By Janelle Reserva

It seems at that time I had all the reasons to quit school. There was a good-paying, full time job with a good schedule, there were some online courses that helped a lot, and there were people who supported me.

And I’ve thought about the people who were successful without a college degree. There was the greatest inventor of all time, Thomas Edison, who only had 3 months of formal education and who was also well known throughout his prolific career as an inventor with much focus and determination, patenting more than 1, 000 inventions.

There was also Albert Einstein who started speaking at the age of two and dropped school at the age of 15 but eventually created the general theories of relativity that opened up many new branches of scientific research. During his years in school, Einstein taught himself Euclidean Geometry, cut classes to study Geometry, and passed his examinations and graduated in 1900 by studying the notes of his classmate.

There was also Bill Gates, the Harvard drop out who maintains a spot in Forbes’ list of wealthiest men and Steve Jobs who dropped out of Reed College to eventually become the master of Macintosh; and there were Princess Diana, James Cameron, Tiger Woods, and youngest billionaire in the world, Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg who made their way to the top without a diploma . I’m sure you have your own lists too of men like them.

But look back and examine these people’s lives.

You’ll see extreme hard work and drive, natural talent, somekind of luck, or brilliant mentors who have taught or helped them overcome their lack of education. Their lives werenot just inside the school, yet learned immensely outside school. Much of what happened in their lives, they mastered. And we have to admit that they are uncommon men, men who forget what society tells them as long as they continue to pursue a life that fascinates them, not a life of proving people wrong or doing something out of rebellion. And it takes bottomless perseverance to get to where they are now.

These people never devalued schooling; in fact some of them went back to school or tried to learn something different in school as they continue doing what they wanted. In school, you learn the various fields where you can get information and you keep engrossed. Examples are those minor subjects like history or Filipino, subjects that don’t seem important as you pursue your specific goal. But if you give it another perspective, history is vital because we learn the mistakes of previous generations and that Filipino subject makes you appreciate culture. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you know many things and small things of various fields. You might not be able to use everything, but it is always an advantage. And you think school is boring?Think about the countless hours Thomas Edison spent in his room just to improve the telephone to such an extent that it could carry speech clearly over almost unlimited distances. That’s extravagant passion.

In school, you get to interact and find motivation with what you would really want to do through the diversity of people you’ll get to know. You’ll also get to hear necessary speakers that the school invites to add inspiration to your goal, proving that you just don’t get education from books in school.

In Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger expresses well the value of schooling: “And I hate to tell you but I think that once you have a fair idea where you want to go, your first move will be to apply yourself in school… I’m not trying to tell you that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. It’s not so. But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they’re brilliant and creative to begin with—which, unfortunately, is rarely the case—tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them than men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end. And—most important—nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker. Something else an academic education will do for you.”

In school, you can find the time to be where you want to be and find your heroes so you can learn from them and when you are learned, you can change or add something better for the progress of the present and future generation. You then become a hero to somebody. We write our roles out by the decisions we make.Big or small, they dictate who we are for the day, who we become, and who we are to be remembered as.

I went back to school with the realization that it’s not just the certain respect that you get from people when you have a diploma or not even just to make my papa proud; it’s actually a realization that there’s a different education you get in school, from those who are paid to give you one, from those who are qualified and have given their lives to educate and to guide students like you over the important fields for society.

I went back to school because I want to do something more than I have already accomplished.

I want to find dreams that will make my already big dream biggest and make my sharper goals, sharpest. I want to continuously improve for I know within myself that if left alone, I will not have enough persistence to do it. I want to be a life-long learner, because I just don’t want a future, I want a wonderful present.

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