Campus, Opinion

In Praise of Idleness

I value education and appreciate every opportunity for understanding and learning that King’s Academy gives me. However, these past several weeks have been life changing as I have been placed out of my comfort zone and developed personally. Many of my ideologies have been strengthened, among them, my thought on education. With all I have learned these past few weeks about myself, I have come to understand that education does not solely lie in a classroom or a homework assignment. Education is an experience. I understand that homework and class lie within these experiences, but there is more to it than that.

At times these past two years, I have felt as if I am trying to survive day by day in finishing assignments. I have seen some of my friends suffer from the same stress and even drown in it. It is sad to see youth, with such infinite potential, implode because of circumstances that are not as life defining as we may at times think. King’s philosophy of education, with empathy and understanding at its core, is a model to be followed, yet I feel that it is lacking in terms of appreciating every individual. I am not talking about favoritism, but rather the fact that it is easier for some individuals to survive in this environment than others because of the academic rigor of the school environment.

I agree that such high expectations help us rise beyond what we thought we could do, but not all people work that way, and I think King’s should recognize and embrace this fact by continuing to provide students with varied opportunities as it does now. I believe we need to place a greater emphasis on the value of free time for each individual, for we tend to find ourselves in the right measure of losing ourselves. Such a quest might happen when we pull through in times of great stress, but it is far more likely in times when we are free to explore.

One could argue that that is what weekends are for. Unfortunately, as a student, I find personally that my weekends are not very free. Any excess leisure on Friday leads to a late Saturday night and a bad start to a week. While I understand that excess is not usually good, after a tough week the prospect of having to work during the weekend is the last thing to appeal to me. I do not want to sound like a brat, but am I supposed to be responsible and controlled 100% of the time? Not even adults are up to this challenge.

Secondly, I believe that school should be a holistic experience, to borrow a term that universities love. King’s has achieved holism in terms of opportunities that take dedication, but lacks holism in understanding the fact that people need free time to relax and find themselves. The story I love to tell is that Isaac Newton was only able to find the free time to develop what now is known as calculus because of fear of the Bubonic Plague in 1665 at Cambridge University.

This article is not a rant against the amount of work King’s gives. I have been very fortunate to be on the lower end of the spectrum in this situation, compared to other stories that I have heard (although, granted, some of them may have been exaggerated). I rather wish to begin a debate in school over a balance between free time and responsibilities. I would begin by proposing that for everyone, including faculty, students, and staff, there should be no work at all for one afternoon during one of the days in the week. I believe Tuesday would be the best day, as it would mean everyone would be refueled to come back on Wednesday and Thursday to finish the week strong. I propose that on that Tuesday we all have co-curriculars, then dinner, but afterwards be free until 11 p.m. I would also like for there to be some sort of free time for the staff, who we may at times forget. I might have a lot of misconceptions concerning the feasibility of my idea, but I believe that by proposing it, better plans may come out of it and an improved system may arise.