I don’t like to vent. I see it as a selfish release of thoughts with no care about how people will react. But it’s something that people do anyways, and it’s exactly what a person can use every once and a while to let things off their chest. For me, this is that time. This is a website for following the latest news about the goings-on around Richview; not a forum for screaming teenagers who couldn’t get tickets to a One Direction concert. But I feel like this is a topic that I can personally relate to, along with a few other good, honest, and respectful people as well, so please hear me out.

Phones. We love them. We treasure them. We use them constantly. They can be tools for education, but they can also be weapons of mass destruction that have the capability to destroy lives—in extreme cases, of course. I want to mention that smartphones were not allowed in my previous school at all. Banned, in fact. As annoying as it was, I always saw the legitimate reasons behind this decision. Cheating on tests, ignoring teachers, playing Flappy Bird under the desk, the possibilities were endless. And now in high school, where students have gotten that little taste of independence that will only grow to astronomical sizes, people are making up for a lot of lost time. Remember that cheesy teen movie that you watched that had students texting under the desks when the teacher wasn’t looking? I’m sure a lot of people thought to themselves: “Bollocks! School isn’t like that in real life!” You would be surprised. Now that high school students have finally gotten a feel of what it’s like to read the form at the beginning of their first year of high school that says “smartphones are allowed in class at the discretion of the teacher,” they take it as a green light to whip it out of their pocket whenever they want. This makes me upset, disappointed, worried, and guilty, all wrapped up into a gloomy Christmas present under a dying tree. My teachers are an awesome group of people who legitimately care about their students’ education, and to see the cold shoulder rubbed in their faces by people who would prefer to text and take selfies on their phones troubles me greatly. I’ll admit, I am guilty of doing so several times myself, but I’m always kicking myself right afterwards. These people work hard to ensure that we have a bright future ahead of us, and the response they get is a classroom of foreheads. Sometimes, during class, I look around the classroom and think to myself: Is this the norm? Is this the new standard and the new expectation of how students will behave in class? I occasionally have the “what do you think of Mr./Mrs. so-and-so” conversation with some classmates, and there have been one too many occasions where someone has expressed dislike for a teacher, and I can see that the reason behind the dislike is that he/she gets pissed off at someone trying to do their job when the complaining student is the one not caring. I can honestly say that it sickens me, seeing people so blinded by anger at teachers when the real problems are the people themselves.

There have been many discussions on how this generation has it so damn easy all the time, but it appears that the real challenge is simply showing some respect. I’m a teen myself, so it really does feel weird to be opposed to smartphone usage in classrooms when I’m surrounded by stereotypes about how all kids in this generation are glued to their screens and people who lack the nobility to pay attention to the kind, benevolent men and women who are shaping our future for us. Remember how I said that smartphones have the ability to become weapons of wanton destruction that have the power to ruin lives? If you keep climbing up the ladder, it can get worse and worse as the steps crumble into dust behind you, with no way back down to have a second chance. If you don’t grasp what you have now and use your opportunities to the fullest, it can start a chain reaction. Disregarding school can net you bad grades, which could lead to becoming a dropout and leading yourself on a downwards spiral during life after high school. This is an extreme case, of course, but I can’t help worrying that the possibility of it becoming more common is increasing year by year. I would never wish such a burden on anyone, but I fear the problem has reached a point where I can look at a student and be 90% sure that he/she will be working at McDonalds in a few years. But while I’m not using lame stereotypes to prove a point, I can see that for many people, the larger concern is updating your Snapchat Story or posting a new selfie on Instagram, all while there are people pouring their heart out to make sure you don’t end up at McDonalds in 5 years.

So how does this relate to me on a personal level, you might ask? Well, let me start by saying that I consider myself very distant from many other students. My parents do always tell me to be myself and to like me for who I am. But I feel even more distant from this new standard put in place every day. I’ve been told that I think differently from others. I look at a teacher trying to instruct a class as a person trying to do his/her job; teaching the next generations of young men and women to play a part in society, while others see them as boisterous humans who are just there to be tolerated while they look at the minute hand spinning. Whenever I do see a classmate abstaining their attention from the teacher, I have the urge to stand up and shout “how could you be so cruel? It’s their job to help us shape the vision of what we want our lives to be, so show some respect!” I would never bring myself to say such a thing, but it gradually feels like some people do deserve it every time it happens. While I can usually keep my cool about it, I start to realize something. I have good friends, friends who care about me and are happy to spend time with me. But I have always had that desire to be one of the kids that have all sorts of connections with so many people. It has been such a desire of mine that it can make me sad, seeing everyone acting so natural and happy around each other. But it has hit me that one of the main reasons why everyone appears to be friends with everyone else is that they share that smartphone-savvy personality, the same personality that starts the disrespect issue. It has put me in the middle of a civil war, with no idea which side to join forces with. I can’t often relate to others because I don’t understand how they can disregard the people around them so often. It often makes no sense to me, when I think to myself “isn’t it just common courtesy to pay attention to teachers and the people who, in the grand scheme of things, are doing all the hard work for you?” It’s an aberration. An anomaly. It’s such a strange reality that we all live in today, one that I still can’t quite wrap my head around. Maybe I’m the aberration, the anomaly. Maybe I’m not the one seeing the bigger picture. But I certainly don’t feel all that welcome in the picture I’m looking at now.

This article was not written to point fingers. It was also not written to make people rethink how and what they do during school. The past 1330 words have been my thoughts, my opinion, on how I see people today. It has been me venting, trying to achieve equanimity in my mind of the thoughts flying around in my head, colliding with each other in an effort to make sense. I didn’t want to do it. I don’t like venting. A selfish release of thoughts dropped like a bomb onto an online school newspaper is not my idea of a good piece of literature, and I doubt it is for anyone else either. But like I said, everyone needs to vent eventually. Not everyone falls under the category of the descriptive words that I have just used, but I believe that there are more that do than don’t. I just wanted to share my thoughts with my schoolmates. Maybe this will go viral on the internet and start some big worldwide discussion that will completely rewrite the book on the rules in the classroom. Or maybe it will be a complete dud and no one will bat an eye. I really don’t care. This how I have observed my learning environment during my time in high school, and I want people to see it through the eyes of a one-off high school student with a little twist on how he thinks the standard is today. These are my thoughts.