GUEST STUDENT AUTHOR
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but rather of the lifelong attempt to acquire it,” said Albert Einstein. How has your education contributed to who you are today?
Imagine that friend who has been there from the start. The one who is your rock in hard times and your happiness in good times. The one who teaches you how to look at life differently. The one who pushes you outside your comfort zone but comforts you when you feel nervous. Education has been that friend for me. It has come in many forms and from many directions, but it has always been there.
Inquisitive Mind Wants To Know
Growing up, I was the kid who never grew out of the “but why mommy?” phase. I asked about anything and everything. My parents were my first source of education. They graciously supplied answers to the never-ending questions ranging from “what is the color purple?” to “why do I look different than my friends?” They taught me right from wrong and constantly encouraged me to ask questions. Over time though, the questions got harder and harder, and they could no longer be the sole source to supply my insatiable quest for knowledge.
School aided greatly in answering my myriad of questions. It provided a gateway to discovering new topics like math, science, English, and history. It answered questions like “what is the world made of?” and “how does modern economics work?” Education showed up in the form of English teachers who fostered my love of writing and showed me the power of words and how they could affect people. However, school had a weird way of creating more questions than it could answer. It couldn’t teach me how to make friends or how to make a boy "like" me or how to “be attractive.”
The Not-So-Social Side of Education
Luckily, I found this thing called a computer. It was amazing. I thought I had found the Holy Grail. Anything my parents or school couldn’t teach me, I could find on the computer. The news could tell me what was going on across the world. Social media could show me what was “cool” and what the latest K-pop fashion was. YouTube allowed me to watch makeup tutorials, TED talks, and videos on how to pass the next level in Call of Duty. There were even “how-to” guides on how to make people like me more. The education I got from the computer inspired my love of cultures and people everywhere. It was great… until it wasn’t.
The computer connected me to a global virtual world and introduced me to a wide variety of ideas and people, but I quickly discovered that holding this knowledge in my head did nothing until I applied it. The guides on how to make people like me were simply words on a screen. They had no power to make people actually like me. The internet still could not tell me who I am, why I exist, or what love is. Education took on a new form. It came in the form of loneliness.
Learning of Myself
Throughout middle and early high school, I had my parents, school, and the computer, but none of these told me how to connect with the “popular crowd.” The internet told me I was supposed to have lots of friends and go on amazing adventures, but I didn’t. The movies on Netflix told me that I needed a boy to make me complete, but this boy eluded me. I felt like a failure. My academic grades were great, but my social grades seemed to be plummeting miserably. I came to hide my love of learning. I turned on education, thinking it had failed me. However, like a good friend, it stayed with me, patient and waiting for me to learn the lesson it sought to teach. In my loneliness, I embraced my independence. I learned that my parents, school, and the internet could not teach me who I was. I had to figure that out on my own, with only experience and integrity as my teachers. I had to become confident in my strengths and flaws by myself. I had to be complete by myself.
After I learned that lesson, education turned into the people I encountered. It showed me what friendship was and what love was not. I learned what type of person I want to be and what type of person I hope never to be. I’ve learned that friendship is not as easy as wikiHow would have us believe and that people cannot be reduced to the Instagram profiles by which we define them. I’ve learned that love is sacrifice and a day-by-day choice rather than this passionate high that I’ve perceived it to be. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the human soul is the greatest source of education we have.
Real Life Learning is Growing Up
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with education throughout my short life. As with any friend, we’ve been at odds with each other, though not nearly as much as we’ve loved each other. Education has built me up and torn me down repeatedly. It has constantly taught me that it has much more to teach me and that it will be with me until the day I die. I would not have it any other way. Education has made me who I am today, and I cannot wait to see where it turns up next.
Miss Johnstone is a senior at MPCS and has been accepted to the University of Georgia. The writing above was submitted as her essay to the UGA Honors Program.
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