seems to have a personal grudge against you. (Some of these have not happened to me. But I have drifted apart from friends. And many of my friends have moved away. I am lucky in being able to maintain contact with some of them. But I fear I might never see others ever again, except by some chance encounter. And what if I didn't recognize them? Because we had changed so much in our time apart?)

We still go to school anyways. (It is required by law, so I suppose it isn't much of a choice, but nevertheless...) We still take the good together with the bad. A few people do lose faith, lose hope, want to give up, try to end their lives so they can find an end to it all, have a chance at a fresh start. But as I heard in a school performance about puberty, "Suicide is a permanent solution to what may be only a temporary problem." And I suppose we all still have to keep struggling, keep living, reach out for the things we want, despite all those things that stand in the way, make you experience all the emotions you wished you would never feel again. I think it's something amazing, how there are still little things - and big things - that make it all worth it, that we can all bear our burdens for the sake of something precious.

I am getting awfully sidetracked. But then, that's not necessarily a bad thing. My history teacher was rambling about something that wasn't necessarily related to history, and then a student raised his hand to ask a question. The teacher said with a humph, "Great. You shouldn't interrupt me when I go off on a tangent. Now I feel like teaching again." At this point, we all groaned, since we preferred hearing interesting stories to getting an education. (I mean, hearing stories is a kind of education too, an education in life instead of just in academics.)

We didn't have much to do in science class at the end of the day, so a student said, "Hey, do you want to play Stump the Science Teacher"? The teacher asked how it was played. The student said that it was his goal to ask a question about any kind of science that the teacher would be unable to answer. He asked, "What is cement made up of?" The teacher said, "Well...What kind of cement are you talking about? Different grades of cement are used depending on the purpose. Do you mean our modern cement, or the kind that was made a long time ago in England?" and so on. I think it was more like the teacher stumped the student than the other way around.

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