Why you should stay in school
Back in grade school, I was one of those people who didn’t particularly care about any of my classes. I didn’t care at all about any of my classes, and somehow, I felt that most of the knowledge I was acquiring wasn’t all that useless. It’s not as if every time I go to the grocery store, I have to factor some polynomials in order predict my total before I get to the till or anything. Nor do I need to know the steps of glycolysis in order to consume something from McDonald’s breakfast menu. (Which, by the way, sucks.) Either the education gods really liked me, or the material was sufficiently easy, but I never had any issues passing any class, with minimal effort. And I mean a minimal effort. But I (thankfully) never thought of dropping out or anything to that effect. Graduated just like the majority of people and went on with life. Now, do I use the knowledge I learned in high school, outside of my university classes?
Oh yes. While I never have to factor polynomials nor recite the steps of glycolysis in everyday life, I still use that information.
Let me introduce Gina. Gina is a friend of my new roommate. She dropped out in grade 9, and besides being rather unpleasant, she is far from the brightest crayon in the box. So, Gina called my roommate last night.
Roomie: Maaan, I’m soo horny. These hormones are killing me.
Gina: How can you have hormones? Are you still pregnant??!!!
Roomie: What?? Of course I have hormones, I’m human.
Gina: But you can have hormones only at certain times. Are you sure you’re not pregnant??
Somebody needs a biology lesson. But wait! The endocrine system is covered in grade 11 (in Alberta). She never got there, and if she had – well, perhaps, she would save herself one embarrassment.
But, as a biology student, this seems to me to be common knowledge. If I’m writing a paper on hormones, I do not have to state that hormones are present at all times, but simply at different levels, nor do I have to reference it. But my roommate, who is not a biology student, and has never taken anything higher than high school level biology clearly demonstrated that she has a good sence of what hormones are.
Now, in order to graduate in Alberta, you only need one science at the grade 11 level. Let’s say somebody took Physics instead of Biology. Would such a person know what hormones are? While I’ve never taken high school physics nor do I know the entire K-9 curriculum because I’m not a teacher. I think it would be fairly safe to assume that hormones would not be mentioned in any physics course (unless you want to figure out say, the velocity of a 15g vial of estrogen dropping from a 3 foot high table). Most of elementary and junior high biology covered what is termed as “big biology”, so hormones are probably not covered in great depth if at all. And while hormones are organic molecules, organic chemistry is only touched upon until grade 12 chemistry (and even then, this was implemented the year after I took Chem 30, therefore I don’t know the depth it is covered in). But it remains that there are plenty of people who did not take grade 11 biology. Now, hormones are one thing that are mentioned in real life: birth control pill, depression, drugs, etc. I would think that one could deduce that hormones are present in the body at all times, not just during pregnancy.
Conclusion? Stay in school.
While factoring polynomials is not particularly useful at say, a grocery store, nor will it impress your friends at a party, at least you won’t be stupider than the rest and perhaps you’ll save yourself some embarrassment.