Education… a privilege, a right, or a journey that will change your life?
I remember how I hated school. I used to think it equaled imprisonment. And the only reward was the friends I earned in exchange for serving my time. Many of the correctional officers, or teachers, were intolerably obnoxious and seemed to think very highly of themselves - though to this day I cannot explain why. The walls of the school seemed not only to effectively keep students captive but to retain an environment full of hypocritical views, superficial values and shallow conversations. Amidst this restrictive ambiance, my learning experience was like being put in a stray jacket.
This image of high school hasn’t changed for me. However, once I graduated and continued my studies, my perspective about schooling began to take a big change. No longer was it an obligation I had little say in… I suddenly had a choice. I could choose whether or not to attend the classroom, or to participate in it, or to dispute a point if I disagreed. I had the freedom to do as I pleased (within reason that is.) I was now responsible for my own education. And that, is a GREAT feeling.
Once I was in the driver’s seat, I soon realized that if I didn’t commit time and dedication to learning, I’d be… well, plain dumb. And I’d have no one to blame but myself. The world was a bigger place now, and if I wanted to move around in it I would have to learn. Little by little I started to understand a few facts: I couldn’t grow as a person if I was ignorant; I couldn’t gain knowledge by indifference; and, I couldn’t acquire an education through negligence. The significance of my instruction had little to do with proving my intelligence or the ability to pass tests or obtain high scores… it was all for me.
When I finally understood the importance of my education, and how it affected me in so many ways, I stopped resisting my role as a student. It began to feel more like a privilege rather than a task. Recognizing the truth was liberating: I wanted to be there, I wanted an education and I wanted to learn more. And I was given this opportunity, encouraged even. Able to voice my own opinion, without being lectured for it; able to stretch out and open my mind, and not be judged for it; able to share my disagreements, and not be silenced for them… it was a gratifying experience. Before I knew it, I was growing, I was learning, I was living a life I didn’t know I could have.
I believe this is a journey I’ve yet to conclude, and I hope it never ends.