Tag Archives: Education

On Education

I am so blessed to be able to list all the homework I have to do this weekend. I am so blessed to be anxious over my next AP Calculus test. I am so blessed to feel like the school day will drag on forever. I am so blessed to not be able to sleep because my mind won’t stop taking derivatives. I am so blessed to have to finish a whole book for AP Composition in a weekend.

My mentor once told me a story of how he was in Nepal hiking to the top of a mountain and saw a little boy running the other way. He stopped the boy and asked why he was running. The boy said that from his house up on the mountain it was a two hours run to the school at the bottom of the mountain. The boy said that he didn’t care that he spent four hours going to and from school because he was learning to read.

How could I ever be grumpy or unappreciative that I have homework when children around the world are crying out for education? I am so blessed to have a socioeconomic status where college is almost expected as the next step after high school.

Syrian refugees have said that the thing that they want most for their children is to get an education. The schools in their refugee camps are underfunded and over-packed; yet, the smiles on the children’s faces look as if they were in Harvard.

I believe that education — along with any opportunity in life — can only be used to the full if it is appreciated. And I wanted to say to Education and all the Opportunities you’ve given me, thank you.

And yet there are others in my school who do not appreciate the gift we have been given, which saddens me because then they aren’t fulfilling their potential. Part of their education is wasted on them because they do not appreciate and thus don’t use it to the full.

Other children around the world plead for the chance that seemed to be my birthright. I was born in the United States of America to two white parents both of whom have professional careers. I was born into a life better than most of the rest of the world could only fantasize about. Frankly, most of history could only fantasize about.

And so I thank you Johannes Gutenberg and Horace Mann and John Dewey for making my education possible. I am grateful that from my education I know your names and how much you have done for me and the world.

The education system isn’t perfect; I’ve experienced that first hand. However, if we expect perfection and nothing less, there will be nothing. We should always be trying to enhance what we have, but attaining perfect is like chasing the horizon. We should not settle but we should know when ‘good enough’ is good enough.

I know teachers aren’t perfect; I’ve also experienced this first hand. However, they are the real heroes of this story. They are the one who taught me my letters so that I could write this short essay. And teachers don’t have to be paid educators in schools. My teachers are my parents, my minister, my family, my friends, a stranger on the street.

But I do have to say that my teachers in school have taught me some of my best lessons. The reason why teachers are the real heroes of this story is not because of what they teach out of the textbook, rather what they teach out of their heart. I have learned joy and perseverance and individuality and courage and wonder and faith and community and kindness and laughter and empathy.

Education is not an act of charity but rather an investment in the future. By paying your taxes for public schools, you are investing in the child who will cure cancer one day. You are investing in future firefighters and entrepreneurs and computer programmers and rocket scientists and social workers and nurses and engineers. You are invested in a future. You are investing in hope.

So I just wanted to say, thank you to all of you who have invested in me and didn’t even know me. Thank you for giving me opportunities and hope. I can’t wait to go out into the world and fulfill your investment. I appreciate my education and I will use my education to the full. Please know it will be my joy to one day invest in other children’s dreams and hopes just like you did in mine.

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Celebration of Nerd-dom

  • My sister and I watch Crash Course videos (condensed video notes for various academic subjects) for fun. Even to celebrate a no homework Thanksgiving break.
  • After studying for tests two weeks ahead of time and having no homework we find ourselves guilty studying for tests because good students study.
  • We start studying for final exams a month ahead of time so that we may have scheduled procrastination. And . . . we still end up studying more than the general honors student.
  • I turned in my final project four weeks early when other students didn’t even know there was a project assigned.
  • I asked for my english assigned reading  early so that I could pre-read it over Thanksgiving break.
  • My sister takes summer classes and test out of classes (because five AP classes during the school year isn’t enough!) 😉
  • My history teacher threatens the class that if they didn’t stay focused he would give us another review packet to complete. With twenty minutes until the end of class I went up to his desk and asked if the extra review packet would help me study. He looked around at the other students and whispered to me that there was no “extra review packet” he had just made an empty threat. So what he used as punishment, I asked for.
  • Last year my sister had four textbooks and she named them (Hugh, Otis, Kirk, and Fitz). This year she has no textbooks (okay, okay, maybe she took an AP Calculus textbook (with teacher permission). And bought an AP Psychology textbook just because we wanted it). Her  textbooks trained her well because she find herself walking down the hallway acting like she is carrying textbooks.
  • This past summer my sister and I decided to stay up after our parents had went to bed. So while I read comicbooks into the wee hours of morning, she read her government textbook. A test out of government class textbook.
  • In eighth grade, when it was time to hand in our Algebra I textbooks, my sister had me take pictures of her lovingly caressing her textbook. Wait, this isn’t a celebration of nerd-dom. This is just strange. This is just sad.

But what I do not know is if these “celebrations of nerd-dom” are signs of being a nerd or if they are what make me a nerd.

Note: We do have friends. No they are not imaginary or dead scientists or dead political figures.

Extra Note: Okay, okay. We have both. 🙂

 

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Pixabay/user:ErikaWittlieb