I am both blessed and thankful for all of the opportunities my education has and will continue to afford me. Thus, seeing and hearing people bash education or say it isn’t necessary, makes my stomach turn. As an educator, I realize that school is not for everyone. Heck, my own brother is one of the most well spoken people you’ll ever meet and he only spent two years in higher education before deciding to stop out. However, I also appreciate that deciding to stick it out sets you apart from the masses.
One simply cannot brag about not being educated, then speak or write in a way that says it without requiring their bragging. In other words, those among you who are educated can tell you are not educated by the way you both speak and write. Now, I do have to admit, that there are some folks that graduated from college and still speak like they attended Backwoods University. Thankfully, that is only a small number of people. Frankly, all that means to me is that you were not completely invested in your time spent at college. Also never forget that self-education is where true knowledge lies.
Elise, why on earth are you talking about this? Long story short, I extended a good acquaintance my writing/editing skills whose blog could use the help. He makes it a point to say that he got a full ride to a university, made Dean’s list, but then stopped out. Now, he’s been successful since leaving, even starting his own business. However, if my boss could not construct a coherent email and did not know how to use the right your/you’re, I’m not going to take you too seriously.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh, E! You only care because you were an English Literature major in undergrad and grew up with an English teacher in your house.” While all of that is true, I’m not the only one who still cares about grammar. A professor at my job just asked me if we had someone in our office who could help one of her students work on his basic writing skills because an email he wrote to her was subpar. Even punctuation and grammar still matter in little things like emails.
Just this morning I stumbled upon a blog post by CNN anchor, Fareed Zakaria. He was asked to be the keynote commencement speaker at Sarah Lawrence in New York. He wrote about the power of a liberal arts education, realizing very quickly that anyone can memorize and regurgitate stuff they’ve memorized, but expressing his own ideas was altogether different. “Whether you’re a novelist, a businessman, a marketing consultant or historian, writing forces you to make choices and it bring clarity and order to your ideas,” says Fareed. See my point? I’m not the only one who thinks this matters.
Let me be clear. In no way am I saying that everyone should be like Maya Angelou when it comes to writing; no one can be like her because that was God given talent. Nor am I saying that I am the bees-knees when it comes to writing/editing. What I am saying is that having the ability to write (and speak), sets you a part from a whole lot of people. Like Fareed Zakaria said, Whatever you do in life, the ability to write clearly, cleanly and, I would add, quickly, will prove to be an invaluable skill. I could not have said it better myself.
This piece is dedicated to Maya Angelou. I find it uncanny that I would need towrite something off of my chest the day of her death. She has inspired myself and so many other to tell his or her story. May she rest in power.
I was part of SGA during my senior year of college. To this day, I am upset at myself for not seeking out the opportunity to be part of it until then (I’ll save that story for another day). That spring, myself and three other colleagues were asked to visit our state’s capital and advocate on behalf of Slippery Rock University. We were asked to meet with state representatives, which at first, was a pretty intimidating thought. Our task was to learn some important and impressive stats, but also share our experience about the university. Then, we were to meet with our state representatives and discuss why they should advocate for school funding.
I knew it was a fantastic opportunity, but did not know how I was going to benefit from and incorporate this experience into my future work. The immediate benefit was more confidence. After a few conversations, I became a little more confident and comfortable about that which I was speaking. I realized the state representatives are in those positions because they care what the people have to say. I ended up having so much fun! When I was asked to go a second year, I jumped at the chance.
Now that I am into my first academic advising job, I am the main advisor for the men and women’s basketball team. One of the facets of the position is to meet with recruits and speak to how they would benefit from the university both personally and academically. Boom! The long-term benefit has surfaced. I am essentially doing the same thing that my university at one time was asking me to do: brag about how cool it is be part of the university and what makes it ones of the best to attend.The point I want to drive home is that every experience you have, has a benefit whether you realize it or not. Maybe like me, you’ll see an immediate benefit and years later see the long-term benefit. Every new experience allows you to hone skills you may need later down the road. Never deny yourself a window of opportunity.