Random Observation/Comment #422: Schools are overrated. Education is essential, but learning comes from passion and interests that cannot be forced or taught.
Ever since I graduated, I have been unbelievably grateful for my diploma. It has kept doors open on many of my opportunities and it is that one thing my parents had completely right about my future when they kept pushing me to excel in school. It would have been nice if they took 5 minutes to explain the “Why” behind their strictness and unyielding emphasis on education. This is what they could have said:
Our economy is based on money and competition. The level of education you obtain determines the path at which you’ll influence the world in your decided industries. Education forces you into a career path at 3 important young moments:
1) your standardized test scores,
2) your university and decided major, and
3) your first job.
All of this is a way the economy judges your intelligence and usefulness in society by filtering out your accomplishments and bucketing you into groups. What is the value of your test scores, diploma, and work experience? It’s the normalized reputation that determines your value to society. After you get your first job, your parents can basically breathe easier and help you with the other things like marriage and children.
So why are those three things important? Without them, your opportunities become limited and you are more of a burden than an object of pride.
That might have been too harsh, but this is the reality our parents see for the younger generations based on their conclusions from the older immigrant life struggling with money and opportunities. In most cases, this view about capitalism and education are still extremely accurate. In my mind, I think we have the opportunity to disrupt the status quo, and this opportunity is rooted in an online education revolution. To the students of all ages:
- There is no cookie cut career path and it’s never too late to change to do something else. Most people don’t know what they’re doing and adding a few years doesn’t really change that much. You’ll find the same people wandering life cherishing each drunken night and everlasting memory.
- Never stop pursuing passions. No matter what it is, keep up-to-date with it and look for ways to make it into something sustainable.
- Know your goals and plan the path to reach them. Goal setting should be a class on its own. You need to be able to dream big and at least point yourself in the right direction. If you know what drives you and what makes you happy, then you should pursue it.
- Always review your influences and make sure they match your goals. People are social creatures. We rub off good and bad habits on each other and we use each other’s momentum and “rah rah” spirit to get things done. A unified community under an ideal has an unstoppable force.
- Be a leader. There are many types of leaders, but you should lead your own causes. If you really love table tennis then organize a table tennis event. If you love eating ramen, then put together a ramen night. If you love cooking, then host a pot luck at your apartment. Leading something means taking ownership of it and rallying a group of people to complete the unified mission statement. There are so many opportunities out there to do this.
- Take calculated risks. Never be afraid to take a leap of faith in something you believe in. Without these calculated risks, I guarantee you’ll miss a lot of great opportunities to test yourself and stretch your abilities.
- Never stop learning. There’s always something to learn. Smarter ever day.
If you’re not like me, who can Wikipedia link through articles for hours, try joining a few online courses and taking some lectures. The ones from coursera now link to your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few sites to get you started:
~See Lemons Leap and Learn