Hey Bill Nye! Why Do I Have to Go to School?

Television Host and Science Educator

Bill Nye the Science Guy says we all go through a phase of disliking school. But that's because adolescence is a tough time in life for everyone. Thankfully, that phase is only temporary. In the meantime, it can be helpful to look at school not as a place you're forced to go (though of course you are — it's called tough love), but as cage you can escape through sheer repetition.

The only way to learn subjects like algebra and geometry is through doing repetitive tasks: completing equations, solving for 'x', memorizing the bizarre words that biologists make up — Golgi body, reverse transcriptase, etc. But learning these concepts will empower you to think abstractly. It's a skill that will improve your existence for the rest of your life.

Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Aaron: My name is Aaron. I want to know why I have to come to school because I hate school.

Bill Nye: Aaron, many of us go through a phase of hating school. And generally you'll hate school because I'm looking at you, you're living at a time where you feel like you don't fit in and this time will pass. I know everybody tells you that but it's true. And it's also possible that you have a teacher that you're not crazy about. And so you'll get through this. Now if it's algebra, I'm looking at you estimating how old you are. The thing about math and algebra, trigonometry is you have to practice. There's just no way around it. You have to do it over and over. And you might be picking school just to be rebellious. We all go through a rebellious phase. But I guarantee you if you learn algebra you'll be able to think abstractly, not just about numbers but about all sorts of things and this will benefit you greatly in life.
It looks like you're sitting in a lab. It looks like you're sitting in a laboratory setting there. It looks like a biology class. There's nothing cooler than biology. In biology you have to memorize things because biologists, by long tradition, just make up words. They're crazy for making up words. Who doesn't love reverse transcriptase? Who doesn't love a Golgi body and so on? There's some memorization involved. Endoreticulum. I'm sorry man you just got to memorize some words, but it's worth it and you will fit in better as the years go on. Carry on man.