This I Believe

Gerardo - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 7, 2007

The path to college was not particularly difficult. I had worked myself hard throughout high school, and now it was time to choose the place where I’d hope to spend another four years working (and perhaps—just perhaps—partying) about as hard. I attended high school at a place where students are expected to study the liberal arts in college, or at the very least pursue a liberal education. But somewhere in the summer after my junior year, I decided this wasn’t for me. I realized that that learning is a gift, and that whoever has that gift of knowledge has a mandate to use it to improve the world.

So I applied to nursing school. Actually, I applied to healthcare management school. And I was accepted, which meant that I would be dual-enrolled in business school and nursing school for four years. I would be taking degrees in two explicitly professional areas of study.

Even though I wasn’t even sure why I had done this, I presented a confident face to people at my high school. That was rough. Teachers asked me what was I thinking, throwing away my love for Latin or Ancient Greek or evolutionary biology or comparative literature? As much as I had reveled in the classics or genetic theory, I prepared to leave high school with an almost blind faith in the future. Even though I decided to study healthcare management, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, just that I was going to use the store of knowledge I would acquire—and some of what I had acquired in high school—to bring change.

But bring change to what? This summer before college, I sorted out my views on the U.S.’s healthcare systems. I began to understand that there were massive inequities that existed there, and that it was time for a change. I began to think about what I wanted to do with what I was preparing to learn. And I began to see that perhaps my blind-faith jump into this course of study was all for the best.

This is because I began to see that it is the learner’s imperative to bring their knowledge to life. I believe that the best knowledge is not that which is stored up, but that which is applied for humankind. It is the job of the person who has knowledge—who knows something of value to society—to bring that knowledge to bear so that the world will be better off somehow.

And that’s why I started nursing school and business school this August. My goal in life is to change the fact that 47 million Americans don’t have health insurance, and that we spend far too much money treating preventable conditions. But that can wait for a little bit, because in order to use what I know, I need to know it, first.