$60,000 Smarter?



(Courtesy of UTMSU, 2016)

Dear Bored of Education,

So are we.

These are the first two lines of one of my favorite poems by Propaganda, a Cali native whose accomplishments as a hip-hop, poet and spoken word artist have far surpassed his accomplishments as a university professor.

But this article is not about him, neither is it about poetry.

On Nov 2, 2016, students from schools across the GTA hopped on shuttle buses to Simcoe Hall (at University of Toronto) and Queen’s Park to express their anger at the rate at which tuition fees are rising.

As expected, we raised our voices; as expected, the government stayed still behind their picket fences.

But this is not an article about that.

I remember vividly in my first year of University, standing on the street across one of the main buildings in my school. As I was stood there, a real sense of fear crept up on me –the type of fear that grips your heart, and makes your balls itch.

I rapidly started to realize how fort-looking my school looked and felt.

(The thing is: my school is way too small to be intimidating. We’re the school with the highest deer-to-human population—and believe it or not, that’s actually one of the selling points.)

An unnecessary wave of guilt flooded my mind, as I felt that it was my duty as a student to single-handedly attack this fort, and take complete possession of it. I felt at war with the buildings, the classrooms, the professors, and cafeteria–even with the deer. I felt at war with the academic institution, and what it represents.


I mean, did anyone ever suggest, that maybe we should test the test?
(Photo Credits: Michelle Hopkins, Courtesy of UTMSU, 2016)

I once talked with a fellow student who was having trouble wrapping his mind around the “necessity” of school. He complained to me that all his friends were dealing coke and swiping cards; each time they’d go out for shisha his friends would have stacks of cash as he budgeted his spending for the evening.

My response was to call attention to all the buildings being constructed on the side of the highway. I told him that every aspect of the construction, from the manuscript to the framework right down to the finances of the buildings were managed and created by people. Each person has their own different talent and based on their talent, they are assigned a position in the construction of the building. I told him that school is meant to be the place where these talents are developed.

But one thing you have to learn about school: most of your learning will never happen in a classroom.

It doesn’t matter what type of student you are—a visual, aural, verbal or physical learner—none of that matters. In fact, these learning styles are just an easy way for the institution to encourage you to put yourself in a box. The day that you realize that you are so much smarter than the seven learning styles will be the day you start your education.


We’re paying too much money to develop our talents.
(Photo Credits: Michelle Hopkins, Courtesy of UTMSU, 2016)

By the end of my time in university, I will have paid at least $60,000 in tuition fees. I try to encourage myself by believing that by the end of my University stay, all the days of studying, essays, assignments, easy exams, parties, drugs, hard exams, profs and Netflix will somehow turn me into a better person—or at least have made me $60,000 smarter.

The truth is, my time at university has taught me that hardly anybody finds their true passion at school. I can say with confidence that as I’ve grown into the person I am today, school has had little to nothing to do with it. I’ve been able to learn, achieve and create almost ten times more things within the span of a four-month summer than in the past two years of regurgitation-based “learning” I was asked to perform in school. Regurgitation is best friend of this lazy, yet greedy institution.

It shouldn’t be considered a “necessity” to lose your time, money and overall future to an institution that will only teach you how to guess what your talents are. If you already know what you are good at and where your passion lies, you might already be adding value to the world that school could never teach you.


My Dear Bored of Education, so are we.
(Photo Credits: Michelle Hopkins, Courtesy of UTMSU, 2016)

Becoming a success story outside of a formal school education system is no longer an anomaly. Gone are the days where students can only reference Steve Jobs and Michael Dell to their parents when arguing the unimportance of school in their lives. It seems that everywhere you turn, talented people have gotten ahead based solely on their talents, and the lives they affect with them.

This is not permission for you to abort mission and drop out of school.  Truth is, not everyone can say that they are sure of what their talents are, and even those who do know understand their talents will face rejection.

But by the time all that money and time has spent on tuition and getting the grade, students are left with absolutely no time or zeal to chase who they’ve always wanted to be. Students then end up outside of school with no real skills and only a degree to certify their knowledge on regurgitation, so that their employers will be rest assured that they employed a bunch of yes sirs and crowd-pleasers…

Or you could ditch higher education—and save the sixty grand—so that you won’t have to spend your time reading articles like this one.

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