Education Is A Privilege, It's About Time Americans Realize That

Education Is A Privilege, It's About Time Americans Realize That

Think about what your education is worth to you.


Education is a privilege, though some may not view it as such. In America, for those of us who are privileged enough to attend school, we often take it for granted. Having access to knowledge, textbooks, teachers, etc. may not seem like anything extraordinary, but compared to other countries, it is a gift. Due to the fact that access to education in America is, for the most part, so unappreciated, we look at the world with an ethnocentric and privileged view, forgetting that not everyone is so fortunate.

My statistics professor recently described having access to education as a "blessing." He had begun to notice the number of students that chose to skip his class each week and told us that he did not understand why. Candidly, he explained that he is from Ghana and in his country, the resources that are available to us here, are not as easily accessible there. Education is a gift and in his experience, he said that he cannot begin to comprehend why it is so easy for some students to throw that gift away. It was a moment that was particularly eye-opening for me and many other students and was simultaneously a culture shock moment for my professor.

Interested in the education rates in Ghana, I chose to do some research in order to put my professor's words in context. What I have compiled, sheds some light on how our education compares on a global scale. According to NationMaster, in terms of the average years of schooling of adults, Ghana is ranked 76th compared to America's first place ranking. The average years of schooling in America are typically 12 years while in Ghana it is only 3.9. Additionally, the literacy rate for Ghana's total population is 74.8% compared to a 99% rate in the United States. The most unsettling fact that I came across was that, in comparison, Ghana spends 1% more on education. The United States is ranked behind Ghana in 26th place in this category. Though 28.5% of their population lives below the poverty line and the average number of years of schooling is equivalent to a student's high school career, Ghana spends more on education than America.

It appears unfair to compare the two countries, as they are vastly different but on a surface level, the drastic difference between them reveals a new way to look at education. Not only should it alert us to the fact that Ghana could use our help but also to the fact that our access to education is something that should be treasured. Admittedly, the U.S. education system is flawed and imperfect, it stands to be reformed (Textbooks essentially rewriting and whitewashing U.S. history is no secret, for example). Though it has its issues, it is still a privilege for those who can access it. Education should be something that is guaranteed to all, but until that becomes a reality, we should feel fortunate enough to afford it and access all it has to offer.

My professor was able to share his insightful perspective, having experienced education systems in both Ghana and the United States. I value my education greatly but without this candid moment, I would have continued looking at my education with tunnel vision. It is vital that we look outside of what we are familiar with in order to gain perspective on our own situations. Simply put, education is a privilege that we need to stop taking for granted; and one that we need to extend to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Here is a link to verified organizations that aid Ghana in various areas.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Five Tips to Get on Top of Your 2019: Tech Editions

Yeah, there's an app for that.


Technology is the course of the future, why not use it to get on top of your new year? Make 2019 the year you stop sleeping on these great productivity apps and get grinding! Best part, all the apps I've included here are free.

Google Calendar.

Look at that beauty.

I LOVE Google Calendar! Not only is it a great tool to map out your week, it comes with cool features. You can color code tasks and events, get text reminders and so much more. You can even sync your calendar with other people's (this is very helpful for roommates or study buddies).

Google Doc File Folders


Sick of that long list of documents in your Google Docs? You can make file folders to organize all of your docs!

Momentum Chrome Extension

This is by far my favorite productivity app. It's a Chrome extension that acts as a home page whenever you open a new window or tab. It comes complete with the weather, a motivational quote and a to-do list! The best feature is their "main focus for the day". It keeps you grounded for sure- especially when it pops up with every tab and forces you to think about all you need to accomplish.


This is a to-do list on steroids- definitely worth checking out!


A to-do list app for your phone! I love this just to organize what my top priorities are.

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