The distinction between school and education, though understated, should be clear and is relatively well-documented; it warrants some discussion all the same.
Education is the objective; it is the journey, while school is simply a route — but not the only route. The two go hand in hand; at the same time, they need not go hand in hand. Education happens everyday outside of school buildings. In fact, I posit the best type of learning occurs outside of the classroom.
If any of you have ever had the pleasure of taking your classroom talents overseas to study in a foreign country, you should know what I am talking about.
I spent my spring semester of 2014 in Madrid, Spain, and I quickly learned how vital an experience like that was towards both physical and cognitive growth. (Interestingly, I never wanted to go abroad, but circumstances far from my control that fall prompted me to book a first class flight out as soon as possible. And I’m very thankful for the decision).
My time in Spain was spent just taking everything in stride, staying wide-eyed and open to everything. All of my classes were in Spanish, so I had plenty of opportunity to improve. But in rank of significance, there aren’t words to explain just how unimportant class was. This is not to say that I didn’t attend my classes or do my work; but class was simply never going to be of paramount importance. And how could it? There was really nothing I was going to gain in Spanish classrooms that I couldn’t get from generally resource-rich American classrooms. At least nothing like the genuine conversations I would have with Spanish students and regular civilians on the street.
Classrooms have been stifling creativity for long time now, promoting standard lesson plans and teaching methods over innovative ones, ultimately encouraging conformism, and churning out students who are carbon copies of the ones who preceded them. There are exceptions here and there, but the exceptions are few and far between.
For a lot of people, there are few occasions where genuine learning is even possible in a classroom. This is why I so vigorously encourage travel. Even if it’s as simple as taking a drive to a part of your city or town that you’ve never seen, that experience can be invaluable towards your growth.
Go see something new. Go do something new.
Perhaps you don’t have the opportunity to travel. Understandable. Still, treat each passing day with the same energy you would in a new place. Approach each passing day with the wide-eyed amazement of a kid excited to see what the world has to offer. Treat each day as an opportunity to learn something that’ll make you better. And if you find yourself in a classroom feeling stuck, unmotivated, and uninterested, do yourself a favor and don’t waste time. Change your perspective, and try to get something out of it. With that said, remember:
Don’t let school interfere with your education