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How Education has Shaped my Life

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

From an early age, going to school wasn't something that I considered an instrumental part of my life. I learned how to read, write, do basic math, and learned the history of the world. I never understood that if I haven't been taught who Martin Luther King Jr was or how Shakespeare influenced the culture of Europe, my life would look very different. I didn't think it mattered that I could list the states and most of their capitals. I would sit in a classroom trying to understand why I was even there and what the point of school was.

I had no idea that a book of all things would change the way I looked at my life. In Educated by Tara Westover, I was shocked to realize that education is not just sitting in a classroom or office, and that there are many different ways that people learn. I spent so much time in high school complaining that part of me wonders how much I missed out by not just living in the moment. Merriam Webster defines education as "the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process."

Education for me is all about the bigger picture. I can add two plus two and know that the correct answer is four, but there is so much more I can learn from that statement, other than just the answer. Westover proves in her book that there is no right or wrong way to be educated. Everyone has different views about the world and I believe that it is essential to understand them all. If you only hear one side of the story, are you not just listening to one opinion? As a child, Westover only knew what her parents taught her before going to college. She had no idea that the world was full of people so different from herself. Becoming educated was the culture shock that broadened her horizons. She finally saw a clear picture of the world because her parents couldn’t shield her anymore.

2020 has been a year of events no one could have predicted, but we are finally seeing what our world is truly like because we have no one to protect us from devastation. Coronavirus shifted us from being in a classroom and office, to life at home. Throughout this process we may have felt enraged, agitated, or shocked. The activities that took up a majority of our time and energy were now gone. I felt like I was seeing our world crack down the center and that no amount of glue was going to fix this. What I realized is that Coronavirus is not fixable like a broken science fair project. I could only change my perception of the situation.

Instead of being angry that I was home and not in school, I embraced doing school work from my living room sofa. I enjoyed walks with my mom, even in the Texas heat. I cooked dinner for my family, which brought us together after a long day. Every night my sister would ask “so how was everyone’s day?” It may seem like an odd question considering that we really were not partaking in many new activities, but whether she meant to or not, it brought a sense of normalcy to our kitchen table and helped us to stay focused on the present. Life is full of many ups and downs, but one thing that doesn’t change is education because it is not about physical spaces or specific moments where you think you are going to gain knowledge. I have learned more from the unexpected moments in my life. I am always learning and this I will never take for granted.

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