This I Believe

Julie - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

As teenagers, we do what is popular. We party and gossip in order to gain friendships and social status. We denounce intelligence as nerdy, and thus counterproductive to achieving the aforementioned goals. But, in doing so, we forget the importance and power of knowledge. Knowledge expands our minds and offers us something that being fashionable and following trends does not, the gift of understanding.

In the beginning of my junior year, I regarded the material I covered in my classes to be pointless. I did not see or value the importance of learning the laws of sine and cosine, the manner in which water travels up the root of a tree, or sixty-nine body hormones and their location and function.

As the year progressed, I realized the silliness of my parochial mind-set. I realized that the

acquisition of knowledge enabled me to establish deeper connections to pressing issues. This appreciation of knowledge dawned on me when I was reading an article in Scientific American that was lying in the living room of my father’s house. The article discussed people’s eating habits and the reason behind over eating. Prior to this day, I read plenty of articles in the same magazine but my comprehension was limited. I understood the basics but certainly not the specifics. This time, however, was different. I thoroughly understood everything that was written on the pages. The sixty-nine hormones I once questioned the purpose of came into use.

When I went to school the following day I changed the manner in which I perceived school. I attentively listened to all of my teachers because I realized that the information I was taught was not meaningless and that I would someday encounter it again. Also, I studied the information not only to receive an A but to develop a thorough understanding of the concept. In other words, I didn’t simply memorize the concepts, I tried to understand them.

Now, as the year is drawing to a close, I value every concept I learn because I see the power that rests in knowledge . Knowledge allows us to be aware of our surroundings; it allows us to be deeply immersed in our world rather than merely having a cursory understanding. This makes it possible for us to destroy barriers that we once viewed as unbreakable. Because of knowledge, we can be purposeful human beings with the gift of understanding ourselves and others. This is why I believe in the power of knowledge.