This summer I was required to take English Composition II as part of my ongoing attempt to get my degree. It’s the second most basic university level english class, which means it should have been a cakewalk. I speak english, I write it fairly well, I mean I’ve been rambling on here for the better part of a decade. I have proven that I can put sentences together in a meaningful manner for money at one point in my life. So why, oh why, did I fail what is clearly a basic english class?

The easy answer – I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t care about the class and it offered me no challenges, so I took a lackadaisical attitude to the work. I didn’t submit drafts, I hated the material that we were required to read, I didn’t really review anything before submission and I didn’t submit any corrections for improved scores. The more complicated answer lies in a system so rigid that I am required to take freshman english despite all proof and indications to the contrary.

Going back to school has not been easy for me. There is a constant challenge to remain engaged and focussed while, thus far, re-hashing and pretending not to know the things I already do. What I have learned over the last three years is higher education is not about learning, it’s about about checking boxes. I’m trying to avoid being better considering I have six more semesters before I graduate but with the exception of one of my classes I don’t think I’ve actually learned anything or been challenged in anyway.

I have a fervent hope that I’m simply too old and jaded to be fully immersed in this experience but I sincerely doubt it. The education system from the top down seems less about teaching and more about fulfilling quotas. The other class I took this semester was a clear example of an exercise box checking. Professional Studies 3010, it is supposed to allow me to claim college credit for the things I’ve learned over the course of a career. However because my career path did not necessarily fit into the usual molds, I had to make a number of compromises to my portfolio and have my life experiences defined by the boxes that were available.

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