Education is defined as "the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life." While there are secondary definitions that include the word "school," the primary definition makes no mention of it. We have been conditioned to believe that education is synonymous with school. We hear the word "education" and classes, teachers and degrees come to mind. Why is this? Do we truly know what education is?

In spite of the fact that it may feel like receiving a structured education with a degree to show for it is the norm, 62% of Americans do not have college degrees. This may boil down to a lack of access to schooling, drop-outs, etc. Whatever the reason may be, it is simply incorrect to assume that everyone has had a "proper" education. As previously stated, we have been conditioned to believe that the only education we can receive is through an institution. Living in a capitalist society, the American education system is fueled by an end goal that equates education to monetary success. But is this truly the only way to acquire the knowledge we seek?

As a future educator myself, I see and believe in the need for accessible education; I am not implying that schools are unnecessary. I am merely challenging the belief that anyone without a college degree is "uneducated." Preparing oneself for mature life is open to interpretation and doing so can manifest in an innumerable amount of ways. From a personal perspective, I have gained a multitude of knowledge about culture, social justice, art, music, literature, etc. that I would never have acquired in school. Education can come to you in so many other ways than a schooling institution, it can come with experience, time, through interactions with others, etc. Being able to understand the way this education comes to you is crucial to being able to apply it.

The willingness to let go of this preconceived notion and to open ourselves up to other avenues of knowledge can bring abundance. Traditional education is one path but it is certainly not the only one available. Let go of the judgment that people who do not receive a college degree are at a lower intellectual level than those who do. Be aware of the free education you can receive on a daily basis and what each day's experiences has to offer you. Challenge yourself and others to see past social statuses and accept people as they are