Go to Class, Kids

Thirty Day Challenge – Day 9 : how important is education?

I think education is extremely important and beneficial.  Even those who slack through school and never really pay attention unknowingly reap benefits of the school system, learning about the world and people around them, how to think, and, perhaps most importantly, to question.

You won’t remember all the things your teachers mercilessly pounded into your brains  throughout grade school (I know more African capitals than U.S. state capitals).  They don’t expect you to.  The thing is, your teachers don’t care if you can name the biological parts of a flower three years later, or if you know the exact year the Magna Carta passed in.  They are training your brain how to think, and teaching you to develop a work ethic.

All those papers?  Maybe you don’t care about analyzing the satire in Gulliver’s Travels, but you’re learning how to analyze and practicing writing.  Even if you don’t aspire to write award-winning novels or biting movie reviews one day, chances are you’re going to be doing some writing in whatever job you’re doing.

This is not to say that you cannot be smart without education, but learning is the tool that hones that intelligence into something that other people can understand and will listen to.  The skills you acquire through education are what you need to ensure that your voice gets heard later when it matters most, whether it be in that important job interview or the letter to the editor you e-mailed to your local newspaper.

Education isn’t only institutionalized, either.  Education is anything that enhances your learning and helps you grow as a person.  Travel, for instance, is a form of education, if you chose to take advantage of it rather than sunbathing all week.  Reading is probably the easiest and cheapest form of education.

I could talk about the Tudors until I go blue in the face, and yet I have barely learned about them in class.  The reason I could discuss the reasons that King Henry VIII developed the way he did or talk about Mary Tudor’s hysterical pregnancies is not because I have been tested on them.  It’s because I discovered an interest and I delved into it, reading anything I could get my hands on about the Tudors.

So, while school is very important, it is not the sole component of a good education, and going to a sub-par school isn’t an excuse to be uneducated.  I do think that extremely motivated people can educate themselves without much school, but they are few and far between and I am not one of them.

I’m currently in college (and about to be late for class if I don’t wrap this up).  I think I’ve learned (and forgotten) a lot of information of questionable importance/relevance, but I don’t regret any of it, and I don’t think any of my time here has been wasted.

In short, we are always learning, and that is critical.

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