Tag Archives: Homework

Ten Reasons I’m Glad I’m Done with School

September 1 marks the official start of the school year in the Netherlands. Though I still take classes through the Open University, I’ve been out of high school for ten years this year and dropped out of full-time univeristy in 2007.

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is to write a top ten list of reasons you’re glad you’re done with school. Though I was good at academics, I hated most of school. Here are my top ten reasons why I’m glad it’s over with.

  1. No more homework. I do get to do assignments for my Open University classes, but they’re all self-directed.

  2. No more finals weeks. I haven’t taken an OU exam in years, but plan to at the end of this year. Then again, that’s only one exam. I hated finals week, when the weather was usually bright, my birthday was coming up and I had to study for eight+ exams.

  3. No more carrying my heavy backpack everywhere I go. Of course, my computer and Braille display are much lighter now than they were back in the day, but I still don’t like having to carry them. Not being in school anymore means I only carry my backpack when I go to my husband’s – and actually even then it’s most of the time my husband carrying it.

  4. No more student theses. I hated the high school graduationt project, which my father described as similar to his first research in college. My husband took a few weeks or maybe even days doing all the research and writing for his, but my graduation project took me a year full of stress. I did it on a subject my supervising teacher hadn’t even heard of, namely the philosophical movement of British Idealism. The Internet didn’t have much information on this – so little that my project, once it was up, was for a long time second in Google -, and I couldn’t read eBooks yet. My mother did scan some material, but it was hard work overall. I’ve never done student theses in college. Though I’d like to have one finished, I imagine I’d hate the stress leading up tto the finished product.

  5. No more deadlines unless I set them myself. That isn’t entirely true, of course, since my treatment isn’t indefinite. However, the deadlines we get here are a lot less strict than those set forth in school (or in work, I imagine). I did just set a goal of writing a blog post every week day in September, but I set this goal myself.

  6. Less pressure. Sure, we have social media and the competition amongst bloggers, as well as the pressure from peers and staff to recover from our mental illnesses. As I write this, I’m crying my eyes out because I was just told that going at my own pace isn’t possible in this era anymore. However, the pressure to go far beyond my limits was worse in high school.

  7. Less bullying. I was both a bully and a victim in elementary school and a victim again in secondary school. Though I can’t say bullying has been totally over with since I left school, it’s far less. Also, people are much more likely to stand up for the victim now.

  8. More time to unwind. When I was in school, I’d often had a six-hour school day followed by three to four hours of homework, sometimes more. I was slow at doing my homework, so it probably wasn’t meant to be that much. At least, I’ve heard that a normal homework load is ten minutes for each grade (ie. ten minutes in first grade and two hours in your senior year of high school). I do of course not have a job, so this allows me more tiem to myself, but even when I did the intensive blindness rehabilitation program, I had more time to unwind than in school.

  9. I don’t feel as lonely anymore. This may not have had to do with school per se, and may’ve been more due to my age. I have grown to a ppreciate the interaction that I do get and not constantly grieve the fact that I don’t have any friends (other than my husband).

  10. No more graduation ceremonies. I hated my high school graduation ceremony. My father and tutor convinced the principal not to create a whole circus glorigying the school for having helped a blind student graduate. Nonetheless, I just hated the implicit expectations of excellence that come with graduation. The evening I got my foundation in applied psychology certificate was much more laid-back.

What do you appreciate most about not being in school anymore?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Everyday Gyaan

“Rules Are Meant to Be Broken.”


About eight years ago, I read an article by Stephen M. Edelson of the Center for the Study of Autism that said that autistic children usually don’t lie. And no, that isn’t always a good thing. I don’t even mean that autistics don’t lie convincingly, but that they usually learn to lie at all at a much later age than neurotypicals do. I thought of this article, as well as my own experience with inappropriate honesty, when I read the prompt for this week over at mumturnedmom, which is “Rules are meant to be broken.”

I was a bookish, nerdy child in school. I remember learning that you could get away with not doing your homework in ninth grade – and frequently using my newly-acquired knowledge. Before then, I’d not only always do my homework, but I’d remind teachers of assignments if they’d forgotten.

Even though I learned to break the rule of always doing your homework, I can count the number of times I actually cheated in schol on two fingers. Once was on a Greek test in eigth grade, when I looked up how to type a certain character. I knew what the character looked like, and I rationalized my behavior by saying that if the sighted kids knew what a character looks like, they could write it too. (I know this is not completely true for students with say dysgraphia, but that’s beside the point.) The other time was in eleventh grade, when I had underestimated the difficulty of acquitting enough U.S. respondents to a survey on their ideas about the Netherlands (this was before Facebook). I got seven I believe, and needed at least twenty, so I cheated in a horrible way by pretty much making up the other results, multiplying my survey responses by three. I don’t even remember whether we were graded for the project or just had it checked off, but it still feels weird.

I didn’t master the skill of applying rules flexibly till after high school. Still, I find it hard to know when I can get away with breaking a rule and when I can’t. I still probably feel more insecure when breaking a rule than neurotypicals. This isn’t because I have higher moral standards, but because breaking a rule creates unpredictability. I also have a hard time putting a breach of rules into context. For example, how many high school students cheat on exams and projects, and does it affect them later on? I still worry that my high school diploma is invalid because I cheated in eleventh grade. In this sense, rules are meant to be broken, but when and when not, well, I don’t know.