I believe in education. I believe that education lends itself to equality and that it can transcend obvious differences between people. I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to be well educated and that if kids are the future then we, as society, have a responsibility to teach them how to live and learn with passion and gumption. Education needs passion so as to preserve learners from boredom and gumption so as to preserve them from giving up. I also believe that education is not, nor should it ever be, exclusively a childhood activity; rather the idea of education, of learning, should infiltrate our daily lives to keep our minds and perspectives fresh. To never stop learning is a beautiful thing; to always seek education in any matter is a brave thing because if it is done right it should challenge everything we think we know.
I mentioned that education makes people equal and that it has transcendent powers. In any class, but especially one with an application process at the college level, the students all come in willing and eager to learn what the instructor has to offer. While some students may have prior experience in the field of study and a more practiced idea of how to satisfy the instructor’s demands, each student is there to learn. It does not matter where they live, where they are from, or how they got to their current place in life. Every student is just that: a student. Once they walk into the classroom all other contexts fall away. In class I am not predominantly a barista, a Toyota owner, or an avid reader. I am a student along with my peers and we are there to learn together. Who we are as individuals, fortunately, does not go away once we step into the classroom but our educational experiences make us equals with those with whom we share the experience; it forces mutual respect. Education and its appropriate contexts have the power to overcome social or political barriers. It provides opportunity for those willing to take what education has to offer and, when administered well, can cultivate thoughtfulness, rationale, and purposeful articulation in children and adults alike. I believe in education because it stands for equality, opportunity, and building relationships between people.
“This I Believe” essays are an international project of people writing 350-500 word essays on the core values that guide their daily lives. Anyone can write one and the website even gives instructions on how to go about it (just in case you’re curious and/or interested):
“We invite you to contribute to this project by writing and submitting your own statement of personal belief. We understand how challenging this is—it requires such intimacy that no one else can do it for you. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:
Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.”
It has been wonderful to be educated with this class and I will carry this proof that education can transcend all else with me forever. Thank you.
This essay was written by my classmate Erin at the end of our Directors and Genres film class held at Oregon State Correctional Institution in the winter for our class anthology, the final project we did in which everyone was invited to submit a piece reflecting on the experience in whatever way was meaningful to them. See the This I Believe website for more information and to browse other This I Believe essays: http://thisibelieve.org