A facebook video goes viral after a 16 year old girl from Mexico announces that she has taken the 'conscious decision' of leaving school.
In the video, filmed by smartphone, Marcela Aguirre explains that she is fed up with the Mexican school system and its teachers. She claims that there are other ways of educating oneself other than in a classroom. The response to her digital commentary was almost immediate and vastly negative.
For the Mexican society, it’s unthinkable that a kid with a middle-class background is choosing to forgo a formal education in favor of pursuing her (undisclosed) dream, and possibly inciting other people to do so. Her announcement is shocking because the notion that the 'only way to get ahead in life' is through a university degree still lives within the Latin American mindset.
"I'm 16 years old and a few days ago I took the conscious decision of leaving school."
The heart of this discussion is not the pros and cons of a formal education, but the factuality of learning through social media and the Internet, a point that La Mars—how she refers to herself—mentioned in her videos and public appearances. Basically, she says that studying things that she does not like gets in the way of learning about the things she does have an interest in. And Marcela argues that she can educate herself through resources like books, the Internet and social platforms, by her own volition.
It’s perfectly fine to learn from books, that is the way that has been for centuries; however, this means if she has trouble understanding the subject, then it will be harder for her to learn with nobody there to help her. With this method, she will pick and choose the topics that she wants to learn about, but it will leave her in the dark in other areas.
Added to her use of social media, it will create an echo chamber effect that will hardly allow her to be challenged in her point of view, something that a school institution has always attempted to achieve.
The Internet as a teacher
Social media are here to stay, that much is obvious. Educators have learned to adapt to this new technology, which is great because these tools allow and promote learning by actively engaging in discussions; acquiring fresh content; facilitating easy communication and interaction, and forming communities.
However, not everything is perfect: it is possible that the information shared online is not truthful and reliable. Online learning may invite short attention spans, contain superficial research, and may not encourage to critical thinking. Furthermore, it is an extremely informal learning setting, which may not hold the same sense of urgency or importance as a classroom.
Aguirre has revealed that Scorp, a platform in which she has been active for many months, has offered her a job as an influencer. This is one of the reasons for leaving her high school education, and it will allow her to further her knowledge and promote her viewpoint on education. The App—created in Turkey and gaining momentum in Mexico—is a mix between Reddit and the (now extinct) Vine, where users can upload 15-second videos about any topic.
Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are powerful entities in the digital world, but for every success there are dozens of failures. The fast response and invitation of Scorp to Marcela is not a guarantee of her success or advancement in her knowledge.
Waiting for the consequences
It is still too early to tell if La Mars will reach the same level of education as that of her peers who will finish high school, but one thing is certain: her argument is similar to The Little Mermaid’s Ariel, “I’m 16 years old. I’m not a child anymore!” After shouting this to her father, she proceeds to sell her voice in exchange for legs to be with a guy she’s never even spoken to, in an effort to show that she is mature enough to make her own decisions.
Perhaps the results of leaving school are already manifesting themselves. In a recent video, La Mars says: “He estado usando esta aplicación durante varia tiempo”, which roughly translates to “I’ve been using this App for several times”. So maybe, she should have stayed in school.
Mason, R., & Rennie, F. (2008). E-learning and social networking handbook: Resources for higher education. New York: Routledge.
Conley, D. (2017, March 19). Wired for Distraction: Kids and Social Media. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
Cruz, M. (2017, March 30). Mars Aguirre responde a sus críticos: “Voy a seguir aprendiendo, pero no en la escuela”. Retrieved March 31, 2017,