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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Education.

*Boring post ahead. Stay tuned for a disturbing SURPRISE. Brought to you by Acifex, which sounds like a-*

My brother is learning how to write. He's left-handed, which is pretty nifty. So begins his journey which will hopefully continue for the next 20 years. No, hopefully it will go on longer than that. I wish he will never stop learning. I wish the same for all of my friends and family members. We don't think about this as often as we should. We take our education for granted, and that leads to laziness, which inevitably leads us to a life in which we can never reach true satisfaction.

Why do I value education so much? The answer is in my parents. My mother never completed college. She wants to go back and finish it, because she knows there is more out there. My father flunked 11th grade, yet he did continue on to get a degree, and is still interested in getting a Masters. They know what life is like with no regard for education. They made sure I knew it, too. Countless stories, half-listened to by my sister and I, instilled a love of learning. And when I get older, I hope to spread this to my kids.

Now that my brother is finally willing to read and write, the whole family is ecstatic. He started pretty late. He is not slow. And whenever I refer to someone as being slow, I mean it in a nonsensical sense. The reason behind it also ties in with this post. My uncle is slow. He is mentally retarded, and his education was never taken to the next level because so many people doubted him. Not just that, but our family simply doesn't have the money to do what we should have. I take the word "retard" seriously. A few weeks ago, my mother was beginning to worry that my brother was on the same path of missed opportunities.

My uncle is not a failure. My brother is not one either. Both are capable of doing whatever the hell they want to do, even if society says otherwise. Guys… he's writing now. It just makes me so happy. He is using the same type of books my uncle used at the age of 15. It's hard to type this… and some people may not "get" it, since they are not faced with it. I just ask for simple understanding.

It is only this year that I figured this out. It may not be completely correct, but here goes. The key to basic success is absorption and processing of information, memorization and repetition until familiarity is reached, and application to real-world situations when it is called for. The key to being intelligent is knowing when to publicize your education and when to hold back. I wrote this down after thinking about why education is so important. It grew from a few words to a pleasant semi-paragraph. For me, this is motivation. I've had this on my desktop for a while.

It saddens me to see how people are wasting their education. I understand that we like to check emails in class, and watch videos and Stumble. Hell, I did it. But it changed after that 43 on a chemistry midterm this year. A 43. That's worse than just failing. It showed my teacher that I really hadn't paid attention in class, and I didn't care. What's worse, it is an honors class, where all students are expected to do their best. That 43 was not my best. From then on, I made damn sure to pay attention in every class.

Once I cut down how much time I spent on email and other crap, I realized how… dare I say, fun learning became. I enjoyed being able to comprehend things in class, as opposed to ignoring it, then attempting to get the information from a book later on. I set a new standard for myself in terms of information retention.

Teachers became people to me. I actually saw them as more than robots spewing boring words. I looked them in the eyes and actually listened. It made sense. Funny how it took years to get it "right." Funny how I'm still getting it wrong occasionally. This new mindset doesn't stay within school walls. I need to adopt it at home.

That means less Facebook and Reddit. I do not joke when I say I hate Facebook. It's a waste of time. And it's all my fault for not being able to pull away. Hours go by, with no notifications, and pages of people I have never seen have been stalked. At the expense of my grades. I want to stop. I've tried. I've installed add-ons that automatically shut you out of Facebook after 30 minutes, but getting back on it is dependent on one little check box. Fuck that check box.

I always find myself saying this near the end of every year. I wish I would have tried harder. I wish I would have paid attention at the very beginning. I wish I would have done my homework and I wish I would have studied instead of wasting time. "There's always next year," yeah, but that's Junior year. That's the year that counts.

Once a student has been labeled "smart," their own standards start to lower. They don't study as much, because they think they don't need to. They don't even develop study habits. They become lazy and place all of their faith on those few congratulatory documents they received that praise their minor accomplishments. And once they get to high school, where things become hard, and you actually have to TRY, they fall behind. And now it's a struggle to get back up.

Essentially, it doesn't matter how "gifted" you are, it's how much you work. And again, it's not so much mow MUCH you work, it's how efficiently you work.

I want to get into Rice. That's my dream. I've had people put it down. I've had people question my desire to go there. I've had one person tell me that they don't like it, and they think I shouldn't either. That's too bad. I can't pinpoint why I like it so much. The fact that it's in my city, or the small urban feel to it. That fact that it's a challenge to get into. Or that my father has bought an abundance of t-shirts from their campus store. I've just loved it. That feeling you get where you just know that you'll fit. I didn't even feel that when I came into my current school. I'm stressed because the acceptance rate is around 21%. This thing is going around saying they only accepted 25 students from the area one year. SAT scores must be perfect, you must be at the top of your class, and you must have stellar EC's. Workin' on it, and so far… it's… not… 

I have this feeling that I would not make it if I applied. Yet, I know I am going to apply because if I didn't, the sliiiiight possibility of making it would haunt me for years. If I don't make it, yes, I would weep. I'd be mad at myself for being stupid during my Sophomore year. I'd be pretty pissed at the Admissions Office for not wanting me. If I did make it, I would weep, too. Like, that feeling that comes with getting something you've wanted for so long.

Education, along with love, is one of the most important things to me. I'll defend my right to receive one, as well as the rights of any one who is denied one, such as my uncle. I'll do all I can to educate my brother. Yes, I get fed up, but I want him to love it as much as I do.


Weh.



2 comments:

  1. I think it's awesome (and adorable) that Matthew is learning how to read. I completely agree that education is mostly taken for granted. Think about how much of your life requires you to just be able to read an write. There are people in the world who can't do that. And I'm really grateful that I learned. I really want to be a teacher because of the impact that education makes on peoples lives. It shapes every aspect of you. Not just what you learn, but how you're treated in school, what your teachers are like. How you were treated if you got in trouble. That shapes your entire life.
    Also, I think it's really depressing how many people don't understand the extent of the education problem. I think most people believe it's in 3rd world countries, and that most people in America get a good education, they know everything they need to know. But I know kids our age, who can barely read because A. they weren't interested in learning so they never tried, B. They weren't as good at it and the class went to fast and they never quite picked it up, C. Their parents told them they didn't need too learn so they never did, or D. They were MR and nobody caught it. I legitimately know a girl, whose mother told her that reading was "for those Yankee fuckers" and that she didn't need to know how to do it. And now she's had to repeat 9th grade because she couldn't read well enough to pass some of her classes. And the school doesn't realize that's the problem. They think she just doesn't try. She's slipped through the cracks, and she might never recover. The school told her mother that she might need tutoring, and that it'd be much easier for her to pass highschool if she had some extra help, but her mother doesn't "believe" in tutoring. And I just find it really depressing.
    I'm one of those people who tries to learn something new everyday. I read wikipedia, and I got a PDF of my brothers calculus book on my computer so that when I want to I can try to learn it. I do javabat so I can get better at computer science. I do Rosetta Stone to try and learn more languages. It's my goal in life to speak multiple languages and be one of the few girls in the computer science field.
    But I also kind of hate myself because I'm one of *those* people. The ones who is smart, but doesn't try. I want to try, I just don't know how. I'm going to use my older brother as an example because we're pretty much the same person anyways. So Alexander went to school with this boy, lets call him Carlos, in Elementary and High School. Carlos wasn't super smart, but he always worked hard at everything he did. He did boy scouts from 1st grade through high school. He played baseball and football. He worked hard and made good grades, even though he wasn't as smart as some of the people in his classes. Then there's my brother. He did boy scouts from 1st through 5th grade. From 4th through 8th grade he did Houston boys choir. From 1st through 10th grade he took piano lessons. He did soccer from when he was little till sophomore year. He did cross country when he was a freshman. He did trio. But his grades weren't that good because he didn't study, because he never needed to until sophomore year. And by then he didn't know how to study. So Carlos got into the 'better' college. I'm also sure I left out some of Carlos' extra curriculars cause I'm not that much of a creepy stalker.
    But I hate myself because I waste my education. My parents threatened to take me out of Agnes because I wasn't using it and they were paying all that money and I was indignant at first. But then I realized that all of my fucking off in class and stuff, I really was wasting it. So I tried to get better. I would turn off my internet during class. I would turn it off when I got home. I actually used the open lab we were given in PE. And I managed to pull my grades up enough that I made honors.
    (continued... super long comment)

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  2. I have a dream school too, I think everybody does. I haven't let anybody know mine though, because I don't want anybody to tell me I can't do it. Because deep down I know I can't. It's Ivy League for God's sake. But I have legacy there. I really which I were a good enough student to get in. But I know I can't. So I keep it a secret. I go online and read there little student newspaper, and then I clear my internet history and cry. I just wish I were one of those people that could do it. I hate crying because I should be using that energy towards trying to tip the odds in my favor but it's just so hopeless.
    Education is the main reason I hate this country. And I mean that. I hate America. I hate that they're doing budget cuts for education when it's already worse than so many nations. We need to improve. I cry sometimes because I wasn't educated in Europe. I have friends in London that are already Trilingual. They're our age, and they speak 3 languages. And they're learning more. My next door neighbors moved here from Germany. They have a little girl, she's not even 3 yet. She's bilingual because of English and German. And her parents are going to start her in French classes soon. I can't even speak Spanish properly.

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