Our School Essays- A New Thought

Julius Olavarria | December 21, 2023


The final essay is due in 2 hours. It’s 10 o’clock. You need to write 3 pages, submit, do 5 reading assignments, and take a math test tomorrow on likely 30 minutes of sleep. The topic is “the causes and effects of the Great Depression,” probably the most boring thing ever conceived by a teacher, and you haven’t even started. 

Administering school essays is a highly debated topic. Students think amazing thoughts, write amazing things, and write great essays throughout school. Under pressure from grades and time, academic essays force students to produce ideas and think outside the box. You need a good grade, you need to be unique, and you need to perform for that A- but at what cost?

Critics of the modern academic essay argue that the requirements are too demanding. They argue that the cost to students outweighs the product- the final draft. 

They shoot down the positives and argue that students who aren’t fond of English or writing go through too much to get their grades. They argue that they suffer, lose motivation, and falter under the weight of the essay requirements. This is a dystopian view but holds ground in many ways. One cannot deny the truth: some students suffer to get mediocre grades because writing is just not their thing. However, using this logic, we should stop administering Algebra tests and coursework to students who dislike math, right?

Peace of mind about the essays might get you through your timely situation. Here’s your peace: 

An extensive portion of students, like yourself, complain about writing graded essays, but they all agree that essays make them think. Millions of students in your very spot have felt the pressure of that deadline as well. It’s a shift of mindset that’s required to get you through your essays. We can’t stop handing out math tests to students who don’t like math just as we can’t stop giving academic essays to students who dislike English. 

You’ve been in this position, likely, before: 

There’s a writing topic that’s likely boring, uninteresting, and pointless to most. You might have no time to write your essay with no easy way to earn a good grade. You hate your English class, your teacher, and your procrastination flaws- the pressure is building evermore. The deadline is marching towards you. 

Now, the mindset- it is this very point that makes these essays so special. Students have to write about something that doesn’t interest them, which requires extra work. They have to reach the page number or a word count minimum. These students not only have to learn how to manage their time, but they also have to think of new ways to get their desired grade, new ways to respond to the prompt, and new ways to fill the minimum- this requires more effort on their part, which has countless positives. 

Students, especially those who dislike the writing process, learn something about themselves. They learn how to persevere under the stress of grades and writing. They learn life lessons like managing your time. They learn how to do something they don’t want to do. All of these are great outcomes but are menial compared to another positive: the ideas. 

No one talks about the ideas that come out of essays. Students who enjoy writing produce amazing things. Students under the pressure of grades, even students who don’t enjoy the writing process, can write amazing essays. This pressure forces students to perform- grades are everything. They are forced to create, imagine, and formulate new ideas, which can be beneficial to our society. 

So, the mindset is changed, and you're ready to take on a new challenge. Another problem arises, however, which is the impact on our society. 

I think the biggest problem here is that there is no way to share these ideas. Students who are motivated to write do so not only for themselves but for anyone interested in their topics. Students write outside of school for publicity- they want their ideas heard and their thoughts considered by a wider audience. Everyone deserves to have their ideas and thoughts- their essays- analyzed by more. An unfortunate fact is that they have no way to exercise this right, their voices are dismissed simply because of their age. 

This needs to be changed. There needs to be a way for the future leaders of the world to have their ideas, thoughts, critiques, and aspirations heard. It would be useful on a global scale: policymakers around the world will understand their younger demographics. 

How does it connect to school essays?

The ideas crafted through essays all across the world- the pressure, the grades, the requirements- force students to produce ideas that no one has ever thought about. I am worried that students dismiss these ideas just like society does. They never think about the essays again, despite overcoming such steep challenges and getting the grades they desired. 

I call to teachers to read these essays with this in mind. Yes, teachers have lots of students (potentially the majority) who hate the mere thought of academic essays. I say to ignore this fact, grade students on an objective scale, and consider every idea despite a student’s motivation. Ideas that stand out, coming from students who enjoy writing or students who don’t, need to be weighed for significance. The ideas developed in these essays can help society, improve the world, and show how the younger generation thinks. 

Unfortunately, school emails along with the writing mediums used to complete these essays are deleted when you graduate. Many students don’t care to save their work which is a huge waste of knowledge and hard work. 

A way to publicize these ideas is of utmost importance for the future. The dismissal of ideas coming from kids that are the future of the world is a concern. Passionate students who love writing need to save their work, save their ideas, and preserve their essays. Things you write at a young age can, at times, be more important than things you write when you are older. All students- even those who hate the writing process- deserve a spot at the publicity table. This can be accomplished online and in our digital world- the unique voice of the younger generation needs to be louder. Examining ideas and thoughts from younger individuals is extremely valuable and will positively impact the world around us.