One Member’s Experience

Today’s blog post is written by Lucas Cole, who will describe his experience so far as a member of Open Road.  Lucas left school during his junior year to become a self-directed learner… but I’ll let him tell you his story.

My Experience on the Open Road

By Lucas Cole

Hello, my name is Lucas Cole, I am seventeen years old, and I am finally free. High school at first was a great experience for me. I did well in my classes and I had many friends. I had an awesome freshman year, but the longer I stayed, the more I felt like something was missing in my life. I went to the same building every day for six hours or more, on the same schedule every day. Like a train, I was forced to follow the same track day after day. I’m not saying that I hated learning; knowledge is important to me. But in these classes that I was taking, when we finally got to a lesson I liked, we would study it for maybe three or five days and then move on. This bothered me because I felt like there was more to what we were learning than what teachers had time to tell us. Then I noticed how crowded our classes were — usually about forty kids per class. How could a teacher possibly give a decent lesson with forty to fifty kids in small classroom? I couldn’t focus on the work I was given because everyone wouldn’t just shut up and be thankful that we had the opportunity to learn something new! By the end of my sophomore year, I was horribly depressed. I had no time to do the things I loved. My school didn’t have many options, and because I wasn’t in a environment that made it easy for me to learn, I wasn’t interested in any of my classes. Soon I just didn’t care; I sat in an uncomfortable chair, listening to things I had no interest in.  High school began to be a chore and actually was ruining my own personal education.

But then I found a new road, one that didn’t tell me what I’m not allowed to do because they didn’t have the classes. I wanted to continue my interests; I’m a film writer/maker and a photographer. I didn’t want to let school drown my dreams in an environment that I didn’t choose or want. But I couldn’t just run away to a different school. The school I attended was a small one already; going to a different school would lead me into the same issues. I had an advanced knowledge of film/photo for a student of my age and I realized a different high school probably wouldn’t have been able to help me take the next step. But in my junior year I found a way to continue my life and escape the numbing feeling I had for so many years. “I have hope.” That’s what I told myself, and I still do.

Today, I am changed. Every day has a feeling of freedom. I’ve been given the opportunity to work with professional filmmakers and writers. With my new schedule, I have the opportunity to write a feature-length screenplay and bring it to life on camera. I never would’ve been able to accomplish this with my schedule I had in high school. With all that, I’ve still been able to focus on my main education such as Mathematics, English, Writing, and all the things you get from a normal high school. Like I stated before, I care about knowledge very much. So to ensure that I’m still learning my necessary credentials is important.  But I’m still allowed to focus on my dreams. Life without a goal/dream is empty in my opinion. The experience has been great. Mr. Burnce has kept me well informed of what I should expect.  Support is always given to me when I need it and I am still kept on track because let’s face it, most kids my age have the attention span of a squirrel. It’s really perfect!

The freedom is revolutionary to my life. Ever since I joined Open Road my life has been more satisfying and it feels like everything I do has meaning. Plus I get to have fun, and who doesn’t like that?

What am I working for? My plan is to get my GED to apply for financial aid, so I can afford college if I choose to go. Open Road has been assisting me through my studying for the exam, finding work, managing my business, organizing my life, and so much more. One special thing about Open Road is that, unlike high school, they don’t try to shove college down your throat. In my opinion, students should be able to choose what they are going to do after high school.

This is one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my entire life. My life is amazing now and I suggest this to anyone who is tired of the public school system. In fact, I encourage it. Thanks for reading.