UNITED STATES—We have all heard the phrase that education is a powerful thing. Not just for the knowledge that one absorbs, but because of the experiences that come with it. As we age, we tend to reflect back on those times in our lives where the educational impact becomes a game changer that is everlasting.
Many people I know reflect on grade school, middle school and high school, but for me things always date back to college. Not really sure why, perhaps the fact that I had unlimited freedom, the idea of an adult telling you what you can or cannot do was no longer evident. Perhaps, it could be the fact that college is an experience unlike any other. I mean I can vividly recall experiences in EVERY single class I ever took, even the ones that I despised the most.
Of course, I have a great fondness for those university electives I was forced to take, but the educational impact lasted eons when I begin to divulge into my major. It was almost as if those classes that I had been vying to take since a freshman and sophomore were eagerly approaching. Nerves were hitting me, but at the same time, I was also excited.
For starters, being an English and Psychology major delivered course loads that were quite heavy on multiple fronts. Every single co-ed and friend that I knew would balk at the idea of taking an essay exam or having to write a paper for mid-terms whereas I relished in the fact. To be honest they all enjoyed multiple choice exams, while I had a hatred for them.
With a multiple choice test, the answer was either right or wrong, there is no in-between. However, when you’re writing a paper or essay you can to some degree BS around the answer. You may not get full-credit but you’ll get some points. I remember the statistics course I had to take as a requirement for my psychology degree. All psych majors were warned it would be one of the most difficult course you’d take your entire undergraduate career. I didn’t have a book for the course, I couldn’t afford it, and so I utilized course material and online material to help muster the entire semester.
My first exam I did fairly well, second not so much, so for the final exam, I knew I needed a near perfect score to heighten getting a grade that would help boost my GPA. I studied for like hours to master the material and before you know it, come test time I panicked. I froze up; all those formulas that I thought I had mastered completely disappeared from my mindset. I was a nervous wreck. I had to take a moment and just think. With that all the formulas came flooding back to me. When I turned in my exam I felt like a complete idiot, why? All the formulas were written on the back sheet of the exam, which I never even took a look at.
When it comes to my endeavors in the Shakespearean era, it had to be my first semester of my senior year. I was taking a total of 5 English courses, in addition to a science lab. Everyone who knew me thought I was completely bonkers. Little did they know, it was never my intention to take such a workload, the powers that be ensured that if I had taken those courses when I did, the notion of graduating on time would have taken me another year or two, and I was not going to allow that to happen.
With only 2 weeks before the semester concluded I realized I had a total of 10 papers to complete. A paper for each English course, a lab report and then I had papers due a week later for my mid-term. Yeah can you imagine writing 5-6 7-page papers in a week’s span? It was absolute madness, but I decided to give myself a head start and work during the Thanksgiving holiday. Was it something I wanted to do, absolutely not, but it was either do or be damned.
The irony in the entire situation is while pressured more than I imagined, I produced some of my best work. Nothing worried me more when you get that paper back and you fear a horrid grade, to make matters worse, I always clammed up when the teacher whispered to me, but behold it was a whisper to congratulate excellent work. I mean to nail a 4.0 (that was the numerical grade scale at my university) the paper had to be near perfection. That is a feeling that I’ll never forget.
I think I’ve come to realize as an adult that my education showed me that against all odds I could defy things, even when I suspected that I might not be capable of doing so. The purpose of this piece is to get people to embrace the power of education; as much as it may pain you to say it, learning is a lot more fun than you think.