Each day, whether I am aware of it or not, I learn something new. Whether it be from sitting in AP Government class or from a conversation with a stranger, I gain knowledge daily. It was the great mind Socrates who said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” It is only in acknowledging that the world offers so much to us to know that we might never uncover that the path to learning truly begins. It is in accepting the importance of that daily growth in knowledge that we might come to understand to our fullest capabilities.

Each child is required by federal law in the United States to attend school until the age of 16. Up until the age of 16, the student has no choice but to be present in class. He is forced to sit in his desk and be present in school. Learning, however, cannot be forced. A student must choose to study, to complete his homework, to wish to comprehend the information that is placed before him, and beyond the age of 16, he must choose to continue attending school.

As a student I, too, was forced to attend school up until the age of 16, but I still made a conscious choice. I chose to learn. I chose to complete my homework assignments on time, to listen to what my teachers had to say, to write the required essays, and sometimes to even do extra credit assignments. Though I did not wish to take tests and homework was far from my favorite activity, I truly enjoyed learning from the beginning. I cherished, and still cherish, that moment in which I finally understood something, the feeling that the world makes more sense than it did before.

Public schools provide education to students without requiring any compensation from the student or pay from the parents, but I have attended Catholic school since kindergarten. Catholic school requires sacrifices from my parents, not only of finances, but also of time. My parents have made a choice to grant me the best education possible that stresses not only core classes but also my faith that I have so deeply come to love. Because my parents chose to make such great sacrifices for me, I continue to make the best of my education and the opportunities my parents have provided for me through my education.

Since I turned 16, I have continued attending school though the law no longer requires me to. Yes, my parents would kick me out of their house if I decided to drop out, but my willingness to wake up at 6 in the morning to attend school was founded on so much more than a threat. I live for those moments in which I write something that I am proud of or I finally solve that math problem that I had been struggling with all week.

My education has allowed me to grow as a person and has taught me to love learning. I have found myself in recent years doing my own research, reading books for pleasure, and discussing events and intellectual topics with my family to gain greater comprehension. Because of the work of my wonderful teachers and the well-renowned institutions I have attended since the age of five, I want to better myself academically. My education has taught me so much, but the most important lesson my education ever taught me was that I truly desire to know more.