Everyday I spend my time consumed in the world of education. As both a student and a teaching assistant, I have a unique perspective on this world. I make the same mistakes that other students make, like procrastinating or skimming over instructions that are crucial. Similarly, I make the same errors as others teachers make such as, being slightly unprepared, or forgetting to explain a confusing concept in multiple ways. However, the one mistake I try not to make, that most of the world of education in North America seems to be making these days, is taking this learning opportunity for granted.
Not only are there thousands of locations around the globe where education isn’t easily accessible, but there are people in North America who are still struggling to access education. Yet, so many of us who have this opportunity forget how much of a privilege this is. We start to focus on the stress of upcoming assignments, and the lengthening of to-do lists, while we lose sight of the positive elements behind this experience.
Education opens doors to career opportunities, it flexes and strengthens our minds and introduces us to like-minded individuals. When you feel confident in who you are and your abilities to do a job, it’s because someone taught you the skills necessary to do that job. When you strike up a conversation with a friend or colleague and you note internally that they don’t understand the details of that topic, it’s because you do.
Everytime you learn a new concept, or engage with a new idea, you are creating a better version of yourself. This version of yourself will be incrementally more prepared for life than the version before. Education isn’t just a stepping stone to a job or money, it’s the process of growth you choose to partake in. This growth exists within and goes beyond the content of your courses. That content might teach you about a culture, society, a part of the body or a section of the government system you knew nothing about previously. This knowledge can carry you places you could never imagined. For example, a Deakin degree in Leadership won’t just simply up your credentials. It will help you boost your potential and with the acquired skills, help you step out of your comfort zone confidently.
However, the skills you learned while passing these courses will invariably help you throughout your lifetime. Time management, the ability to cope under pressure or when stressed, communication and teamwork skills, these aren’t attributes everyone simply is born with. Not only are they not innate, but we use them in quite literally everything we do. School helps you improve these skills, even when sometimes the process feels painful.
Maybe these notions aren’t new to you. However, our society somehow continues to foster the idea that going to school is something we just do. If you visit any third world country and stand outside of a school at the beginning of the day, you will see kids running to school with massive grins on their faces, excited and grateful to be there. In North America, I see empty desks because students didn’t feel like attending, I see uninterested expressions and students complaining to one another.
Do the world a favour, close your eyes and imagine your community, your friends and family or even yourself without your education. Where would you be? Who would you be? How many basic amenities would you have to go without simply because you didn’t have that education? So, the next time you struggle to wake up for your 11 a.m. class, remember this: the world doesn’t owe you an education, you owe the world because you have one.
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