I am so frustrated with school right now. Not with the work – that feels quite manageable for once. No. I'm frustrated with the institution itself and the people who are running it.
It feels like the Educational Directors are on a warpath and I don’t know why. It’s sudden, too. One day I’m going along my life, making my own decisions and organizing things my way, and the next day the phrase ‘mandatory’ gets thrown in my face and I have to abide by a new set of rules. Rules that I haven’t been aware of for three months now, but that apparently have to be added to my life for this last month of school or the world will come to an end.
The thing I really don’t understand is that the class they are raising Cain about is dance, which is a fucking audit for me. I’m not getting any credits or being marked or evaluated in any way. I didn’t get the option of choosing this class – if I had I would have turned it down. It’s exactly the same class that I took last year and since I passed, I don’t see why I have to take it again. But suddenly I have to attend and catch up on what I’ve missed so that I can participate in the presentation that is happening in three weeks.
They say they want me to stay in practice with dance and I can understand that. But the majority of the class time is spent warming up and stretching. I do that on my own every morning. I lead a deliberately active lifestyle. I keep my tools ready to work. As far as the idea of keeping dance moves fresh in my mind…the way I see it, if I ever go out for a dance audition I’ll be doing it cold. Taking dance classes outside of school doesn’t interest me. I know that I learn basic choreography at an average speed. I’m not a dancer, but I can learn choreography. If this class taught me how to pick up choreography quickly I’d be there in a heartbeat, but instead we spend 85% of the class time warming up to spend 15 minutes going over and over the same dance moves – dance moves that I’ve never seen used in musical theatre anyway. It’s a waste of my time.
The whole ‘mandatory audit’ thing is really just the tip of the iceberg. Recently the Student Life Advisor sent an email to all of the students who are living in student housing, reminding us all that a) we aren’t allowed to have alcohol in our houses and b) boys aren’t allowed to be in our rooms past midnight. I know these rules – well, I knew the alcohol one. I knew that technically we weren’t allowed to have boys in our rooms unless the doors were open but that rule has never been enforced so I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I certainly didn’t remember that they had to be out of our house by midnight. When S.’s schedule means that he isn’t free to come visit me until 11 o’clock at night it seems ridiculous that he would have to leave after an hour, particularly if neither of us has anything the next morning, but fine. We’ll hang out at his house if it’s really that big of a problem. It pisses me off that I can’t live my own life in my own house.
I’ll admit I was breaking the letter of the law on the alcohol thing. I had a bottle of wine in my closet. I had no intention of drinking it in the dorm – I am waiting to open it until R. and I move into our new not-student-housing suite. I didn’t think having a bottle of wine in my closet would be a problem but after I got the email I moved it to S.’s house. He lives in a private residence and is allowed to make the adult decision to drink or not to drink. I can’t wait until I live in a house where my landlord will actually assume that I can act my age (23) and where I can make my own life choices – where all I have to take into consideration is whether or not I’m being respectful to my roommates and whether I’m taking good care of my house. That is what an adult, living on their own, should have to think about. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether my lifestyle is meshing with someone else’s moral structure, but thanks to the nature of student housing that is my reality. I hate it.
It’s made me realize that I have control issues when it comes to my room. The email stated that members of the Educational Team would be conducting random house checks, looking for alcohol and asking whether guys were staying over. The idea of having someone go through my stuff in my room, looking for non-existent alcohol, asking me about aspects of my life that shouldn’t be their business in the first place, makes me instantly angry. Unreasonably angry, in fact. I thought about it a lot and I realized that my bedroom has always been the only area of my life that I have had complete control over. I have always controlled my room completely and implicitly. I have been anal-retentive about who comes in and when, the contents and where they go. I rule my room and no one else has any authority therein. It has always been that way, and I just can’t let that go. I’ll let them in my room if they must check it, but only if I’m there. I’d prefer it if they could just take my word for it that there’s no alcohol in there. They have to take my word for it that S. isn’t sleeping over, after all.
Another big part of my frustration with the school comes from scheduling conflicts. This year has been the worst year for students being double-booked into things that anyone I’ve spoken to has ever seen. Students have been expected to be in two or three places at once, and when they choose which one of those places they are going to go, they are informed that they have to make up the other classes on their own time. It’s bullshit! I understand that the schedulers are human. I’m not asking for perfection. It would just be nice if when the problems are brought to their attention they would try to rectify them instead of shoving them off on the student.
Right now I’m stage managing a classmates’ final project. Part of this requires me to try to make the schedules of the various team members match up. It is not an easy job. I thought that the school would be helpful with this whole process. The Educational Team approved this project, after all.
I’ve since realized that that was a little too optimistic of me. There have been several ‘mandatory’ classes added to our schedule that are in direct conflict with rehearsals. I don’t understand it. They approved the fucking rehearsal schedule. They should know it, and if they foresaw problems with it they should have said something back then. Instead they approved it and are now kicking up a fuss about the classes that I won’t be attending.
I feel really angry about all of these things, and what makes it worse is that I feel like I’m not being heard.
I know I’m not the only student feeling this way. There are important things that the Educational Team isn’t hearing when we say them, and what can we do about it?
It pisses me off half the time and fills me with a horrible old feeling of resignation the other half. It makes me feel like closing up every time one of them talks to me. Why should I listen to you if you aren’t going to listen to me, I want to ask. But instead I sigh inside and try to be receptive.
How can I expect them to listen to me if I won’t even try to listen to them, after all?
I keep listening.
They keep ignoring the problems they are creating.
And so I am frustrated.