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Education: Why it matters

Managing Editor, Print

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012 04:11

As college students, we are submerged in a life of writing papers, reading books, completing assignments and balancing all of that with our social and home lives, all for our own reasons. We’re a conglomerate of young and old, and we’re all from different places.

As I meet all different types of students, being a Pacer journalist and a friend of many different types of people, I find that despite our differences, we are unified in our scholastic journey. I have found myself rejoicing in test grades or talking about study habits with complete strangers. I have found multiple statuses on Facebook about the student life and its stresses and rewards. I have found that despite the difference in our talents and hobbies and ages and faces, we all have something in common: we’re here to learn.

That might sound like an obvious observation, but I find it is a powerful one that we take for granted as Americans. Learning has the potential to expand our world if we let it. I know for me, if it wasn’t for the amazing education I’ve gotten the privilege to have, I would be that wallflower girl that I was as a child, only dreaming/thinking and standing on the sidelines and not actually doing.

If you would have asked me five years ago if I saw myself being an editor of a newspaper, I would say no. I would say that I am simply a follower and that doing something like that was not something I was capable of.

Even when I entered the world of journalism at 15 years old, being on my high school newspaper staff, I found nothing but fear towards the whole thing, and I found myself daily battling the raging sea of my own insecurities. I thought that I was the worst journalist ever, because every time I would do an interview, I would shake and speak too quietly and execute all kinds of awkward mannerisms that I would magnify in my own head to be an absolute disaster. I thought it was inevitable that I was made to hide in the shadows and be the quiet thinker forever.

The person I was then couldn’t even fathom holding the title of editor or even being in the spotlight as a successful writer. However, through those three years on that newspaper staff, I learned that I wasn’t meant to be quiet, I was meant to speak. It was my education in journalism that pushed me right into the forefront of everything and taught me to walk through my fears and once the fear faded, I found that it was exactly where I belong and that when I truly engaged and spoke up, people valued my words.

That’s the beauty of true education. It can take a small person and inspire her to do big things. It can force you to see things in ways you never saw them before, and it can force you to go do things you never thought you would see yourself doing. And in doing and seeing, you realize that you are capable of more than you realize, and your world grows.

If we truly soak up this collegiate experience, we can come out on the other side a completely new person, a person who makes a positive difference and is in love with life. We don’t have to hide in the shadows and go with the flow of the laziness of our generation. We can be whoever we want to be if we open our minds and put forth some hard work.

Success, virtue, intelligence: these are all choices that we make every day when we go to class or write our papers or truly listen to our professors, not things that we’re just magically born with. And when we truly step up and learn, we find who we are and we give others the power to be who they are.

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