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Do not get me wrong, I think that schooling is necessary. In no way do I want to give the impression that I am anti-school or anti-education. To the contrary, I am a fervent believer in education. I just feel that fixating on anything is inherently problematic. I find that our society perceives academics as all-important. What I mean is that the relevance of schooling for survival feels over inflated and many times we assume that failure in schooling may translate to inexorable hardships in life, if not a real decay of your social well being. The assumption is that without schooling, one may never find a job which inevitably means no funds to survive. With this reasoning, our society becomes engulfed in an anxiety packed approach towards school, which is grossly driven by fear of failing. Perhaps this is not the space for me to become too technical, but this point is important.

One of the main symptoms of anxiety is the fear of impending danger. We simply believe that something , unclear or unknown to us, is about to happen to us. Our brain has an inbuilt mechanism, known as the stress response, which is designed to create physiological adaptations in times of danger. Basically, when the brain perceives danger, it sends signals to various parts of the body to create a perfect orchestra within ourselves to either escape efficiently, or fight efficiently. This part of our brain is primal and has helped humanity survive through millennia. The only issue is that this part of the brain has not evolved, and to date is still unable to distinguish between the danger of being attacked, or the danger of failing school. As a result we live in a world which continuously triggers our stress response, therefore leading us to live a life of anxiety.

Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on steve@willingness.com.mt.