November 13, 2018

From Independent Thoughts: Education is the passport to the future

Minister Malcolm X made a strong case about education being the “passport” to the future. He claimed those who took advantage of their opportunity were going to be the ones that made the biggest differences in the world. Putting the assorted context aside, this statement is rich with hope and wisdom. I believe this philosophy to be true, and a growing number of others are beginning to follow.

Looking back at my high school years, I am proud of where I am right now. In the past, I took knowledge for granted. I did very well, but could have done better. Knowing what I know, now, I wish I could simply go back and “change” a few things. That, however, would also change the future. I might not be the person I currently am, if that option was available.

I always enjoy talking to my fellow students about how education plays a vital role in our everyday lives. Many of them told me how they changed their outlook on education since they started college, which is exactly what I did.

It is well documented that I take perfectionism to the extreme. I normally freak out at the prospect of making even the simplest mistake. Contrary to popular belief, remembering my past, I was fairly mistake-prone. With that being said, however, some mistakes lead to valuable lessons learned. Those speed bumps and potholes prepared me for the long run. I suppose I am a better person because of it.

An institution like Webster University does an incredible job at reaching deep in the hearts of its enrollees and pulling that passion out of them. For my sake, Webster picked up right where St. Louis Community College left off. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful faculty of both settings, who helped me morph into the individual who penned this story.

Obtaining an education is not solely bound to the confines of an academic setting, however. As Minister Malcolm’s statement about education resonates with millions of people, he was one of those individuals who did not have the opportunity to achieve higher knowledge at an institution. That did not stop him from learning on his own and becoming an intellectual in his own right. People can develop knowledge by doing just about anything.

Had I not been afforded the wonderful opportunity to pursue higher education in this capacity, I must admit, probably nothing would be different other than the degrees, diplomas and certificates. I would still pursue my education and deeper knowledge on my own. My high school academic record was good enough to afford me this opportunity of a lifetime, but those past mistakes were destined to stay behind me once and for all.

There is no reason for me to talk about this, other than to express my sheer gratitude toward the men and women who helped me get to this point. Of course, those who paved the way before me shall never be forgotten. Their contributions will last forever.

To professors and students alike, thank you for making my life worth living once again. Thank you for sharing your lives with me, for engaging with me and for believing in me. Thank you, St. Louis Community College and Webster University, for taking a chance on someone like me.

Most importantly, thank you for continuing to fight for education. Knowledge is power and education is inspiration. Wisdom will lead us all to the grand station, of a diverse yet united community of human beings.

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