The Nazis used to harass their prisoners of war by forcing them to move a large pile of rocks from one side of the exercise yard to the other, and then back again. They understood how demoralizing it is to spend your days in pointless labor.
I am reminded of this watching my Older Daughter go through freshman year of high school. So much of what she's asked to do is demonstrably pointless.
In English, they read a book and then "analyze it to death", as she says. They have to write essays about the books, but the process is drawn out step by step, every step analyzed and critiqued, either by the teacher or by other students. The formula is so confining and unnatural that it's just about impossible to learn how to convey your thoughts on paper. They aren't her thoughts any more after they've been extensively critiqued, and she can't convey them clearly and fulfill the teacher's formula at the same time.
In History, which is allegedly World History this year, they're doing some bizarre role-play of conflict resolution. It's been going on for weeks. OD is supposed to be writing up her notes on the process, but she's highly resistant.
And her teachers wonder why she's depressed! The only way to get through this without depression is not to care whether your efforts have any larger purpose, or to accept that their sole purpose is to produce a transcript that might get you in to an exclusive college.
We're dragging OD through freshman year "like a thorn through a fleece", as the Yiddish saying goes. Enough already.