They tell you to try your best. Work hard, they say, it’ll be enough. But what if your best doesn’t quite make the cut? What if you stay up all night, drowning in caffeine, eyes swollen, head on the verge of explosion, but when you sit down the next morning, you feel blank? Empty, like a canvas that has just been opened, like a candle with no more wax. You can’t remember the date Hitler came into power, or the main causes of the French Revolution. Then what? What if your best doesn’t “meet the standard”? The boy sitting next to you exceeds, as always. What does he do differently? Does his head hurt too? What happens when there are more red pen marks on the paper than words you have typed? And that “C” at the top, engraved into the page and circled, does it stand for clever or challenged? Teachers sew their eyebrows together, utter a quick “try harder next time” and vomit the next assignment, due next Tuesday, along with twelve others. What if your best doesn’t fit onto the two lines you are given, or the workspace that has specifically been marked out for you? They tell you to think “outside of the box” yet the box is printed right there on the page. Education fits into one box with countless possible labels. Just like the comments on yesterday’s essay - banal, unjust, lacking. What’s the issue, you ask? Education seems to “meet the standard”. And if that isn’t a problem, I don’t know what is.