JCM wrote:As a slightly-above-average American student, I'd like to give my two cents on this.
I am an extremely lazy person. I rarely do homework, I daydream in class, and I study what I need to know to maintain my A/B average. I'm also an extremely bad test-taker. One question, especially if it's math-related, can take me up to ten minutes to figure out. I'm obsessive enough over my grades that even when I genuinely don't know an answer, I simply can't move forward unless I'm 100% sure I'm right, and I'm rarely ever right on those kinds of questions, anyway. Essays are even worse for me, as even though my writing skills aren't bad, I have extreme trouble putting my thoughts to paper, and rubrics that are supposed to help organize my thoughts only make it harder for them to flow correctly when I write them down.
I'm not trying to garner sympathy, since what's wrong with me is probably my fault, but if standardized tests and AP tests only test my ability to test, I am completely screwed. I understand that our educational system is broken, but none of the alternatives mentioned in this topic sound any easier, and all I want to do is get out of school and into the workforce with very little hassle. So, what can I do? Should I just give up while I'm ahead and accept my future position as an office worker? I desperately hope that someone in this forum can provide me with the answers I'm looking for.
Lazy is your biggest worry, not the lack of a degree. Many times you can circumvent formal education by starting at a lower position/internship and developing talents you're good at and proving your value to an employer. The most critical part of financial success is your work history and accomplishments you can prove to prospective employers so that they hire you.
Schools ideally teach you skillsets, but the way they're set up many people will just come out of school in debt because all they learned to do in school was how to pass tests/classes instead of actually applying that knowledge and skillset into something marketable. You should not wait for a diploma to start developing talents that can be profitable.
On the topic of tests, my favorite tests were the math department tests. I am TERRIBLE at math. I always will be. I still loved the setup of the test, because it tested your ability to reason your way though -- you didn't just have to know some trivia, as every year the questions were formulated in a way that even if you study the topic, your execution of that knowledge is tested.
I also liked it because it didn't punish you for memory. I have a terrible memory, as in sometimes I even forget my own address; I'm pretty sure I'll get Alzheimer's at some point if I'm having memory/awareness/forgetfulness with items problems at this age. And so, they allowed us to bring a sheet of notes, where we could write down formulas and some theorems.
The exams were stupidly difficult given my inability with math. However, when I did well in them, it was a sense of accomplishment that I didn't gain from anything else. Moreover, the way math was graded, you would receive partial points even if you got an answer wrong for calculation mistakes if your process was reasonable.
Another aspect of that format is that it allowed for feedback. These are classes of about 900 students total, and yet every exam I received had feedback on every problem from the grader if I made a mistake. It wasn't just a collection of points awarded, but the grader explained why I got the points and what made me lose points.
I know it might not be time efficient, but when a professor would not submit feedback on a work/test I took great effort to submit, it instantly disengaged from the class and did the bare minimum as a result. No point in going the extra mile if I don't know what the thought process in grading my test was.