A Humdrum Existence

Cameron - Harvard, Massachusetts
Entered on October 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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A Humdrum Existence

I remember sitting in economics class in middle school, staring at the same black and white clock over, and over. I was a kid and this old man was trying to force me to learn the best time and way to buy stocks. I was 14. I wasn’t concerned about the graphs of surpluses and deficits that my 70 year old teacher was writing on the chalkboard. I was thinking about what I wanted to do after school, places I’d rather be, and things I’d rather be doing. Two weeks later I had an economics field trip, we went into Boston to visit the Boston Stock Exchange Building. I walked around the building, staring at the stock tickers and graphs flashing every kind of neon color. I got to experience first hand how everything works. How to buy stocks, when to buy stocks, and how to know what stocks to invest in. I learned more in 15 minutes from my experience in this building then I had in the past 2 months of sitting in the cold steel desks in my economics classroom. Not only did I learn more, but I had more fun in the process.

I believe experiences surpass classroom studies. Throughout all of our day to day lives, we all sit inside for six hours a day, 5 days a week. To me this is not healthy, or educational. Kids shouldn’t be stuck in a classroom all day; we should be experiencing what we wish to learn. When I look back at the past 18 years of my life I notice that the majority of my time has been spent in a classroom inside the same old buildings, and I find that too repetitious and unfulfilling. I am grateful, and know I’m receiving a good education; I just wish I had learned more firsthand how everything works instead of trying to interpret the diagram I copied from the whiteboard in class. You could spend years trying to learn about anything, but you’ll never truly know how it was to experience, to see, and finally witness that certain style of architecture, the battlegrounds of that war, or anything you hoped to see. Just by being in the place you’ve always been eager to learn about, you have already gained more knowledge.

Even though you and I are all gaining more knowledge everyday in classrooms, I can’t help but ask myself how useful the information I just memorized would serve me later in life. Instead of learning about topics that probably won’t relate to the career I chose, being able to go, see and participate in the activities I have has opened and narrowed the search of what I want to do in life. No class could ever give me the goals I have in life today. I find it best to learn by doing, not by sitting and studying. Life’s best lessons are learned through experiencing and finding your passions. Not all of the experiences I’ve had in life have been fun, but they were all worthwhile.