This I Believe

Ashley - Castalian Springs, Tennessee
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” This is a quote that is usually attributed to Mark Twain.

Are we, indeed, only book smart, or does knowledge go beyond that? Is knowledge measured by what you learn in school, or what you take beyond school? Should we be satisfied with what we’re told or try to gain more knowledge?

I believe that our education never ends. I believe that the education that we are forced to obtain obscures our mind from other ideas that we could form on the same subject. For example, we go into a biology class and are taught on the subject of evolution. However, at the end of the lecture, our teachers give us their opinion. Or, how about Al Gore and the whole frenzy about Global Warming? There are so many different opinions that are thrust on you from your teachers that you don’t know who, or what, to believe. We accept those ideas because we have to at the time; however, what happens when we are away from those influences? Once away, I believe that we should form our own ideas; that we should think on it from every angle.

One should never limit themselves to learning only what they are told to. I believe that we should be able to read whatever we want whenever we want. In doing so, we would form better questions, and do some research if someone cannot answer those questions.

Education is what you want to learn and retain. It is what you find interesting. Schooling is what others want you to know; their opinions as opposed to your own.

We are always striving to learn what could happen when influenced by something else. Some of the greatest inventors in history would not have been able to make inventions without wanting to learn about the subject. Einstein, for instance, was only an average, C-grade student. He clashed his ideas against those that his teachers presented him with. He was able to formulate his own ideas and his own way of doing things, even in the presence of others. Because of that drive, that urge to learn, Einstein developed many of the leading scientific ideas today. So, Einstein, if you’re listening somewhere out there in the great beyond; thanks for helping to open the doors for us to think for ourselves, and not care if we’re thought of as crazy.

With the freedom to improve, we can do anything that we want to. We can become the next great scientist or philosopher, the next person to discover a new type of animal or plant; we could even uncover the secret to time travel. So, in closing, let’s play around with another Mark Twain quote. Though he was being quite sarcastic, Twain once said that “all you need in life is ignorance and confidence, then success is sure.” However, I want say that “all you need in life is that ability and confidence, then success is sure.”