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The Dog Days of Education

Updated on September 18, 2013

Student Voice


Taking Charge of Your Education

As I sit here studying for yet another meaningless Geology test, I grow impatient and uneasy with the simple question, "When will all of this have meaning?” It's an impossible question to answer, one that without a crystal ball can never be predicted. For me, I see the literal meaning in everything; perhaps this is the reason why I struggled in English back in high school. I failed to see that the protagonist’s shirt is blue to symbolize sadness. In my eyes, he is just wearing a blue shirt. Some may call it short sightedness but I call it realism. This realism allows me to look at situations for what they truly are, without the ridiculous undertones that can throw people off. They say college is a chance for you to receive a great education, one that prepares you for the world of employment, but I challenge that statement.

When I arrived at the University of Georgia, I was an elated, curious and more than anything, eager young man looking to gain a superb education allowing me to finally embark on the journey of the rest of my life. Several months into school, I finally found what I believe to be my calling in life. Now as I am only a sophomore in the middle of the fall semester, the beginning of that journey seems to be so far away yet again. These classes I take, all seem to just be here for me to put a Bachelors Degree on my resumé. In today's job market, even the one I am hopefully going into, having a college degree can make a huge difference. College has almost merely become just a prerequisite for employment and not a means to gain a higher education. So often we are just asked to retain and regurgitate. An education model in which I fear, will lead to a workforce unable to problem solve, and create for itself due to the lack of ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking. After all, if knowledge truly is power, how powerful can we be if we only memorize facts and forget them right after the test? Thus changing my view of why I am actually here. I want to make a difference in the world like everyone else, but how can I do that by sitting in a big lecture hall? The expected answer is, "In due time you will". I said earlier I was impatient. I don't believe I should have to wait to make a difference, and I don't mean just joining a charity or some club that could care lass whether you are in it or not. Life should have purpose and meaning. In my eyes, how much meaning is there being a part of a group, students, that are replaceable, overlooked, and misrepresented all across this country? How can we fix this?

All actively involved students know that the system is not made to help us, yet to make as much money as possible. Sure these institutions can say what they want about education and its goal to create smart, capable workers for tomorrow's world, but we all know the endgame. It's all to make money. Is an education really worth a quarter-of-a-million dollars? The millionaire lawyer will say yes, while the struggling sales associate swamped in debt (primarily student loans) will say no. How can we change this? How can all students finally get the education we actually pay for? Active student leadership and progressive movements are a big way how.

We are the most unrepresented and misrepresented group of people in this entire country. We are constantly told what is best for us, what formula works for us, and most importantly the right way to get from where we are, to where we want to go. Nothing ever got done by sticking to the status quo, and accepting things for the way they are. We don't have to be silent anymore. There are several student run organizations that give us the voice we've been so desperately looking for. One particular group, Student Voice, an organization I take part in, is a great group that sets to accomplish everything I have talked about in the text above. Its mission statement is "Activating the student voice through building community and opportunity." Its vision statement is "A future where all students have an influential voice in the decisions that impact their lives." It's the vision statement that really should motivate every student to take part in this. What person wants their fate in the hands of others? While no singular person can control everything in his or her own life, education should be one of the things we can control. There is nothing more powerful than a large group of unified people all fighting for the same cause with one voice. According the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 77 million students right now. Imagine how powerful even 25% of those students could be if unified under a singular cause.

So, I encourage you to take charge in your own life. Don't let circumstance and status quo define your future and your education. Just because I want to be in the FBI after college, shouldn't mean, that my inability to properly memorize hours of information of the formation of rocks, is the reason I wont be. Don't let a tough class, whether it be meaningful for your career or not, hinder you from your final goal. We all have dreams and aspirations, and college is supposed to help those dreams come true or at least guide us on the path there. For those of us who don't want to be lawyers, doctors or accountants, a big lecture with the same lessons taught for the last 40 years just wont cut it. For those of us who want to be in marketing, advertising, broadcasting, fashion, journalism, or even law enforcement like myself, a generic education model just wont cut it.

Stay informed, be active, and most Importantly take advantage of the life and opportunity you have now, because I fear just doing what is expected of us, is not the answer to our future.

Jim Rohn, a man who lives the rags to riches story, one said, "You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of."

Thank You for Reading and Take Charge,

Gabe Diamond


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