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It can be hard to see the point of school at times. Recently we spoke with Bec who opened up to us about her feelings towards school and how she discovered its value.

One of the hardest things about school can be the big “what’s the point?” question. Some of my friends are okay with the idea that school is part of life and they show up every day to learn whatever is put in front of them.

I really struggle with this, particularly when I just can’t see the point. It’s even worse when the work is super hard or straight-up boring.

Maybe you feel the same?

I get that I have to go to school, but there’s so much stuff I don’t think I’m ever going to need. I mean, what is the point of ratios? And when is knowing about photosynthesis going to help me?

I ended up asking my teacher, ‘why do we have to learn about ratios? What’s the point?’

She’d probably been asked this a thousand times because she had an answer ready to go. Turns out, it’s a pretty cool story.

She told me that instead of focusing on the maths equation, the scientific formula, or having to memorise that turkeys were once worshipped as gods by the Mayan people in 300B.C (basically anything I learn that seems useless); I should picture my brain as a seed.

We all start with this seed. In primary school, we grow the trunk by learning reading, writing, and basic life stuff. In high school it’s a bit different. This is when we start learning more specific things (like ratios), and we start to grow the branches.

This is actually our brains creating new neural pathways (think of it like our brains connecting the dots) as we challenge ourselves to learn new ideas. So the branches aren’t labelled with stuff like ratios or photosynthesis, it’s more like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Storing information
  • Recalling information
  • New ways of thinking and,
  • Learning how to learn.

These are the skills that should help us throughout our life.

So right now, our brains are really keen to grow more branches. In time, we’ll probably forget half of what we learnt about ratios, but the branches (or neural pathways) will always be there.

It’s these branches that’ll help us get jobs, adapt in life, and give us more options.

If you’re like me, all this is great news because I don’t know what I want to do when I finish school (but I can tell you it will have nothing to do with ratios)!

My teacher also said the tree trunk becomes our store of general knowledge, the important stuff that helps us make important decisions through life. So even though I NEVER plan on doing a job that involves maths or ratios, my brain (the trunk) has stored enough general knowledge for me to know when numbers are important, like when I’m buying my first car or moving out of home and need to budget. That’s when the branches and my ability to learn and problem solve will come in handy.

I’m never going to enjoy maths but if I imagine my brain branching out and learning new things; whether I actually end up using ratios becomes way less important.

illustration of a girl sitting under a tree with branches that show different skills being learnt at school.

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