Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Life’s Expanses

I’m a graduate! My time at the University of Calgary, which has encompassed my studying at National Taiwan Normal University and Beijing Language and Culture University, has come to an end in a ceremonious fashion. Even though I’ll not be attending my official convocation due to life’s next big step which is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vancouver BC, official it feels nonetheless. 

The jolt of adrenaline that ran through my veins when I read that my application for graduation had been approved is hard to describe; it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Now I’ve never feigned to put education on a pedal stool, as a means to bolster my status or worth as a person, but the reason it resonates so much within me is because it’s recognition that you CAN accomplish what you set out to do.

The real prize I believe is not in the attainment of the goal but the striving for, and success in reaching that achievement. I’m not one to arbitrarily romanticize so bear with me when I use the adage 'goals are just dreams with a plan and a deadline'. 

In this sense I am a dreamer. 
In this sense I have high hopes and idealistic views.  

There were two things when I started University that I endeavored to keep; my faith in God and my faith in humanity. They're mutually reinforcing in my mind and I was quite aware that education would try to knock the one down, and life would knock the other out, if I didn’t make them a priority. It’s been a struggle but I’m glad to say that I’m not jaded. I still believe in doing good and that we each have potential for remarkable things.

The best lesson I’ve learned from my Father is to enjoy working. University was my "job" so I had to work hard. Whenever I got tired of the repetition or paper citations I just remembered what I had to be grateful for. Once the laptop was shut, there was always food nearby and a house to return to. Whether that food was sticky rice and dumplings or steak and potatoes it really didn’t matter. If the house I returned to was a basement suit or a dormitory falling apart at the hinges it was still a place to call my own and for that I was happy.

Education as a right is a privilege of my generation. 

It’s akin to a physical pain when I’ m around those who treat school lightly, especially if they’re gifted. I have my own qualms about higher education but if you’re in the race then do your best. Just yesterday I had lunch with an elderly couple born in 1939, raised in Alberta. Neither had the chance to go to college and for the one, an eighth grade education was the highest they ever attained. Life is satisfying to them but the question remains what might have been if they were given the opportunity to pursue a vocation they had an interest in? The answer is we don’t know, and for countries with a burgeoning young population there are thousands of boys and girls who will never find out due to civil unrest and lack of access. This can then quite easily lead to disillusionment and even more violence.

If we feel that education is an important tool for social development then we first must use it in our own lives. Learning doesn't only develop our intellect but is proven to assist in day to day life, take for example the correlation between female education and reduced infant mortality. Knowledge doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding but it’s the gateway to it, and it's understanding ultimately that equates to a change in behavior.   

2 comments:

  1. Congrats!

    I've been thinking about you lately, mostly wondering when you're headed out on your mission and where I can write you. Send me a text or email before you go.

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  2. I'll email you and probably post it too. Thanks for the thought, I leave June 9th!

    ReplyDelete