Education is simply defined by Mariam-Webster as “the knowledge, skill, and understanding that you get from attending a school, college, or university”. However, the very concept of education is not as simply seen or stated as it’s definition. Education is a beast, and taming it is often seen as a timely, expensive, and stressful affair. Some regard it as a key to a successful future, and some regard it as a nuisance. Unfortunately, there are many people who see it as the latter and are turned away from attaining higher knowledge, uttering the infamous “school isn’t for me”.
Now, it is true and proven that a formal education is not absolutely required to succeed in the world. In fact, many people find a successful solace in a particular skill they mold themselves, as well as various trades. Such people are among the best I have met throughout my life, and society itself would not be able to function without such roles filled. This post is directed towards those who are seemingly lost as to what they should do next. Those who want to pursue a higher education, but are turned off by the stresses and seemingly “unnecessary” workload that are associated with such a task. These same people have the same creeping fears that everybody has as life progresses: what will I be doing, where will I be, and will I be happy. There is no doubt that many people go to school simply because they fear whatever position they will end up in had they not. How we respond to these fears is up to us, but the simple truth is that at some point we will have to face them and answer the questions ourselves. There is no doubt that education is a key to a successful future when placed in the right hands, but what if those hands don’t accept the key?
Let’s imagine that at some point in the far future, you arrive home from a late night at work. relieved to be able to relax after a long day of hard work, the seventeenth straight. The car door creaks as you open it, before pulling yourself out and thudding it shut. Your body aches as you make your way to the front door, shielding your eyes from the downpour which hasn’t stopped since this morning. The ice-cold rain feels piercing, and you wish you would have brought your umbrella, but it slipped your mind as you shambled out of the house to your first job of the day after a mere four hours of sleep. You approach the door, and reach into the tattered box on the wall beside it, carrying the damp envelopes inside with you. You breach a wall of coldness that always greets you when you return home at this time of the year, and hazily make your way through the darkness. Your jacket is discarded on the table before you kick off your boots and slump back onto the couch, ignoring the distant, gnarled hunger you always seem to feel. You know you should eat, but you just can’t pull the energy to get back up. There probably isn’t food in the kitchen anyways, as you can’t recall whether or not you actually made it to a grocery store this week. However, the hunger can’t remotely overcome the sensation of laying back. The relief of just simply being able to enjoy a moment to yourself is overcoming. You begin to clear your head of the day’s stress, letting go of the disgruntled thoughts that you just may not have been compensated fairly for the time you are losing. You exhale as the ache from moving begins to fade away. You realize you are still clutching the handful of envelopes, and toss them to the small table beside you, already littered with similar letters.
“The remote is around here somewhere”, you think as you feel around the couch. You haven’t bothered to turn on any of the lights. The television flicks on as you look forward to unwinding, to forget the day and not think about tomorrow. The screen is blank, however, but you don’t seem to notice. Your eyes are fixated on the dim outline of the envelopes resting on the table. The relaxing haze that once fell over you is slowly replaced by a dull anxiety you often feel. An anxiety that convinces you that you are lost, and a realization that life may have just moved on at a pace faster than you’ve kept up with. You feel confused and lost in your goals, and ultimately, you do not feel happy. No time was spent relaxing that night, and yet, you still only managed a few meager hours of sleep.
Now I ask you, when compared to all alternatives, is education really that stressful?
-Zackary, student blogger