As embarrassing as it is to admit, my favorite song throughout all of middle school had always been Justin Bieber’s “Born to be Somebody.” To little 12 year-old Ernestine, this song was more than just a catchy tune, it validated my beliefs and made me feel like I could relate to someone. Some of the lyrics included “There's a dream in my soul, A fire that's deep inside me… I was born to be somebody, I'll light up the sky like lightning”. It was lyrics like these that inspired me to pursue my dreams which is why I am here, writing on this blog today. Here is the thing - there seems to be a typical timeline that society expects us to follow. As a college student myself, this idea has been especially prevalent in my life recently. When asked: Where do you see yourself in five years? Most college students are likely to say something along the lines of “I hope to have a stable, well-paying job.” This is expected as most people settle for mediocre lives because that is all that they know. Here is the “model” timeline: go to school, get a degree, get a job, have a family, work until you retire, travel at the end of your life, that’s it. People never reach their full potentials because when they were not given the opportunity to do so, they did not take the initiative to search! Life is too short to sit around and let life happen to us. In order to live the best life that we can and create social impact, we must constantly step outside of our comfort zone to learn, grow, and discover what the world has to offer!
Elon Musk, tech, and business mogul, owner of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and more, dropped out of Stanford after just two days. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs -- all of these ultra-successful creators made common decisions. They all continuously stepped outside of their comfort zone, relentlessly pursued what they believed in and had a passion for, and they all dropped out of school. Doesn’t this tell us something? There are so many qualified individuals who have dreams of attending college but do not have the opportunity to do so due to their financial situation. As for the fortunate bunch that do have the opportunity to attend college, they are unlikely to even pursue careers or fields in which they majored in. Education is a powerful tool that helps determine our country’s future but the whole system is biased, over-priced, and ineffective.
In my humble opinion, in order to have a better society in the future, we must reform our education system. I believe that we must base our education off of three fundamental ideas: understanding others, problem solving, and finding our strengths and passions. Although this may seem too good to be true, I believe that by slowly incorporating changes into the system, this ideal may be achieved. For example, in order to help students understand people better, we can teach their history classes from a more humanistic standpoint through the use of storytelling. This not only allows for better understanding of the material, as history class will not only be a boring class where you memorize dates and names anymore, but, it will also teach students about humanity and society, allowing them to better relate to history so that they can eventually bring the lessons they they had learned to their present lives. Another reformation we can create is to allow students to practice problem solving in school. Elon Musk is an advocate of this idea. Not only did he drop out of one of the most renowned and well-respected universities in the world, Stanford University, but he also created his own private school for his own five children called “Ad Astra” which means “To the Stars”. In this clip, Musk explains his views on education and introduces his own school:
In this clip, Musk speaks about the design of his private school. He takes an unconventional and innovative approach in building the structure of the school and explains “it makes more sense to cater the education to their [students] aptitudes and abilities.” Although this idea seems extremely effective, it would be difficult to create as the current system would require an excessive amount of reformation to replicate Musk’s system. What we can do though, is to begin to begin to incorporate more problem solving in all subjects and classes starting from as early as Preschool. By doing this, we can create a culture where instead of fighting, people will have been trained to face problems head-on and find proper, effective, and possibly even innovative solutions.
Last but most definitely not least, the education system should also help promote personal and professional development. One way to do this is to allow for more career exploration in schools starting from an early age, but especially in high schools. Schools can incorporate programs that teach college readiness, create assemblies with such as Imagine Talks or TEDx
where thought leaders share their ideas and stories, or even incentivize the participation in school-organized clubs. Students should be encouraged to actually experiment with fields that they are interested in. For example, for a student who is interested in Journalism, there should be a competition where whichever group writes the best story receives the opportunity to shadow a real journalist or spend the day exploring a broadcasting firm. By making reformations like these, we can encourage young people to realize their potentials and passions so that they have the courage to “light up the sky like lightning.” These are some of my personal ideas and although they may be difficult to execute, I believe that the results outweigh the cost and time that is necessary to create this system. Imagine a world where people use their problem solving abilities instead of resulting to violence. Imagine a world where people are able to better understand each other. We can prevent wars! Imagine a world where people are doing what they love. If people do what they love, naturally, they work harder, perform better, and create better results. Along with this, they will generally be more content and happy because they love their jobs. Imagine a peaceful society full of content people who are contributing in their own unique ways. In my opinion, this reformation has been long-awaited and can lead to a beautiful future.