21 Years of Schooling


As we walked home yesterday, my younger daughter who is now a second grader asked me which grade am I. I explained to her that I'm not attending school anymore. She wasn't satisfied with my answer so she asked me what was the last grade I was in. Me answering her that it was the fourth grade didn't make her happy either, since her older sister is a fourth grader and daddy obviously cannot be a fourth grader, too. I explained to her that numbering of grades resets first when you go to high school and also later when you go to college and post-graduate studies. My answer finally enabled her to formulate what she really wanted to know so she asked me about the grade I would be in if we could count all the way starting from the first grade of the elementary school. We counted it together. First nine grades of elementary school, then four years of high school, then three and two years at the college and three more years of post-graduate school. The final tally showed 21 years of schooling. For a six year old child this is as close to eternity as it gets so she lost any interest in further discussion. We, people in modern society, study for so long that we are already old when we finish our studies and start working. No wonder than that our generation will never enjoy healthy retirement and we will have to basically work until we die. There's a lot of talk of extension of retirement age in western society, but no discussion about length of our schooling. Maybe spending the best 21 years of one's life unproductively soaking in knowledge isn't the wisest of options.