I love going to school. I love going to lectures, study sessions, even writing essays. I love spending my nights learning something new from a book, listening to a wise teacher relay his or her knowledge to me, and having discussions with other students in a class.
Although I’ve been an aspiring “academic” for the better part of the last decade, here in Johannesburg I’m starting to learn more and more about how necessary education can be. Many of the initiatives we take at JRS are education focused, with classes, vocational training, and even higher education degrees being offered to people on the margins. I’m finding that even a simple education is often a luxury many take for granted, but is by birth the right of every individual.
There are many people I’ve met who think of education only in terms of what it can do them. I hear people say, “I want to go to College so I can get a high-paying job,” or “getting a Master’s degree will give me a better salary, so I need to get a Master’s degree.” People seem to think of education as only valuable if it can make an individual useful, the same way a bucket is filled with water to be used elsewhere.
In reality though, education is more like rubbing two sticks together over a bed of other sticks. Education is a fire, not water, and while lighting a fire is often frustrating and difficult, with each new stick the rubbing becomes a fire. Education can ignite passion in individuals. Education can ignite understanding, discovery, and new ideas. Education can introduce a person to a wide world of knowledge and understanding. Education can fuel growth.
I love education so much that even being away from school for a few short months is starting to douse the fire inside of me. A fire that is thrilled by learning new things and spending endless nights immersed in study. A fire that is fueled by having discussions and listening to teachers communicate their knowledge. A fire that that is fueled by discovery.