Educate YOself

By Alexa Vagelatos

Sometimes, college is the ultimate struggle. You’ve got three papers due in two days (well, you procrastinated…) over to your right, your internship to the left, a weekend job in both hands, and all other activities/responsibilities/life, smack in the middle.

A struggle, it is. It’s an experience that can be really tedious and annoying. It’s something you don’t want to have to deal with. But, most of all, it’s something that we take for granted.

There ya go, I said it. It isn’t an age old or foreign concept, either. From personal experiences, personal feelings, and straight facts… young Americans have proven to take advantage and even forget how #blessed they are to have access to higher education, from the start. We forget that what we have access to information that will allow us to change the world as we know it, forever.

We forget these things by drinking and driving after coming home from a party at the hottest Frat house on campus. We do this by purposely failing out of everything to spite our parents. We do this by not becoming active on campus, and we do this by simply saying that college is a waste of time and ESPECIALLY, money.

Here’s my argument: systematic education is a waste of time. Systematic education will absolutely encourage me to party all weekend, and do everything in my power to not write a seriously boring paper on something irrelevant. Systematic education is, in my mind, a waste of money. BUT, that does not mean education is a waste of time, or money.

I graduated from St. John’s a whole year ago. I had some of the best experiences in my young adult life happen, because of St. John’s. I was Opinion Editor at the Torch, I studied abroad with the DTW program my sophomore year, I worked weekends at a nearby restaurant, I had two internships, and I was apart of various clubs. Every thing I was involved with, helped me grow. The people I met, educated me. The things I was pushed to do, made me a better professional and person. I can assure you, though, that none of those experiences came from sitting in a classroom listening to someone teach me what I need to learn, from hands on experience.

In terms of education, I don’t think I wasted my time or money. I wouldn’t have had any of those experiences if it weren’t for this amazing University and I am proud to be an alumna, but I do think that if I were not as ambitious, I would have struggled.

The problem with education, is the stereotype that this twisted one-track mind system, has on our youth. The utter discomfort and rebellious nature that comes from sitting in a boring classroom, is human nature. We need to change that. We need to let our youth know that education is so much more than grade school and universities. We need to stop associating lectures and papers with Adderall, and start associating them with topics that are relatable and relevant, and hands on experience. We need to let our youth know that they will not necessarily fail in life without high school or college, but their minds will forever stay shut unless you make an effort to educate themselves in different ways.

It’s easy to grow and stay in a small town with a one-track mind that your society has taught you, but education, whether it be in college or on your own, is essential in shaping yourself and this world. If you do not make an effort to gain insight on history, or some science, or literature, you are selling yourself short. You do not have to sit in a boring classroom with tedious assignments, to learn and grow.

Life is about education. It’s a wonderful journey that we, as Americans, are so fortunate to have. Some countries are stuck in warfare, or have super corrupt governments. They don’t have the luxuries to sit in the park and read Shakespeare. You know, we are lucky. And too often (especially in this 2016 presidential election,) older folk try and force one way of thinking down our throats. In previous generations, you only had one wife, one job, and one goal. But not anymore. We, as millenials, have access to more information than any of our ancestors. We have access to millions of pieces of information, and most of us are selling ourselves short of it, I think.

Life is about opening your mind, interchangeable perspectives, and using what you’ve learned to complete yourself. You don’t need systematic education to succeed or feel good. Educate yoself, on your own time, if that’s what works for you. Miraculous things happen once you open your mind – I promise you that.

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