Learning on your own terms

By Sarah Eckrich
Staff Writer

Februare 21, 2013

Alternative education: the answer to falling retention rates. Options for taking classes here at LHU are limited. Some are offered virtually, but many remain strictly in the realm of the classroom. For high school students, options at some schools now include traditional classroom learning, some form of virtual or cyber schooling, night classes, and the old alternative, the GED.

​A lot of people roll their eyes at high school dropouts. If you can’t hack it in high school, you must be lazy or have no aspirations for your future beyond McDonald’s. That’s what I was told when I quit high school my junior year. Well, I wasn’t lazy—I was bored.

​High school is supposed to be the final step in laying the foundation to either go out into the workforce, or go on to higher education to deeply pursue a particular subject. For some people, these last four years are crucial to their development as students. For me, it was straight A’s, sleeping two hours a night, and generally slacking off. High school wasn’t challenging me in ways that allowed me to develop habits that would aid me in college, habits that I’m still trying to learn and develop.

​So, for me, the GED was the obvious alternative. With many students beginning to feel the same way about school, new reforms are being made to the GED, including realigning the subjects and sections of the test, and transferring it to the computer, which comes with a doubled price tag. Earning a GED is definitely the easier option, but easier isn’t necessarily best.

​This got me thinking; if I could take and pass my GED test, then go on to succeed in college, why couldn’t I take some sort of bachelor’s degree GED test and have my degree? What makes high school an institution than can be tested out of, and what makes college a necessary torture? Where are the GEPhDD’s to get me out of grad school before I even start?

​Even if I could take a college equivalency exam, I wouldn’t. College is a time of transition between school and real life—long hours at work, first apartments, internships, and a lot of situations high school never presented. It’s also a time to deeply explore a subject and pick dry the bones of masterful professors. Overall, and as begrudgingly as I admit this, I feel a lot of what we’re made to do here is imperative to our development in our respective fields.

​I never felt that I missed out on anything, except a boring ceremony, in opting to get a GED. So, do I wish we had more alternative education options here? I do, in some ways. Yet, these are the experiences that make higher education what it is.

Sarah Eckrich is a sophomore majoring in English Writing with a minor in Environmental Studies. She can be contacted at seckrich@lhup.edu.

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