Rob Does Words
Treating fiction poorly since 2019


I don't really like history.

My parents kind of understand. They say it doesn't go back far enough, but they still get upset when I get Ds and Fs. I've tried to get them to tell me the earlier stuff, the stuff pre-21st century, but they just tell me that once I graduate and get my uplink, I can find it all out for myself and, for now, I should focus on my studies. But they're so boring.

I mean, take the Unification of North America. For one, I don't even understand what North America even is. Or was, or whatever. Secondly, we live in Pacifica. America is half a world away and, apparently, not as relevant as all this makes it out to be. And then the teacher says that this unification thing was when America officially merged with Mexico and Canada and was the turning point in the Second Cold War. And that just raises more questions. Apparently the Second Cold War is a higher education class. We’re doing all this out of order! I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not terribly upset that I don't understand the concepts. I have no intention of doing anything related to history after I graduate. I might look into the pre-21st stuff that they studied when they were my age but that's about it. According to the Learning AI, I'm probably just going to end up taking the Basic and not even trying to work.

Weekends are my only respite from the hassles that my parents and the teachers lay on me. I mean, they know I'm not stupid. Aside from history I'm doing alright. I'm not going to be graduating top of the class anytime soon, but I'm not failing out like some of the others. I'm going to have something behind me when I'm allowed out into the world.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I've been in school for almost 15 years. Learning and waiting and waiting and learning. Its all I've known since I can remember and in a few short weeks it'll all be behind me. And it’s not the idea of being an adult and being able to access the uplink – we’ve all done that without permission a few times – it’s more that I’ll have nothing to come back to if I fail. They don't teach us how to live after school. It’s school – school – school – adult life and that’s it. Once we’re done with school and the AI has given us its best guess as to where we’ll make ourselves worthwhile, there’s no support for us back there.

If I fail at life then what do I do? I could just live with Mum and Dad, lots of others do it and its not necessarily as frowned upon as it used to be and with the Basic and whatever income they’re pulling in, it wouldn't be a huge drain on their finances.

I am kind of getting ahead of myself. I still have exams to get through and there are a few kids at school who are talking about getting a house together for the first year or so while we decide what to do next. I guess I have a few options. Ok, I'm not stressing anymore. I'm back to enjoying my weekends and not worrying.

So all my math and science exams are done. I won’t know for a few days how I did but it doesn't matter, Mum won’t let me use the uplink until all my exams are done. Some of the guys who did early exams have already got their results back and are waiting for the next free session in the AI to reassess their futures. Part of me wants to go along with them, but without any exam results, I wouldn't be allowed in the building. I guess it’s for the best.

I still have my history exam and then, at the end of next week, we all have the big English one. I'm pretty ready for that and I'm trying to focus on studying for the history one which is on Monday. It just seems to spill out my ears though. Trying to understand what happened in Europe when Russia fell (those words mean nothing to me) is like trying to think about what its like to be a fish.

Dad gave me some advice the other day and it’s stuck with me for some reason. He said that it didn't matter how well I did, but the only person I'm hurting by not trying is me. It didn't help when he said he wasn't trying to make me feel guilty, it still does.

These books are so hard to read. Talking about the armies that crossed borders into countries that don't exist anymore. I couldn't tell you where Italy was, much less what it meant for their armies to cross into Austria, another country that doesn't exist.

If I am understanding this correctly, though, these countries fought some war that was the culmination of decades, maybe even hundreds of years of something? There's no context for what was happening then. I guess this goes back to the pre-21st stuff that Mum and Dad keep talking about, but even so, shouldn't it be made clear why a particular war happened?

The Asian-American war is still going on and everybody knows that it started because of something some politician said when he thought the uplink was muted. How are these wars not documented like that? I'm this close to giving up.

I have finally finished with learning history and in less than two weeks, assuming my English result isn't held up at all, I’ll have my results and official permission to access the uplink.

A few of the people I've been studying with have had the AI recommendations and have even began packing to leave for one of the cities.

Terry has actually been offered a job in Singapore based solely on his programming results. He’s invited us all to come and visit sometime. I’ve always dreamed of seeing Singapore but it’s kind of hard to get through their border security. For now, though, I need to do some final studying for the English exam. Wish me luck.