Like most 18-year-olds, I’ve been through about 15 years of classes. For the longest time, I didn’t appreciate the education I was receiving. School was the place I went during the day to see my friends and to complete a few worksheets. Even in elementary school, I knew I would be continuing to college after high school, not because it was a life dream of mine, but because it seemed like the natural thing to do. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I realized school was more than just friends and test grades.
As a junior, I decided to take a new class that was being offered at my school called peer tutoring. It seemed like an easy class to add in with all the Advanced Placement courses I was taking, and I was told that it would look good on college applications. Little did I know that this course would change the way I looked at education and how I thought about school.
I began tutoring in a freshman English class to help students that were falling behind with their work. I really enjoyed getting to know the teacher and helping her students get better grades, so I decided to stick with the program for the next semester. For the next three semesters, I continued working with students and helping them with organization and simple studying.
It wasn’t until my senior year that I met the boy who changed my perspective on education. He was a quiet boy who sat in the back of the classroom. His test grades were low, and most people probably wouldn’t have noticed him. After talking to him and looking through his work, his teacher and I discovered this boy read at about a second grade level as a freshman in high school. As a student who never really struggled in school, this absolutely shocked me, and I made it my mission to help this boy pass freshman English. Through months of hard work, hours of tutoring and many tests, this boy managed to pass with a B.
While working with this student, I realized that education is more than just memorizing words for quizzes and formulas for tests. Education is what gives us the ability to pursue our passions, it provides ways to explore our interests, and it helps us to make a difference in the lives of others. Helping this student made me realize that our education has value. I learned that it is important to care about the material that is being taught just as much as the grade that is being given. Education is more than that pop-quiz in Spanish class or that final in calculus, it is the way we grow as individuals and develop our strengths so we can succeed in life.
Tutoring other students helped me realize just how important my own education is as well. To be able to help others is a great thing, and to be able to give others the opportunity at an education is an even greater thing, but it requires the helper to be educated. As a current freshman in college, there are some days when classes seem to drag on and the information seems pointless, but I stick with it because I know the education I am gaining now will allow me to help others in the future. Education matters because it gives us the opportunity to discover our passions, and we can use those passions to help others.