ENG 101—English Composition 101
John Mazur, Instructor
Assignment: Describe what education means to you.
I’ve always wanted to be “that” guy. I have always seen myself as a modern renaissance man, the type of guy who gives a lecture at MIT or an interview on CNN.
Larry King comes back from a commercial break and gives me a brief introduction: “And now I would like to introduce a young man who has accomplished more in his short life than most people will in their entire lives … Jake, it’s an honor and privilege to have you as a guest on my show.” (At this point, I am already so well known for my accomplishments that I am on a first name basis with the world.)
“It’s a pleasure to be here tonight.”
Larry gets right to the questions: “So Jake, what is it like to be the first person in history to have been awarded three unshared Nobel Prizes?”
I turn toward the camera and say, as modestly as ever, “I just do what I can, Larry.”
I have always wanted to be “that” guy, the one that everyone looks up to, the one that everyone admires, and admittedly, the one of whom everyone is jealous. Kids will read books about me, museums will have statues of me, the science communities will name theories and formulas after me. In a roundabout way, my ultimate goal, like every other narcissist, is world domination. We think that the world should love us as much as we love ourselves.
I want a career that means something; but, walking into a job interview with a resume that only says “I’m smart” doesn’t get you very far. A degree means open doors and opportunities that don’t exist with a diploma alone. It means higher pay and a better quality of life. It builds the confidence and the piece of mind that my family and I would never go without.
People look at you differently when you have a degree. Everyone, subconsciously or consciously, shows more respect for a well-educated gentleman than they do for a kid who just graduated from high school. You may not notice it, but educated people are treated as if they are in a separate caste, above those who have only a minimum of schooling under their belts.
But education does not end when you walk out of school or when you are handed your sheepskin. It is not limited to the things that you learn from a textbook or a lecture. An education is the accumulation of knowledge you collect in the course of your lifetime. Knowledge doesn’t just come from the things that others teach you: it comes from the things that you teach yourself.
With knowledge come confidence and clarity. The world becomes yours to be had, a personal playground to explore. Quite a few clichés have been coined regarding wisdom, knowledge, and education, but they are clichés for a reason. They are all true.
Education is the key. It is the critical ingredient to success and the measurement of progress in a society. It is necessary for obtaining everything a young man wants in the world – money, girls and power.