My life were pretty much all about waiting and escaping.
I don't really remember my preschool age that much, but I guess I was just waiting for grow up. I didn't have worries to escaping from except some rare incident that cause my parent's wrath, which I didn't have such ability to possibility avoid.
Six years of elementary school is the most violent environment I have ever experience, especially the latter years. I did't even know violence is not supposed to be the nature of education until I grew much older. In class, I will be slam in both hands if I don't hand in my homework in time, perform tests badly, or not behave accordingly. But I doubt that education is the purpose of such punishment, even at that little age I sense those intense anger and frustration on the faces of my teachers are the true reason. Why anger? Why frustration? I don't know. Maybe they thought education is all about indoctrinating the strictest moral value, so our future society can be more perfect, and failing to do so is endangering their reputation. Or, maybe they thought textbooks and tests is all students have to know. Remembering them is so easy that whoever fails the test must subject to laziness and stupidity. Sometimes I and my classmate were lucky that we knew our test score early, so we can count how many slam we ought to get and psychologically (even physically, don't ask me how) prepare for it. I always want to escape from it, naturally. But that was the only school nearby. We didn't have much choice, and my parents told me they went through the same thing, why can't I? Every time I had been punished hard, I wished I can grow up. Waiting was my only choice.
Junior High is a different place—at least a bit different. The crazy-manner, child-hater, and punish-addict kind of teacher no longer hold dominant number in the school. I think partly because there are more educated parents in the city (Yea, I moved) and partly because teachers were more often been criticized on media (and sued) as year passes. But some teachers still ignored the tendency of educational reform and constantly indoctrinated the discipline legitimacy (I rather call it child-abuse legitimacy) while continued their own style of penalty (Ass/hand-slamming and ear-twisting). I did violate those rules and got those penalties, every classmate did. However, that was not because I don't want to learn or I don't want to know. I felt bored remembering every detail in the textbooks and taking average 4 or 5 tests a day. I felt tired of doing endless and meaningless homework every night without really learning anything. I really wanted to leave somewhere else in any possible way at that time. But escaping everything teacher told me to do was the best I can do. I tried to treat school as a behavior adjusting facility rather than an educational institute. I copied most of my homework from others either at the morning or the 10 minutes break just before that class. I constantly cheated on tests in a tricky way (would you just don't bother to ask how?) so my tests won't be too high to get too much attention nor too low to be punished. Why not try just don't go to school? No. Those teachers knew and I knew that most students will think that way. No mercy, sorry. If I excuse myself from class for whatever reason, I have to finish homework and tests I missed with no exception. This will only makes my day worse. I was still waiting for time to pass; waiting for suffer to end. While knowing that the end was going to be a big test, decide which school I ought to be.
I once thought my high school life will be better, but it wasn't. For me, it is a psychological torture facility. Those teachers had stopped adjusting students, at least without a rod, but they had no idea how 9 years of "education" can made. All I remember in class is just constant devastating noises—no science learning, no problem solving, and no language-communication training, but only chatting, laughing, and murmuring exist. I really want to learn and listen to what teacher trying to say (at least some), though classmates' loud silly-talking block my flow of thinking all the way down to the end of day. The cause is not because there were more "bad" students in my school; it is the previous punish-leading education leads to the total distrust of authority; it is because most of student spent most their night went to other place for the purpose of "more effective learning" as well. In other words, student won't give a damn thing for what teacher said no more. They had already learned how to beat every test in expensive private school, and using public school only as a playground. Also, the part that I don't remember in class is because some class are so boring that everyone went to a complete sleep just after 5 minute the class began. Ironically, compare to ear-suffering status, sleeping and dreaming with a painful sitting posture in class was my only salvation. In a way, I went to joint club activity during my break between classes and lunch break just to escape. Overall, I was waiting, and I wished soon I can join the legendary free world, college. However, with no exception, I have to take a big test again. Unlike my last big test, my anxious disappeared—along with my courage to take another one.
Somehow, after the General Scholastic Ability Test, the summer break I had always waiting for was no longer just a summer break. I was totally free; no more fake summer break that I have to go to school half a day and carry a ton of homework back home; no more annoy psycho can tell me stop doing whatever I want and how important to do well on tests, so I can get an easy job, sit in an office, and doing nothing productive. Of course, I was waiting for college, the place I thought I can learn the very knowledge and truth.
Indeed, I was disappointed. The class was not as good as I thought it could be. And I didn't have much choice for what course I like, even what instructor I prefer to attend. It let me feels I returned my high school again. That is not the fault of Tatung University itself but the cause of commonly low tuition within this island. And I realized much later why choices can be so much expensive. But, regardless some disappointment, I was glad to learn more about the true world and to listen some mechanical product making method or real life experience. Also, I had much more free time to spend on what I like, despite the fact that some general and language course instructors still gave us meaningless homework and memory-based tests just like high school. It turns out that those free times are more valuable than anything. It seemed to me that, by the time I've spent one year deliberately using English excessively the same way as it is my first language, I've learned more than anything my 6 years of English education had ever taught me. Again, I tried to escape; I sometimes can't help but slept in class because I only had my free time at night; I read textbooks by myself to compensating my intentional absence of concentration on Chinese-base classes; And I wait, wait for a chance.
Every summer and winter after my freshman year, I would go to New York. That is a place too crowded for me, and those famous shopping places are like a pin in my eyes. Maybe I would like New York if I was raised lack of entertainment or fulfillment, but I was not. I already have internet as my entertainment and knowledge as my fulfillment. But anyway, thankfully, I can escape from the intolerable hot and humid weather in Taiwan.
Then, at the fourth year of my college, somehow I got my chance to go to Iowa State University for a short semester. I gradually understand what education really mean to offer is just guidance; not moral indoctrination; not remembering detail word-by-word. I felt like I belong to that place more than anywhere simply because I need guidance, the kind of guidance I lack during my whole life. However, I decided I can wait, patiently, just one more year of suffering. And I can probability thinking about how to mentally escaping it as well.