School Days Are the Happiest Days of Your Life – Is a Lie

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My dad used to say that to me when I was a kid. ” School days are the happiest days of your life”. I can see from the internet that it’s still a thing, people are searching for posts that tell them how to write an essay, speech or debate on that topic, so I guess schools are still trying to perpetuate that myth to keep kids compliant.

This myth we tell children goes hand in hand with the other classic lines every parent uses at some point.

“School is so much fun !”

“You’ll make loads of lovely new friends!”

These are probably believed and deeply ingrained and we pass them on to persuade our too-young children that being assimilated into the system away from their comfort and support humans is a potentially good idea.

Some kids are cool with that, for sure.

For others maybe these words will lessen the tears during the first few weeks of separation.

Before childhood becomes resigned to the status quo.

Well I’m here to tell you that the opposite is true. School days are actually the worst days of your life. I’m an adult, I was a child, I went to school and I’ve lived the last 30 years plus outside school. The adult part of my life has been far, far happier and I actually had a pretty good school experience. I’m not down on that. But let’s all just look at reality for a moment.

School Days are the Best Days of Your Life

School days are the best days of your life is a lie

School days are not the best days of our lives, they’re actually the worst days of our lives. Let me explain why they’re certainly not the best.

I’ll just say again that I was pretty cool with my school experience. I am not here to dis school particularly. I just want to say that being an adult is better. Being a university student is much better too. Just about anything is better than being in school.

I did well, passed exams and didn’t hate school too much at all, but lots of my friends did. Their parents would tell you that they loved school, were doing well, my friends would tell you the opposite. 

I could give you a list of names, I’m not making this up. I’ve argued with them that school was fine, they are strongly opposed to my view. Their truth is the real truth, not the parental perception.

We had a 13 year old child visit recently. We’d heard how he loved school, everything was great, but privately he told us that he hated it. 

I read a post yesterday, it talked about how children in classrooms were ” adequately stimulated”. Those are the 2 most depressing words I’ve ever read. Who wants to be “adequately stimulated” for 14 years or so? It made me think of lab rats. That’s what got me thinking. Why do we tell kids that once they leave school, that’s it, nothing better will happen? Surely that’s counterproductive?

And that is exactly what ” School days are the best days of your life” is saying.  You can swap school days for childhood if you like, it doesn’t really matter here. We’re telling kids to make the most of it, because the adult world sucks.

I’m addressing this from a school perspective because, that great myth in the title has the word ” school” in it. And most kids DO spend their childhoods in school. It’s society’s norm, for now. But that’s changing.

  • You have no personal freedom during the school day.
  • You have no free will, you must do as you are told.
  • You can’t freely respond to your body’s needs to move, eat, drink, even go to the bathroom.
  • Some can’t even choose what they wear.
  • Some can’t choose how to wear their hair.
  • You have a list of have-to-do’s rather than want-to-do’s
  • You are not free to follow your own academic interests if they don’t correspond with the curriculum.
  • What little free time you have is at least partially taken up with school related forced assignments
  • During exam times school and revision take up your whole life – pressure is huge.
  • You are under pressure to “do well” and that “do well” is not of your own definition.
  • You are lied to. Doing well at school is not the key to a happy life.
  • Nowhere near enough free time to do your thing, to discover what your thing is, to be you.
  • Conformity.
  • You can face judgement, criticism, bullying and social isolation.
  • You don’t have financial freedom, you are parent dependent and your finances often depend on approved behaviour.
  • You have to be what somebody else wants you to be or face the consequences.
  • You may be treated as a child, not as a person with human being rights and valid opinions.
  • You are told that further education and further education debt are the best way forward. More lies.
  • Older people can make decisions for you even if you oppose them.
  • You can’t even vote.

Now some would say that all the above is perfect preparation for the workforce. And they’d be absolutely right.

Why What Comes After School is So Much Better

Being an adult is the best, if you throw all that school conditioning out of the window.

  • You can live your dreams, and your dreams are unique to you, they could be anything.
  • You can do what you like and don’t need permission, just keep it legal and harmless.
  • You can achieve financial freedom and independence.
  • You can strive to make a difference in the world and have time to dedicate to that.
  • You can find a partner in love, in life who will support you through everything and not judge.
  • You can still surround yourself with friends if you choose to, but you won’t be forced to associate with the same people every day, even if you dislike them.
  • You can still play games and sports if you choose to, but it’s your choice, not forced.
  • You are free to change jobs.
  • You are free to change house, town or country.
  • You are free to buy that puppy.
  • You are free to eat ice-cream for breakfast, be vegan, or whatever else you choose.
  • You are master of your life.
  • If you don’t like your life you can work to change it.
  • If people judge or criticise, it doesn’t have to impact on your life. Approval is not required from third parties.

How are school days better than that?

Loads of people are going to say that they loved school. But that’s not the issue here, I’m sure you did. But would you honestly rather be in school, or even be a child, than be an adult? That is my point and so many people are missing that point because of their defensiveness of the school system.

That is not what I’m talking about here.  I don’t want to hear how great you think school is, we’re not talking about that and I don’t have my homeschooler hat on today. 

The Best Days of My Life Were These

  • Travelling – I love travelling, you may not, that’s cool.
  • New love and old love.
  • A good marriage.
  • Having contentment and inner peace – because sometimes those things are all that’s required.
  • Having children, pregnancy, birth and watching child become adult.
  • Creating a business.
  • Seeing the places and things I’ve always dreamed of seeing.
  • Accomplishing things I’d set out to achieve, in fitness, hobbies, skills and work.
  • Hard work paying off.
  • Being mum and being wife.
  • Being the giver of freedom and facilitator of choice to those I love.
  • Being in a position to help.
  • Being in a position to change things.

And that is my thought for the day. Yes, we homeschool ( or worldschool) but that’s not actually relevant here. I’m not even going to say that my kids world schooling days are the best days of their lives, that would be unthinkable. I hope for so much more for their future selves and to imply that adulthood will never live up to school days or childhood is an absolute tragedy. Please kids, enjoy your lives, all of them, don’t resign yourselves to moderate contentment unless moderate contentment is truly your dream. If it is, then that’s fine. Have your happiest life possible, but don’t believe that your life becomes a tedium of responsibility, misery and hardship the moment you leave the school gates. It doesn’t have to be.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

1 thought on “School Days Are the Happiest Days of Your Life – Is a Lie”

  1. I went to a Catholic school and loathed it. Children were subject to degrading and humiliating behavoiur, which would be illegal now. It was all dismissed as “not standing for any nonsense”, which meant frequently beating children on any pretext. Why child-hating people are put in charge of children is a mystery. Christ never preached beating children but striving to be like them. James Henratty the murderer, was our most famous “old boy” and was hanged. Treating children like savages encourages them to behave that way (they did).

    I went to art college and the student behavoiur there was far superior.


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