Why didn't anybody ever give me a decent answer when I asked, "Why do I have to learn this stupid stuff anyway?"
Well, what some one did eventually tell me was:
You're in school to learn how to learn.
Which made things suddenly a lot easier. Building on top of that, I added my own bits of reasoning.
You don't need to remember all this stuff, just know where to find it when you need it.
It goes hand in hand with the idea that you're there to get a well rounded education. I wouldn't be able to write this now if I hadn't gotten a handle on writing a long time ago and built up my vocab in High School, for example. A few other things come in handy from time to time and it's not always the one's I would have expected when slogging through it all back then. I frequently balance equations... who would have guessed? However I almost never do anything even remotely related to chemistry (called that one though). Thing is though, I learned enough about it at the time that if I ever need to know something about chemistry I can get the information quickly and put it to use.
If this sounds redundant to you, congratulations... you're another proud member of the not-so-exclusive club for people who are too smart for public school. If not, maybe it'll make the experience a little better for you, or you can use the knowledge to help your own kids out.
Sometimes all it takes is stating the obvious.
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