I was 20 when I graduated university. I fast-tracked university because frankly, I was getting impatient and I wanted the next part of my life to start. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in university. Sometimes, I wish that I had taken it slower so I was sure of each of my steps. I have friends of mine who said, ‘Well, one should never regret education’. And I suppose I shouldn’t. I went to India recently where it seems as though the country is at work. I think that’s the best way to put it. I think it’s ironic how the general public complain about child labourand poverty in the third world countries but that, despite this, it doesn’t seem to stop them from buying clothes obviously originating in those third world countries. I would assume this derives from their desire of not paying the requisite first world price of clothing where people have the benefit of the glorious minimum wage. Thus, the public prefer to complain and continue living their own lives instead of creating new pathways for those who know only one path. Send a child to school, write to your local MP or the country’s MP, give something back to the community, make your own t-shirt!
Don’t make inane commentary that serves no other purpose than to rise above and condescend others. People aren’t completely wrong nor are they completely right. At the same time, there is hypocrisy in that poverty is outrageous in other countries when we have it right in our own countries where there is easy access to education. Do we not owe it to ourselves to ask what happened there? Statistically, they say that if you come from a two parent home where both have been university educated, it is highly likely that you will be educated in the same manner. And, they align education alongside earning potential.
I always say education is the answer. It’s what allows us mobility in the world. In this fast-paced ever-changing society, the one constant is the need to have access to education and education is a broad subject because what it means to some might be different than what it means to others. For example, agricultural education one might only learn on a farm as opposed to molecular biology. One of my research papers during my Masters was about a girl who learned all sorts of interesting things on the farm where she grew up and consequently found when she herself went off to university that it supplemented her understanding of the theoretical and written world. It provided her with a practical application of what others learned theoretically. What I mean by this is all that you learn throughout life is relevant. Opening up your horizons is also part of expanding your mind and your potential.
For myself, I didn’t appreciate the education I had because I always felt I was being pushed to do one thing or the other and though I said to myself that I wanted to be everything I could be, then I chose easier paths. At least that’s what I tell myself. I figured that if I studied those subjects, it would give me time to think about what I really wanted to do. I was afraid I might pursue something that I would fail at in the end.
During my undergraduate, I studied English, Political Science and Women’s Studies, which gave me a strong literary appreciation though perhaps not so much for old English literature such as La Morte d’Arthur. I might feel differently about that particular one now seeing as its been almost 10 years since I read it though it’s the only one coming to mind. With women’s studies, people always laugh it off and then when you tell them that women still earn 70 cents to the male dollar, they say well I’m not a feminist but that doesn’t make sense. Clearly, it doesn’t make sense if you are not willing to do anything about it unless the assumption is that you are marrying that man who does have the potential to earn higher (which is a completely separate subject….I digress)
I met wonderful people though. A very few have remained as permanent friends but it was such a multicultural university. There was a girl who I met my first day who went to Egypt every year. Every year, she would bring me something, rice paper bookmarks with Egyptian hieroglyphics, a painting of Osiris, mini statues of pharoahs, earrings. I remember on my 21st birthday, she gave me artificial pearls and a pearl frame. It’s meeting people like that which allowed me to know what generousity and friendship really was. I regret that I didn’t join more clubs but in the end, it helped shape me as an individual. Like that page from the Velveteen Rabbit about becoming.
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be kept carefully. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby”
Perhaps its also about learning to accept yourself alongside your capacity to absorb the world around you and share your knowledge with others who share theirs with you