This I Believe

Sonni - Wellington, Florida
Entered on November 11, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that there are many different types of knowledge, and many different ways of obtaining knowledge. I believe that a classroom setting isn’t the only place that one can get an education, and the education received from schooling isn’t the only kind that is key to being successful.

Allowing yourself to absorb knowledge from those around you is, indeed, pertinent. I believe that a person can learn more from a simple conversation than a textbook. Interaction with people of all walks of life is what makes a person whole.

Can a textbook enrich you with a re-telling of a cultural experience? Can a lecture in a college hall force you to assess your own morals, beliefs, and experiences? Not necessarily. Communicating with others can always make you take new things into consideration, no matter if they’re about yourself or about the world in general.

Also, learning from a textbook can often stifle creativity, forcing a person to stick to the models and structure of comprehension it provides. Learning from interaction gives you free reign to draw your own conclusions and comprehend as you think is appropriate.

Drawing your own conclusions also provides for a better learning experience; you’re not cornered into believing a specific topic or looking at something from only one point of view.

Then there is always the fact that textbooks cannot provide you with a most important form of knowledge: common sense or “street smarts”. Growing up with a brain chock-full of a regurgitated algebra textbook will not always help you get by in life. It’s important to know that the world can be cruel, and street smarts help you get through or avoid situations that are part of our cruel world and can damage you emotionally. Chemistry cannot rescue you from these types of situations, and memorizing equations does not guarantee a path to survival. Without street smarts, a large amount of emotional damage can plague you, and there will be no way to rectify what has already occurred. There will be no second chance for a child to stand up to a bully, or for any person to speak out about their rights. Common sense will eliminate pain and regret that nothing could be prevented in the first place.

This is not to say that school obtained smarts are not significant. I just believe that other forms and methods of learning can benefit you equally, and sometimes to a larger extent. Without an even balance of these two forms of education, a person most certainly cannot live up to their potential, I believe it’s all about opening up to different experiences and allowing yourself to grow without restraint.