After I saw the video by Suli Breaks on Youtube a couple months ago, I immediately related and felt inspired by it. I am finally sitting down to write about it. If you haven’t seen this video here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_ZmM7zPLyI Suli turns regular, boring, endless speeches into captivating spoken words.
I have my own thoughts on this topic and I would like to share them here with you.
Let me ask you this; What are you studying for? People say that education is the key to success. I hear teachers, parents and most people in society say that I need to go through high school, get into the best college I can, and then get a job. There is so much pressure to follow this path – do well in school, to get A’s, to get into advanced colleges, to do well on the SAT’s, to join clubs and be involved.
But …. Why? Why do we do this? Because people tell us to do this? Because it has worked for others? Because it is what is expected? Because it is the easy path to follow?
People need to realize that education is not the same as school. Education is about inspiring one’s mind not just filling the student’s head. Search “school is” into Google, and you will get this – “school is…prison … waste of time … boring.” Search “school makes me feel” and you will get…worthless … suicidal … sad … like a failure. In school, if you fail a test it makes you feel like a failure. This is terrible. This is no way to inspire and teach people.
What is the point of this? So the end goal is so you can get a job? How much of the content from these classes in high school and college will you need in this job? Is this really the best way to learn and inspire?
To me, so much of school is worthless because you are just going through a standard routine. The whole process is all about filling seven hours of the say in an endless pursuit of trying to get a grade, just trying to pass the next test, just trying to finish the latest assignment. School is about memorizing dates and times and numbers, then right after the test, poof. The information is gone; I never think of them again. This is a terrible way to “learn.” And for teachers to ask us why we’re so quiet and uninterested. Hphm … maybe it’s because we get no sleep and are constantly racking our brains out to complete and endless stream of boring, meaningless assignments.
I find it ridiculous how kids wouldn’t dare skip school if they had strep or the flu because “they can’t dare miss a day of school” or they will get marked down and come back to a stack of work as tall as them. Then there are people getting A’s just to please their parents, but they themselves are bored and yearn for something else. Myself, I often return to school the next fall having forgotten basically everything I learned previously because it means nothing to me – or it was taught to me in a way in which it had no meaning or exciting to me. School is not educating me. School is sucking the life out of students while failing to teach us what we need to know in life. Except for the rare teacher, a love for learning and a spark of excitement is lacking. School is not the same as education.
Education is different. Now Google “education is” and you will get “education is…the key to success … freedom …the great equalizer.” Education inspires, with education you can do whatever you want and learn what you are interested in. Not once in school have I learned how to chase my dreams, to learn how to make money, to learn how to do laundry, or even to explore what to do after college. But of course it is necessary that I know where Uganda is and the complexities of polynomial systems. But I do not know how to balance a check book. I do not know what entrepreneurship is. I do not get to explore my passions – video, creation, storytelling – and learn academic subjects by applying the concepts to my passions. Why not?
John D Rockefeller, Simon Cowell, Abraham Lincoln, Julie Andrews, Michael J Fox, Amancio Ortega Gaona, Wolfgang Puck, Walt Disney, and Halle Berry – these are just a few of the people who never went to college. Steve Jobs, Matt Damon and Bill Gates are college drop outs. Yet, people look down on others who choose to not go to college after high school. People criticize though who chose to explore a different path as they explore their passions in life. Now those are the people we should be praising. Education is not limited to traditional definition of school. There is more than one way to be an educated woman or man.
I say no … stop it all. School should be about learning and inspiring. Students and teachers should get out of the classroom and experience learning and living. Individuals should be encouraged to explore their passions and teachers should frame the subjects in a way that the learning is applied to the interest of the individual student. Yes, it is more work for the teachers – but why cannot our schools be dynamic this way? Why cannot the gap between education and school be bridged? Why can’t society encourage a non-traditional path of work, entrepreneurship, service, and exploration?
As Robert Frost wrote in the poem The Road Not Taken (1920)
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by. And that made all the difference.”
Follow your dreams, follow your path. Live your life fully because, if you do not, you will merely be an actor in someone else’s life story.
Until next time,