I don’t know about you, but I remember LOVING elementary school. To me, the end of summer meant buying school supplies; so much, in fact, that I had enough left over for the following school year. But, don’t worry, that didn’t stop me from returning to Target every year for more glorious notebooks, planners, pens, pencils, papers, markers, crayons, sharpies, and other unnecessary (but exciting) items.
If I thought I was excited for elementary school, oh boy was I in for a treat by the time middle school came around. I felt like a big, bad 6th grader and could not be more stoked to learn, change classes every hour like Lizzie McGuire, change for P.E class, and be on a sports team. From what I can remember, middle school was the bomb.com.
Then HIGH SCHOOL. Let’s just say, I was NOT stoked. It was my first time changing schools and leaving my friends since the 4th grade. Not only that, but it was my first time enrolling in a private school. Uniforms? Yes, they are indeed as bad as they seem. Did I happen to break dress code here and there? Yes, yes I did. High school was challenging for me, but my love for education slowly dwindled away. I was at a competitive school, so my mindset changed. I no longer wanted to learn; I wanted to be the best. I think it’s important to note that those two things are very, very different things.
I wanted straight A’s. I would use my handy dandy memorization skills for tests and as soon as they were over, all of that info just escaped my mind. I had too many books to read, so I began to skim or look up summaries. I didn’t care about the information, I just didn’t want to seem stupid in the eyes of my peers, and I felt like no matter how educated or smart you were, if you didn’t have the grades, your intelligence didn’t exist.
Then, college. Holy SHIT I LOVED college. But, like any drastic change in life, it took me up until my junior year to truly fall in love with it. I started off as a pre-med major (HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHHA). I was barely sleeping, HATED chemistry with every fiber in me, had to dissect a squid during bio lab when all I wanted to do was to dissect a cadaver and actually learn something about the profession I was interested in, gained weight, barely had time for a social life, and was in a shitty relationship. It took me a solid two years before my mom finally allowed me to switch my major. To say I was supercalifragilisticexpialidociously stoked would be an understatement.
So I changed my major to psychology, enrolled in as many neuroscience classes as I could, and declared my minor as anthropology. I have never been so fascinated in two subjects more in my life. I loved seeing the excitement on my teacher’s faces when they taught. I loved hearing the passion in their voiced. I loved the subject matter, and I loved applying everything I learned into my day to day life. It took me 16 years of schooling for me to finally enjoy learning. Why? Because I was learning for me.
I stopped comparing my grades to my peers. I stopped studying just to memorize. I didn’t move onto another subject or topic until I fully understood what I was learning and how to apply it. At least in America, our education revolves around grades and a goddamn GPA. Spoiler alert: having a high GPA does not always mean you are the next Bill Nye and having a low GPA does not always mean you are dumb as hell.
I think of learning in the same way I think of working out: if you work out and eat right because it makes you FEEL good, you’ll gain nothing but self confidence and lose nothing but weight. Along the same lines, if you learn because you’re interested in the subject matter, you’ll gain nothing but intelligence and wisdom and lose nothing but… well, nothing.
We take education for granted. You don’t have to be enrolled in classes or in school to gain knowledge. Utilize the internet or the public library. Both are free, so NO EXCUSES! There’s so much to learn from people, history, science, anthropology, and the list goes on and on and on. Talk to people, listen to their stories, watch documentaries instead of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Imagine how much more peaceful this world would be if everyone was just more well rounded and understanding.
So, do yourself a favor and learn something new today! Everytime I learn something new, this crazy thing called Life just seems to make a little bit more sense.
“Education is what is learned after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”