A Speech on Education Inspired by Mark Twain’s Seventieth Birthday Speech

I’ve spent almost all my 19 years of life in school. The first time I ever went to school I was completely unprepared for what was to come. I was four years old, young and naive, without a care in the world. I had never stressed about a test or pulled an all-nighter. I marched into my first day of preschool and knew from the very beginning that I was not going to be a perfect student. I saw no point in doing what the teacher recommended, because I thought I knew what was best for me. I was sure to let everyone else know that this was the way I felt.

Now, many years after the first day of school, I can tell you the method by which I was able to endure my many years of school. Even more than endure; I was able to pass each class almost completely worry-free. The way I went through school would probably cause anyone else to fail or drop out, but it worked for me. There was a method to my madness, and it is up to you to try my method and see.

I have made it a rule to never fail more than one test at a time. I have no other restrictions in regards to test taking. I found that if I just spread my time evenly, this was not hard to accomplish. I picked up this marvelous habit after I watched my brother do exceptionally well on every test he took. The hours he put into studying were ludicrous, and only made him miserable. Watching him work so hard just to receive a score with three digits rather than two seemed so silly to me. That is how I adopted my brilliant new method. As an example to others, it has always been my rule never to study much when there was a test, and to study on my own time when there wasn’t. It was by this method I learned best, and it was a great rule for me. Others might imagine that following this method would make it hard to do well in school, but I dare you to test the waters yourself and see.

I procrastinate until I have to go to sleep: I sometimes can’t fall asleep the night before a test, but I take this as a God-given opportunity to procrastinate even more. This habit is so perfect for me that I simply could not imagine going through school any other way. I have studied for tests every now and then, but only to prove to my parents that I could get an A on a physics or statistics test if I so desired. But after proving myself, I went directly back to my comfortable habit of procrastination and not studying. Who wouldn’t? It has treated me so well throughout my education.

Since I was fourteen years old, I have seldom done homework, and have still seldomer needed to do it. Up until that age, homework was the only thing I did. I had made it a lifestyle. My parents had forced me to do so much homework, that reading a historical fiction novel began to taste as sweet as eating chocolate cake. But then I reached high school, and realized I no longer needed to do homework to learn. I wanted to call myself a modern day Einstein – I didn’t need to excel in school to prove my genius. So I stopped doing homework. Simple as that! If you want to walk across the stage and get the diploma in hand like I did, feel free to try my method at your own risk.
See, we have no permanent habits until we are in high school. Then they begin to harden and solidify, and then real business begins. Since fourteen I have been pretty regular about actually going to school – and that is one of the main things. I have made it a rule to go to school when I got bored of sitting at home on weekdays; and I have made it a rule to skip school when I got bored of sitting in class during the week. I made the irregular, regular, and found this way of living perfectly sound.

Similarly, in all my years of school I have never opened a textbook, except to look at fun pictures, and I never intend to open one for any other reason. Reading a textbook is useless. It can’t be of any benefit to you when you do or don’t understand a subject, because it will bore you to tears either way. It is better to enjoy a biology book to look at the pretty pictures than to waste time trying to read.

The thing I found most useful in school could not be taught to me through homework, exams, or textbooks. I learned to not worry about school, and this helped me to succeed. There is no need to stress over a test, when you can simply fail the test instead. Just as long as you don’t fail more than one test at a time. Whatever method works for you, I hope that one day you have that diploma in hand, knowing you earned it using the most worry-free method possible.

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