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Monday, May 27, 2013
Alma Mater: The Significance of Education
I recently graduated from Stony Brook University. Though I may be the minority, I speak candidly when I say that I have sincerely enjoyed nearly every minute of my time there. There have been trials and tribulations, but they are all part of the education I received. As a transfer, commuter, and working-class student, working an average of 30 hours per week, yet still managing to find time to volunteer at research labs and hospitals, I am blessed to feel so connected to the university. How is this possible? It's all about where you put your passion.
I think identifying with your studies is incredibly important for anyone seeking higher education, although the practice should be instilled as early on as possible. And I don't mean simply liking your studies for career purposes. Taking ownership of your studies, learning to instill a sense of connection to the education you are receiving, is important for securing happiness and positivity throughout your college (and school) career. It is also an important life lesson.
It's simple, really: We all take classes we don't want to; we all get stuck with that one course we absolutely dread. However, no matter how pointless and cumbersome the class may seem, you're guaranteed to learn something new and interesting. It is inevitable. And that very fact makes it not a waste of time. If you approach the class actively seeking to learn something you hadn't learned before, you will feel more engaged, more connected, and more interested in the subject. This goes with life, too: If you are stuck at a job you hate or in a situation are obligated to be in, either change it or make the best of it, and that's a matter of attitude. Make it matter. Make it worth it. Take pride in it and put your happiness into it instead of waiting for it to give it to you. In life, you have to make your own happiness.
I have met hardworking men and women who never finished high school with a larger intellect than some of the kids I've met in college. It's all about where you put your passion. Every experience is a learning experience and if you approach life with curiosity, with a sincere desire to learn, and to own your education, your life will be enriched. It's not about the diploma on the wall - its about the vibrancy you impart onto your life and the life of others. You are your education.