Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The AP side of things

Starting in elementary school, and even in preschool, students are split into groups based upon their learning abilities. Kids in each group grow up with the same people in their classes and create a kind of society within a society. The AP side of these societies are dismal if you shine the wrong light on them.

In the "AP Society," there is a social order that is in place, but no one ever talks about it. There are several divisions in our society. Of course, there are the slackers that barely make it through each of their classes. These people are necessary for others's successes because they make the elite look better. There is also a middle class of "average AP students" that get so-so grades, but we know are smart enough to be in these classes. And of course there is an elite power that rules with the power of extra credit, hundred-percents, and 5s on APs. This is the class that sets the ideal roles for AP students that pressures others to be like them. This society is in place and everyone knows, but no one talks about it.

The "AP Society" is pretty competitive. We live to outdo others and get into the best of colleges that the world (which means UCLA, USC, and Cal). No one boasts with a B or below. We save it for the As because those are the only grades that we want. Some of us are only in school to buy their As with their excessive studying rather than for the knowledge. Some of us are willing to go to teachers and kiss them where the sun don't shine so that they will give us a grade that we probably do not even deserve. But we don't care. It's like a businessman who works in scheming ways so he can get paid even more than he should. That is what we are expected to want and expected to "work" our way to.

AP students do a lot of work. We do homework that can be piled up in the most inopportune times of the year. We study at the latest of hours of the night. Most of our work is repetitive memorization of information. We only need to remember things for a few days and then we can forget it until AP tests come up. That is how we work because that is how our societal standards are set and we must comply.

When it comes to college decisions, we are expected to make it into the best schools according to lists that arbitrarily rank colleges on nonsensical standards. If we do not make it into our dream school, we feel like we failed our society. If we got into our dream school, we make sure to let everyone know so they can feel inferior. State schools are a laugh to us because we often think of ourselves as too good for them. Don't even mention community college. Community college is like an excommunication from the "AP Society." You are not allowed back in after your decision to slum it with the average Joes. To avoid this, you must go to an incredibly expensive or highly respected college just to keep in good face.

This society is messed up at times. Outsiders who are in the occasional AP are hardly thought as insiders by the society. If they are an AP test virgin, then they are ridiculed for their lack of experience. If these "outsiders" ask an obvious question, there is a sea of rolling eyes to swallow their self-esteem. The rules are set and if you do not know them, you better find out soon.

I think each one of us thinks that we are not a part of the society. We think we are better than these demoralizing ideals. I look at the elite and think I am better than them and at times can overthrow them with higher test scores and college admissions. Other times, I am replaced. Lately, I have felt as though I am not completely a part of this dystopia. I look at them and think of how they are going to afford the life they want to live. Not only are the schools that they long to attend are beyond the price tag that I am willing to pay, they also are going to be losing their elite status when they go to schools with the rest of the elites in the country. I don't know if I would want to be in that society. I fear it could be worse and lead to an unhappy experience.

I am looking at college in a different way than most of my peers. I look at it as a path that is going to take me to a place where I get to do what I want. And the only way I am going to do that is by looking at the content and not the grade. It's one thing to get a grade, but another to retain the things you need to know and apply them to your real life. I'm looking for life experiences, not for grades.

I'm a dissenter.

This is what I saw on my pier. What kind of societies will you see on yours?

DISCLAIMER: Most of this post is exaggerated and some of it is spot on. Take a look at the "AP Societies" in America and see if the society is prominent in your school. Just remember that the light you see something in paints the picture in a different color. I used a dark brush to connect this to 1984.

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