The latest Writing 101 assignment is to take inspiration from social media, namely, Twitter. Find an interesting quote and craft a response to it, or write about the feelings/thoughts that tweet generates. As a starting point, we were given five tweets to choose from. As a non-Twitterer (Tweeter? Twithead? I don’t know the nomenclature), I thought it best to pick from these five rather than trawling Twitter for tweets (alliteration!).
Here is my chosen quote:
So why did I choose this quote? Because it really speaks to where I am right now in life, generally speaking. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
We tend to cling to this idea of ‘education’ as a measure of a person’s intelligence. People with advanced degrees and those who’ve graduated from Ivy League colleges are placed on a special pedestal. Sometimes we revere them for their knowledge, sometimes we sneer at them for daring to be better than us, but the underlying theme is the same. An educated man is a better man. Or is he?
I was a major bookworm as a kid. Knowledge is power, or so I believed. The more I read, the more I learned, the better a person I would be. Graduating high school, going to college and earning a good degree. That’s what life was all about. Once I had that degree in hand, I would be a better, smarter me. And yet, when I earned that Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in my mid-20’s, I didn’t feel any smarter. I didn’t feel like I had it all figured out. Or anything figured out, really.
None of my jobs have had anything to do with my degree, and in fact, my present job is all about my passion for writing and the furthest thing from being an engineer. There was a time when I would proudly announce my status as an engineering graduate. Actually no. I would announce myself as an engineer. But I knew the truth. While I had a degree in the field, I never found myself to be as knowledgeable about engineering as I would have expected after earning said degree. Over time, what I may have known has been eroded, so now I’m not really an engineer at all. I feel like I might have wound up where I am in spite of my education, so what did it really get me? The prestige of having an engineering degree?
Now, I don’t think my education was completely wasted. There is a certain approach to problem-solving, a certain approach to life that you learn as an engineer. That core is still very much intact and guides my own approach to life. But the most important lessons I’ve learned have been through personal experience and interaction with others, not through any formal education system.
With my 30’s still in their infancy, I’m trying to understand my place as an ‘adult’. Reflecting on my education and the privileges it should afford me is a part of that. As I see it, my formal education has taught me numbers and formulas and concepts. But my truest education has come from my experience in life and the people I’ve encountered along the way.