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EducationSocial Issues

Pieces of Advice

Education is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me, but not without some complications. There have been times when the things I was learning in school seemed too distant from reality to be practical. There have been times when I forgot why I went to school each day in the first place. At one point I began to realize that this thing called education that I knew and trusted may not be perfect after all, and I was right, to a certain extent. The education system changes with time, and there are many aspects of the elementary and high school curriculum that I still believe have not changed fast enough. However, what I have come to realize is that education is less of a mandatory series of events, and more of a resource. It is up to the student to determine how much of this resource they use.

I only wish that I had known this sooner, perhaps when I was a slightly pessimistic kid still in grade school. This was a kid who didn’t like things he didn’t understand. Didn’t like to venture out of his comfort zone. Didn’t like to talk to people unless he knew them. My favourite class was art because reproducing images from my imagination on paper was within my comfort zone. Mathematics, on the other, I loathed, because thinking with numbers and quantities was not intuitive to me. The negative results I originally received in mathematics only fueled by dislike for the course. I took criticism as a personal insult. Even in the fourth grade, when I began to be interested biology, my curiosities were suppressed by my negative attitude. Art remained the only the class that I felt I belonged in. I’ve changed a lot since then, but in the hypothetical case that this younger version of myself came walking towards me on the same side of the sidewalk, there are a few pieces of advice that I think he might be able to use. 

Pieces of Advice

  1. Teachers are merely people that transfer ideas. Love something for what it is, not for the person that presents it to you.

  2. Art is good, but it is not everything. Find the realms that exist between biology and philosophy, law and literature, psychology and modern art. 

  3. Remember when you thought cursive writing would be useful? 

  4. Remember when you thought those typing classes were irrelevant and ridiculous, so you decided not go to them? 

  5. Learn to program. Computer technology is changing the world so don’t pretend that you can continue to live without changing along with it.

  6. Oh I see you’ve made a mistake. Good. Remember that you’ve made it. Learn from it.

  7. Your teachers are trying their best to do one of the most difficult tasks presented to humankind — to teach the unwilling. Treat them with respect and they will respect you.

  8. You may not like it, but math is in everything. Learn to love it. 

  9. Long division got you down? Don’t worry. You will never, ever, ever need to use it. I can promise you that.

  10. Nerd. New definition: someone who has the capacity to be passionate about something.

  11. Words are not scary — they are just tools that allow your voice to be heard.

  12.  In school there will be all types of people. Make friends with the ones who inspire you, not necessarily the ones who you are comfortable with. 

  13. Attitude is everything. Great attitude will yield great results. Poor attitude will yield nothing. 

  14. Education is an imperfect system, but a necessary one. Take what you can from it and persist.

Author

Pieces of Advice
Ross is a graduate student at Ryerson University studying urban planning.