Recombinant Records


Challenged cartoon

54 Comments on "Challenged"

  1. stuart on Fri, 11th Dec 2009 6:46 pm 

    Thanks to my dad Paul for taking the reference photos of my old school Bundy High!

  2. Paul&DebMcMillen on Fri, 11th Dec 2009 8:19 pm 

    Congratulations Stuart on some of your finest artwork.The school buildings old and new really blend well with all the issues and social images you have set amongst them.Your old school motto is in your soul it seems forever ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra ‘- Reach for the Stars’ Mum and Dad

  3. Debaser on Fri, 11th Dec 2009 10:35 pm 

    As someone who has quite only just finished their schooling life, I did get hit with the sudden “Oh jesus, what do I do now” feeling. Actually finding a job helped, as does setting some long-term goals. Pretty fitting that this was posted so soon after leaving.

  4. Karen Koshgarian on Sat, 12th Dec 2009 3:58 am 

    As a life long learner, and professional educator, I applaud your very appropriate assessment of one of our biggest challenges – to keep learning, to keep growing, and consequently, to keep a peaceful and compassionate world alive.

  5. Smudged Kohl on Thu, 17th Dec 2009 11:34 pm 

    True, true. I know far too many souls that have succumbed to the lures of everything from youtube to hedge funds. Haven’t learned a bloody thing in life except how to take videos of their cat or obsess over making more money.

  6. Paul on Fri, 18th Dec 2009 2:31 am 

    As an earlier poster mentioned, marvellous and evocative artwork. I so look forward to yuor insightful, challenging and intelligent work.

  7. Stew on Sun, 20th Dec 2009 1:33 pm 

    You do great cartoons generally, but this one really resonated with me. I’m going to share it with everyone.

  8. allen on Mon, 21st Dec 2009 2:23 am 

    The first few panes evoked nostalgia towards YOUR school years. How did you do that?!?!

  9. khunrath on Thu, 24th Dec 2009 4:52 pm 

    The last thing i hoped to stumble upon on LSD.
    This. Thing. Ever.

  10. khunrath on Thu, 24th Dec 2009 4:53 pm 

    And listening “stairway to heaven”…

  11. Caitlin on Fri, 25th Dec 2009 11:57 am 

    I enjoy the breakfast club reference except you missed somebody :p

    You cannot avoid the reference either since clearly that is what it is.

  12. silent on Sat, 26th Dec 2009 8:42 am 

    For me personally its been 6 years since I left full time education and this cartoon struck home because it is so true. Either you set yourself goals in life, or you stagnate and regress. Your cartoon is very insightful. Well done.

  13. Shante Mc Ghee on Sat, 26th Dec 2009 11:21 am 

    ~That was a great eye opener~

  14. jblattenbauer on Sat, 26th Dec 2009 4:01 pm 

    well goody for you

  15. Bryan on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 12:20 am 

    Excellent! I am a teacher and this is exactly what I think needs to be learned by every student – the grading may one day cease but learning will never stop so you need to challenge yourself. I linked to this post.

  16. jimi_dylan on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 2:37 am 

    I’m 5 years out of college. Designing and following a self-curriculum is very difficult, I have found. There are people around me my age that looks as if they will be doing the exact same thing 40 years from now–nothing but “hanging out.” Thanks for you cartoon, for it is encouraging.

  17. Ralph on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 6:52 am 

    Any sane person would choose to live in Huxley’s la-la land rather than Orwell’s unending nightmare, which would be something like living your whole life locked in a good-behavior cell block at Guantanamo Bay.

    At least our own Brave New Lives include some pleasure and diversion! Actually it’s really not that bad here, and I’m certainly glad I’m not a Gamma. Can you believe they actually LIKE their moronic existence?

  18. epiphanyX on Wed, 6th Jan 2010 12:50 am 

    Quality drawing and incisive sentiment – many thanks!

    Keep on keeping on…

  19. Allison F. on Sun, 10th Jan 2010 6:39 am 

    Is there a way to get this in poster form?

  20. sarah on Mon, 11th Jan 2010 8:43 am 

    This was great, I love this. I loved the one section where you used the students from The Breakfast Club! Good work, I enjoyed it!

  21. David McB on Fri, 29th Jan 2010 2:30 am 

    Absolutely wonderful. The joy of learning, for the sake of learning itself, should never be forgotten. I would love to get this in poster form. My wife is a teacher and this would be very appropriate for her classroom.

  22. deanna on Fri, 5th Feb 2010 4:30 pm 

    this is lovely – i have shared it with my teacher friends, and my Deputy Principal in charge of professional learning would like to use it.

  23. Lulu on Fri, 9th Apr 2010 2:46 pm 

    This is wonderful! It’s inspirational and so true. The one thing is… by setting your own goals now instead of being assigned them, when we accomplish them there’s a much greater appreciation 😀

  24. Mel O'Phee on Fri, 30th Apr 2010 3:45 pm 

    This is great, Stuart. I really enjoyed reading this (and not just because I recognise the buildings!).

  25. sylv on Wed, 19th May 2010 1:29 am 

    Hey Stuart, I really loved this one. It made me realize that life doesn’t end when school ended. I cried :(

    Posted your comic in my website, but it was so big I linked it back to your website. Haha.


  26. Kevin Day on Fri, 11th Jun 2010 12:28 am 

    Great comic. It resonated with me. That desire to continue lifelong learning is why I created Curious Reef, a collaborative learning website. If you’re interested in continuing your learning, you may want to check it out.

  27. Stian HĂ„klev on Fri, 11th Jun 2010 1:07 am 

    Absolutely wonderful! This is exactly what the mission of Peer2Peer University ( is, to give people a bit of support, and community, to keep pushing themselves. Your drawings are so simple, yet so powerful. I second the person who wanted this as a poster… And I think I might include it in some of my presentations about open education, if that’s OK?

    Amazing work.

  28. Challenged | Mike Conley's Blog on Fri, 11th Jun 2010 3:34 pm 

    […] comic by Stuart McMillen reminded me of that, and I thought I’d share […]

  29. Eric on Fri, 25th Jun 2010 2:47 pm 

    Just found out about this site through digg, it’s quite marvellous what you are doing.

    any chance you’d make a poster out of this? I’m going to print one at a print shop for personal motivation; but I think it’d be a great way for us fans to support you if we could buy such products from you.

  30. Dennis on Fri, 16th Jul 2010 6:54 am 

    I never liked school except for university. I never liked the idea of being forced to learn subjects that do not interest you. Now I’m an adult and I love it. Being able to learn stuff you’re actually interested in, awesome. In my free time I work on a bunch of personal projects (not hard to do with a Comp Sci background). What challenges me is not being forced to learn.

  31. Joey on Sun, 5th Sep 2010 12:38 am 

    Here, I made a cartoon reply about my personal experiences at school:

    They differ greatly from yours. Although I get where you’re coming from too, especially since I just enrolled in university and do believe people should try and be polymaths, basically.

  32. Deb on Wed, 29th Sep 2010 3:36 pm 

    Wow. Just wow. I have to print this out and post it on the refrigerator–it so completely sums up what I am like and what I now need to do!

  33. Joe Deiss on Wed, 27th Oct 2010 9:21 am 

    My partners and I have created Develop A Curious Mind. Perhaps there is some synergy with you. Let me know.

  34. Julia on Fri, 12th Nov 2010 10:28 am 

    I would love a printable version to share with my daughter

  35. curious on Thu, 30th Dec 2010 9:45 pm 

    i just wish all schools actually taught you something…i never cam remember feeling challenged or curious in high school, only sat around while my classmates watched remember the titans and waited for the bell.

  36. Suzanne on Wed, 26th Jan 2011 7:05 am 

    This really struck a chord with me. Thank you.

  37. Con Denny on Wed, 16th Mar 2011 2:59 pm 

    I would like to learn much about your comics,Can we make friends?

  38. Tony on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 8:30 am 

    thank you so much for the work that you do. they are a source of inspiration.

  39. ali on Mon, 15th Aug 2011 4:06 am 

    good for you.

  40. Jaycee on Fri, 23rd Sep 2011 7:49 pm 

    I am 79 and still learning. My education really started when I left school and my life would have been boring had I not kept enquiring and searching over the years for more knowledge.
    I am constantly amazed to discover something new which I did not know and am embarrassed at how little I really do know.
    You can imagine what a wonderful new world opened up for me when the internet came along. Fortunately I had already decided, back in 1983, that I was not going to be left behind by what, to most ordinary people, was a new technology .
    There are people out there who want to show me what there is and now I wonder -have I much more time to fill myself with more amazement at all those wonderful things have happened or are happening out there – which are still waiting to be discovered by me? Thanks to everyone who opens up all these new windows for me – it’s almost like a science fiction novel I never want to put down.
    I’m lucky – I may never have been a fount of knowledge or clever at school but bored? Never.
    I found this site throught stumbleupon which I now open regularly. It opens up new avenues for me to explore – and the ideas and thoughts, abilities and discoveries, art and knowledge of the world. These days I am literally wallowing in it all.
    Life may be boring for some but, if you make the effort, it can also be a wonderful voyage through a mysterious world filled with so much of interest – and before it’s too late I want to make sure I get my fill.

  41. Floss The Teeth You Want To Keep: How To Do A TEDx Talk on Fri, 14th Oct 2011 1:18 pm 

    […] images instead. Stuart’s a brilliant artist in his own right. His comics St Matthew Island, Challenged and Amusing Ourselves To Death have had over 5 million views. I was thrilled he agreed to work […]

  42. Kenneth G. Prud'homme on Thu, 8th Mar 2012 6:51 pm 

    I find your piece very deep and thought provoking…It’s refreshing to see some people are still embracing the concept of education…it makes our lives richer and opens the doors to endless new possibilities and adventures…Keep at it!

  43. Inspirational Quotes on Wed, 21st Mar 2012 9:14 pm 

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of Challenged Recombinant Records Recombinant Records . Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

  44. Alister on Tue, 17th Apr 2012 7:21 am 

    Secondary School teacher from NZ – Can I put this on my classroom wall?

  45. priscilla on Thu, 19th Apr 2012 5:26 am 

    perfect said.

  46. Emilio Basa on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 3:24 am 

    Speak the truth!!

  47. Behold! The new Stuart McMillen comics website - Recombinant Records on Mon, 21st May 2012 9:49 am 

    […] to Death, which is no longer with us.)For my pick of the best stuff from this site, check out: Challenged (many fan messages from teachers who shared this one with their students) and Green Tax Shift […]

  48. Susan Hall on Sat, 7th Jul 2012 4:25 am 

    I could not have said it better. We do need to challenge ourselves and our students. the way to do this now is enhance learning with technology. Our students need to have fun learning and share their learning with their peers.
    This saying can go for all ages

  49. Kestrel on Sun, 28th Oct 2012 10:16 am 

    I loved school. It was the only place I could go to grow because I had a husband, a baby and a sick child to care for. I took one or two classes per term because that was all I could afford. I finally graduated but nobody besides my husband came. No gifts. Nothing. Why? It was a community college and not worthy – not like my MBA brother who had a catered event at a hall and got a $5000 check from my grandparents. I didn’t even get a card.
    How I miss it! I talk to my kids about going to college and how wonderful it is but I always wind up crying. They’re probably scared of it now. But what I wouldn’t give to turn back time and enroll in a university and just learn, learn and learn some more. There’s just nothing like it.

  50. Anita R on Fri, 23rd Nov 2012 6:18 am 

    This is very nice….Good job.

  51. David Marshall on Thu, 17th Jan 2013 7:45 am 

    I love this one. Great observation and introspection plus killer cartooning. Sorry it took me 3 years and change to find it!

  52. It’s Friday. Slack off. | Nouns and Violets on Sat, 6th Jul 2013 8:25 am 

    […] ?  An illustrated reminder that learning doesn’t have to stop. […]

  53. everythingofcooking on Wed, 29th Jan 2014 11:41 pm 

    Great! I enjoyed it a lot! Self challenging and self motivation are necessary things to learn to live full life.