Why am I Increasingly Less Interested In School?


I have found myself increasingly uninterested in my classes. Despite having great teachers and learning things that I genuinely find interesting, I find myself dreading activities that I once found invigorating, activities that in different contexts I still find interesting. All this begs the question: why do I not derive the same joy from school and academics that I once did or that I do in other contexts?

Reading, for example, is something that I love to do. I try to read at least half an hour of a book each day for myself, but suddenly, even if I’m reading an extraordinary book, when I’m reading for class, it becomes boring. It becomes a chore and I am unable to derive joy or interest from reading. I’ve been thinking about why this is. The simple answer is that in school I have to do it: it’s not self-driven, but I don’t think that’s quite it. Or at least I don’t think that’s only it.

So beyond the fact that the work isn’t driven by my curiosity but rather required classes, why do I feel such ambivalence towards schoolwork? I think it’s partially because of what we’re being asked to do with the work. For example, using the same reading example, when I read for myself I don’t analyze the use of language or focus on close reading, but instead I’m focused on the plot and what’s being said about the world through whatever I’m reading. This focus on analysis has really decreased my love of reading, and annotation has only made it worse. 

The ways in which texts are taught, and much of the rest of school, aren’t conducive to fostering a love of the subject. Of course creating a love of any given subject is not the point of school, and that’s not true of every person or subject (I still love to read), but I do think it’s a problem that school kills some of the innate curiosity students have. 

Beyond making students enjoy certain things less because of the tasks that become associated with them through classes, the amount of time I dedicate to these tasks is another reason why I think I’ve become less interested in school and academics. On top of class, we have quite a lot of homework and that, on top of extracurriculars, leaves little time for, well, most anything else, and by the time I’m done with the work, it leaves little room for other intellectual pursuits. For me, this has meant losing much of my intellectual curiosity and a lot of the joy that I once got from being in school. 

So what can be done? It’s a difficult dilemma because I think that the way in which education is structured isn’t conducive to kids loving learning. To change that is difficult, but I think one way to keep curiosity alive in students is to carve out more space for what students want to learn and be flexible with the curriculum. For the most part, students are going to forget everything they’ve learned after the school ends, anyway). 

Additionally, homework needs to be used more intentionally. In my math class this year, for example, homework isn’t assigned often, but when it is, it’s difficult, and I always invest time and effort into it because I know the work is intentional. 

Ultimately, I don’t know the solution to my decreasing curiosity and a growing ambivalence towards school. But I do know that it’s not just me and that something needs to change to keep students interested in learning.