Is education giving us what we need?

As Socrates wisely explained to us over two and a half millennia ago, true education lies within questioning, no matter the question and no matter how many times you ask it until you find a satisfying answer. So let us use this method now and question the aspects of modern education.

Are we, as students, getting a real education? Now you are probably wondering what exactly I mean by this. What I mean by a ‘real’ education is an education in which you can effectively evaluate what you have learned and apply it to the everyday experiences of your life. I guess it all depends, really. There are, of course, always some classes that really expand your mind and enlighten you to new ideas. And then there are those classes where, no matter how hard you work and no matter how well you do, you obtain no substantial form of enlightenment, and end up feeling like the class was nothing but a waste of time. At least you have the credit for it, right?

Now, I personally thought high school education was somewhat distasteful. Having back-to-back classes from early in the morning and into the afternoon, with nine classes a day, every class was tiring and uneventful, because teachers had to rush through their material without helping students think abstractly. Instead, we memorize terms and concepts for the mere purpose of doing well on a state test or a final exam. Now, is that what education is all about these days? Is it a memorization of terms to simply pass a test? That’s basically what high school felt like; a matching game of basic information. It destroys the concepts of thinking outside the box and removes the thought behind the terms.

Does college differ at all from this? In many ways, it does. In other ways, it follows the same tired-out methods. Let’s start with general education. General education classes really do well putting a scholar in a bitter mood. Now, as I was told during my freshman orientation last year, "think of general education as a buffet. Take a sample of each subject and if you don’t like it, politely spit it out," there was only one thing going through my mind: what a joke. I thought I was done with high school, so why more required general classes that I have no interest for? Now, I entered college knowing what subject areas I wanted to study, and none of the classes I was required to take for general education did much to stimulate my thinking or spark an interest; that is to say, I politely spit them out, yet now it seems I’m showing you the spit (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The classes I was interested in taking, however, opened my mind into new realms of thinking, leaving me after every class with that warm fuzzy feeling of learning something I could expand on and apply. My sixth grade teacher once said, "To truly learn something takes desire. Once you have the desire, you can tackle the learning curve." And desire is our fuel to everything, is it not? Desire is not artificial and cannot be shoved down the students’ throats.