Don’t Let School Take You out of the Real World

Photo Courtesy of AP Images

Tenth grade students take a chemistry test while in class at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ill.

Mr. Bob McCreary, NPHS Social Studies Teacher

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Just over one marking period is in the history books (and on transcripts!) and students are now fully entrenched in another school year.  Seniors are a few months away from graduation and many will continue their education beyond high school in some fashion. 

I came across a good quote the other day.

        “You can get knowledge in school but only life can provide an education.”

The point the quote makes is that learning facts, dates, names, theories, etc. only goes so far.  To get an “education,” you have to experience life.  You cannot do that by just reading a book.  It requires much more action, application, and participation than that.

When you analyze the high achievers in our society – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, etc. – you will notice that they all have/had the combination of knowledge and that thing referred to as “it.”   You hear this in comments like “That guy gets it or “That girl has it.”    The question becomes “What does ‘it’ refer to?”

“It’ can mean common sense.  “It” can mean a person’s work ethic.  “It” can also mean a person’s drive to succeed, their ability to connect with other people, their ability to handle adversity and get back up again, the ability to keep moving forward, to notice things other people miss, and much, much more.  Of course, there is no course called “common sense” or “work ethic 101.”  That is because these things are learned through experience and not through a textbook.

The successful are not always the smartest people.  They are, however, people that tend to pay attention to the world around them.  They listen to the needs of people and notice trends and patterns in society.  Their talents lie in their ability to take whatever knowledge they have and apply it to their surroundings.

This is not to say that getting more knowledge has no value.  The point is, acquiring knowledge and understanding the world does not have to be an “either or” kind of thing.  In fact, it is to everyone’s advantage to do both at the same time.  If people wait until after college to start paying attention to the world, they will find that the people who have been paying attention along the way will have already blown past them.

As Ferris Bueller said …

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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