I know how you feel. I know that heart-wrenching, balloon-deflating feeling when you received that email and scanned through the sentences only to read the words that you were scared of reading most: “We are unable to offer you admission…”
You sink into your chair, feeling like a complete idiot. You throw your phone across the room, wreck everything in sight and punch the wall as tears threaten to spurt out of your eyes. You think about how that dude you hate in class who got into your dream school while you hadn’t, which makes you even angrier.
You punch the wall again.
Then you ponder about what you’ve been doing for the past four years of high school, the past four years of your life. You’d studied your rear-end off, spent all that money on tutoring and SAT prep, not to mention spent a ridiculous amount of money on those stupid AP exams. Heck, you sacrificed your sleep and social life to get into college and guess what?
It didn’t pay off.
And it sucks.
I even felt angry while typing that very paragraph above. Had to refrain myself from using expletives.
BUT. I know how you feel. Bartleby Gaines does too. And who’s Bartleby Gaines?
THIS IS BARTLEBY GAINES:
And he is my newest idol.
Some of you may recognize him as the main character in the movie Accepted, aka one of the best movies ever.
Bartleby over here got rejected from all of the schools that he’d applied to. His parents viewed him as a disappointment and no doubt he felt like the biggest loser in the world for letting them down. So what does he do?
He makes his own college.
“South Harmon Institute of Technology” starts off as a mere cover-up in order to gain his parents’ approval. But what was only supposed to be a little lie turns into an institution that suddenly thousands of other kids want to go to because they didn’t get accepted anywhere else.
It intrigued me to see the amount of sense in this movie, as ridiculous and comedic as it was. Students were the teachers, and through the abundance of creativity and ideas shared by the entire student body, actual learning took place. Society’s so-called “rejects” were getting more learning done than the prestigious, well-known Harmon College down the street.
The student-learning environment portrayed in the movie is actually no different from learning today. Students are more and more encouraged to survive tests and quizzes with “independent” learning. Students are expected to share ideas with each other and learn from limited teacher-student interaction. I don’t know much about college but I have heard about how most of time, it’s just lecturing. You’re basically on your own, doing your own homework and developing your own study habits.
Where am I going with this? What I got from Accepted is that grades and teachers can only teach you so much. Sometimes, the real learning comes from talking to people, interacting with them, hearing their life stories. It’s much more enjoyable to learn something when it’s told in story-form. Through people and through others, your friends, you can actually learn things that help you with life, things that you can’t learn in a classroom setting.
The best place to start for stories? Your teachers. Love them or hate them, they were once students too. You’ll be surprised how mischievous or rebellious some teachers were back in the day. I have never found a teacher-told story boring or uninteresting at all. If anything, they gave me hope and a laugh that would last the entire day.
So keep an open mind. That athlete who sits next to you in Physics or that theater geek who helps you on homework can be some of the best teachers you will ever know. And if you have learned from them, embrace that new profound knowledge. You don’t need a quiz or a test or a college acceptance letter to prove that you’ve learned something valuable.
Pocahontas never even went to college.