Are Schools Still Relevant?
Acknowledgment: this writing is merely my opinion on the subject, so please don’t quote me. But if you want to, I prefer the APA citation format for absolutely no reasons.
9/11 changed my life. The fall of the Taliban regime opened an opportunity for my family to get into the education industry, a nonexistent one during their regime. We launched a premium tuition center called National Institute of Science, a pretty exaggerated name for a tuition center I know. This business meant that I could, more honestly had to, attend tuition classes to gain an edge in my school studies. And boy I gained a lot more than that. Fast-forward to 2011, I was awarded a full scholarship by Afghanistan’s ministry of higher education to pursue my bachelor studies in the field of engineering in Malaysia. So, I moved to Malaysia only to find out another wave of change was awaiting me.
There, I had to learn English, so I did. And that changed the course of my life as much as 9/11 did. For those who think English is just a language, you’re wrong: it is a lot more than that. English is empowerment. English meant I could “listen” to lectures and later watch Youtube videos to understand them. English meant that I could talk to people from various cultures and learn all the stereotypes they had about my country. On a side note, I still remember my buddy Sohaib asking me for some “Afghani” weed. (Clarification: It’s not true that we people just carry around a bag of weed with us everywhere. We keep it at home and take it with us if you ask for it). Going back to all the good things English brought into my life, I learned debating or what I like to call thinking from multiple views. Subsequently, I signed up for a minor in business administration. I took random courses on psychology, programming, public speaking, and whatnot on Coursera without paying a penny. By the time I finished my bachelor degree in Mechatronics, I had acquired a bunch of other skills that could very soon prove handy.
Three days before my convocation ceremony, those very skills landed me a job at the Princeton Review Malaysia. The hiring manager Brindha, who would soon become a great friend and mentor of mine, hired me as a trainer and US Education consultant. For over a year, I learned a ton of things there, but most important of all was good leadership. Turn of events then took me to the United Arab Emirates to join the Princeton Review Middle East in a similar position, where I continue to learn and prepare for a brighter future.
Is going to school still relevant? Absolutely yes. Schools have been changing people’s lives positively on a massive scale since the dawn of formal education. Take me as an example: without school and education, I would probably still be a grocery store boy. Do not mistake the salesmanship of motivational speakers with the reality of schools. It is utterly absurd to think you can’t be an entrepreneur or a musician because you are attending school. Do you know why these people preach against schools? Because it has an emotional appeal to it. Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t argue that schools are perfect. Nor are you. Nor am I. But that doesn’t make us irrelevant today. School isn’t the boring history class you took in the 10th grade. School isn’t the maddening mathematics class you had to take in the 12th grade. School is a package. All the things that you learned in and outside the classroom is part of school education. The billionaire dropouts that motivational speakers love to name during their speeches aren’t billionaires BECAUSE they dropped out. They are billionaires IN SPITE of dropping out. And you learned the difference between my last two statements in school. I could not be where I am today without school and education, and I bet you too feel the same. So let’s give credit where credit’s due.