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Dear School System, -- creative nonfiction by Jaime Sullivan

Do you recognize me? I probably look a lot different than the bright-eyed kindergartener I used to be, don’t I? No longer do I wake up excited to go to school. No longer do I wait with anticipation for the end of a break so I could resume my educational adventure.

It’s not my fault, you know? Not my fault I stay up late and wake up early. Not my fault I have no hope for the future. Not my fault I strive for short-term memorization rather than long-term knowledge. Not my fault I’m tired, or stressed, or angry, or completely and utterly broken. It’s not my fault.

It’s yours.

You broke me. You kept me up until the late hours of the night, and the early hours of the morning. You made my back ache with the weight of textbooks, notebooks, English books, library books. You caused the soreness in my shoulders, for you are the reason I carry the weight of every grade, defining myself by it, identifying myself as worthy or useless based on how far or close I am from an ‘A’.

Your core classes are not English, or Math, or History, or Science. They are Self-Hatred, and Dissociation, and Anxiety, and Faking. You don’t teach me how to annotate a book, or how to write a lab report, you teach me how to put ourselves last. After school, after sports, after friends, after homework, after it all. You don’t teach us how to prepare for the ‘real world’, you bring the real world to us. We find it, and we use it to cope with everything you have done to us. We drink, and we smoke, and we sleep around, because why not? If that doesn’t kill us, you will, and if you don’t, we will. 

You have blood on your hands. You are responsible for the people whose life was ripped away by the dark depths of depression, of which you are the cause; you are responsible for the hurt people that hurt people. You are responsible for it all. And I know we all have our flaws, but you?

Dear School System, you take the cake.




Jaime Sullivan, future occupier of the New York Times Bestseller List, currently spends their days romanticizing the future, reading fanfiction, and writing what will someday be the world’s next Pulitzer Prize winner. If you find them in the wild, they will most likely be drinking tea and scrolling through Pinterest when they should be writing. If asked, they will look at you with a crazed gleam in their eye and tell you they can’t wait to get out of Maryland and escape the big city.

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