The school needs to redecorate


“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” 

Walking through the Fine Arts hallway freshman year, I’d see this quote almost daily. It’s always stuck with me, to be honest, but not in a good way.

I might be the first to say it, but I absolutely hate this quote. 

Maybe I’m just ‘overthinking it,’ but school –education– is not at all supposed to burden students. It’s supposed to uplift and empower, and teach kids that knowledge is the catalyst of change. 

The fact that it has ever become anything else is awful.

Further, putting the blame back on the students themselves is not only inaccurate, but damaging to them as well.

When something is too heavy to carry, it’s okay to set it down. Better to know when you need to lighten your load than break yourself forever trying.

I’m not at all saying, ‘give up.’ That’s not my point. Because maybe students can carry a heavy workload, shoving their schedules with so many AP classes that they don’t even know what to do with. God knows I try.

But in 1914, the famous Henry Ford made the radical choice of cutting down his workers’ shifts to 40 hours a week. This, despite being faced by plenty of backlash from critics, was actually more efficient and boosted worker productivity. 

The lesson everyone learned from that is: when you actually allow people to relax and not overwhelm themselves, they, rather shockingly, perform better. School may only be seven hours a day and five days a week, but things like sports, clubs and plays always come after. That’s not even mentioning the amount of homework kids do daily. 

I firmly believe that this quote, nicely put, needs to go. Instead, might I suggest Henry Ford’s quote: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

The purpose of education is to come together as a community to prioritize children’s education and growth. We have to ‘move forward’ together to make real institutional change. Maybe changing the quote is an arbitrary step along the way, but it’s signifying the push for stronger education.

Another sign says, “If you’re hanging on by the end of a rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

Also a problematic quote. Obviously, no one wants to ‘fall off’ so to speak, but when you’re hanging on by the end of a rope, you call out for help.

When faced with a life-or-death situation like that, it obviously is a lot easier to ask for help. But it’s also important to realize that asking for help when you’re struggling with anything (outside of school as well), is absolutely important and valid.

Everyone needs a safety net to fall back on. But more importantly, the world needs to stop making education the driving force pushing you over the cliff.