Finding Fulfillment in Education

By Beth Winze

If you had stopped me three years ago and asked about my opinion of education, I would have thrown a stone into the pond of complete hatred.  Homework for hours, never ending assignments, and textbook reading drove me over the edge.  I dreaded waking up in the morning to find myself trudging through another day of school.

Fast forward to college, and my mentality has done a 180-degree flip.  I live for the academia setting.  No, I am no Ivy League, GRE conqueror, but I am a hard working student who loves my major and finds passion in learning.  College has pushed me towards breaking every box I ever put myself into.  I told myself I was not a public speaker, but I just spoke at the North Carolina Criminal Justice Association on Communications between Law Enforcement and the Media.  I told myself I could never learn a foreign language, but in one month’s time I had not only studied abroad but also learned Spanish to the extent of intermediate – high fluency.

This is not intended to be a brag fest about my accomplishments whatsoever.  I have just come to realize that when approached with the right attitude, education is an investment in yourself.  High school feels like a requirement because it is, but when you choose higher levels of academia, fulfillment can be found.  On the other hand, college is not for everyone, but unfortunately, today’s society pushes for college in order to get any sort of decent paying job.  Society and employers even push harder for graduate level work as well.

I found my calling in education at the moment.  I have an ideal plan for what I want to get out of my life in the future, but right now my future cradles itself in education.  My future plans are getting nourishment and care in what I learn.  It’s far too easy to take advantage of all that has been offered me and I feel that a lot of people who do not even give college a chance do just that.  They miss the opportunity to keep themselves outside of boxes that they put themselves in.  I truly believe that some professors have a sixth sense in helping bring out your character.  They tend to be carpenters that see the true potential in a piece of raw wood.  And as much as they sand you down, critique and push you out of your comfort zone, they are only chipping away at the piece they know you can become.

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know that you didn’t know.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

I truly believe that Boorstin is on to something here, besides a complex tongue twister.  When you allow yourself the opportunity to educate and push your mental boundaries, you open up playing fields in your mind that are waiting to be explored.  In non-hippie terms, I have learned that limiting yourself is the worse thing you can do.  Telling yourself you can’t do something is setting yourself up for failure.

The minute I learned that the boxes I was housing my mind stunted incredible growth, I got out.  Along with the professors sixth sense and “carpenter” skills, they also have a mean pair of box cutters that they help open up those boxes alongside you.

Education has yet to prove me wrong for choosing this path.  I do things I don’t want to, I gripe about my homework, I take out loans every year that make me cringe, but I’ve stopped allowing my “I can’t’s”,”I won’t’s'”, and “I don’t’s” (that was a grammar nazi’s nightmare just now) and have turned them into much more expansive ways to allow myself to grow.  You can find true fulfillment in educating yourself.  I am overjoyed with the person I have become; I know who I am more deeply; and I know where my passions lie.

If you are reading this and are considering college, are in college, or want nothing to do with college, at least consider yourself in a setting where growth is the only option.  I can promise you that you won’t be sorry with who you become in the end.

“Educating yourself does not mean that your were stupid in the first place.  It means that you were intelligent enough to know there is plenty left to learn.”  – Melanie Joy

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