Open Letter: Past The Test

An insightful open letter addressed to the dictating forces enabling the ludicrous compromise that is the current state of the education system, titled “Past The Test”, AKA “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DEDUCTED 2% OFF OF MY FINAL GRADE BECAUSE I WAS OFF BY ONE F*CKING YEAR”. Some things are worth memorizing, and some, well…

     By Zehra Tajouri – student/ hopeful future fancy paper owner.

Open Letter: Past The Testtesting

      Dear Professor,

On the exam, you asked me what year the Morse Code was patented and I was off by one year. I just want to tell you, that on normal circumstances, I would not say anything, but this “off by one year” thing really f*cked over my sleep.

You see, I have a low storage memory box.

I don’t do well on fill in the blank tests because they need a huge memory bank. It’s not whether the information is applicable or how well you understand it. No. It’s a system.

Remember now. Regurgitate later. Delete from memory forever.

So, maybe I can’t remember what year the CRTC came together or what opera the phonograph first featured.  I wish I could, but those things left my head the day I left your lecture.

I remember other things though – I remember singing the Arthur theme song with my dad is his thick Libyan accent as a child. I remember my telephone number from when I was 8 years old, and my sister’s 4th grade best friend. I remember how it felt to be at the “All American Rejects” concert when I was 15, and feeling like the world could fit in my hands.

I can’t tell you when the Morse Code was patented but I can tell you exactly what I was doing the time my friend sent me an email telling me, “you are a revolution.”

I remember my adolescent sadness, and the names of the demons in my head and what hating myself looks like. I also remember reading about how Kanye West defeated his demons by faking overconfidence…and I try to do that sometimes.

I remember what to do if a shark attacks and how to say “cheese omelette” in French. I can’t tell you if there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of nerves running through my body, but I know what it feels like when those nerves are on fire. I know what anxiety feels like and what worrying about the future looks like. I’m doing that now… because I got the Morse Code patent year off by one f*cking year, and now I feel like a failure even though I shouldn’t.

You see, I don’t have room for specific dates and definitions. My mind is full.

It’s full of childhood memories and non-scholarly sourced stupidity and nostalgic notions and the directions to the streets my friends grew up on. It’s full of family vacations and family fights, and sometimes I even get worried that those memories are all I have.

There will come a day where I won’t even remember who the All American Rejects are, and “omlette du fromage” will slip my mind. I don’t want that day to happen soon; I cling on to my memories like children I don’t yet wish to see grow up.

But please, please forgive me for not giving precedence to the Morse Code.


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