Tucked away in the family albums my mother created over the course of my childhood is a picture of me at barely two years old, sitting on my mother's lap as she holds a children’s book in front of me trying to turn my attention to the images and letters scattered across its pages. At that young age, I was more interested in the texture of the stiff covers and the tough bindings of these books, running my small hands over them for inspection, unaware of the stories they held. I would eventually become a voracious reader, the summertime trips made to the public library in the back of my families dark blue Mazda fed my addiction. But somewhere along the way, my passion for reading began to dissipate. Throughout middle school and high school, I found myself reading less and less. The books assigned in English class were lazily sifted through before turning to the internet for a concise summary. Once I started college I began to read course materials more closely for no other reason than a half-hearted rifling of the pages would be heavily reflected during finals. Reading was no longer a pastime, but a chore.
Education occurs overwhelmingly in a formal setting. The premium placed on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees means that as early as high school there is less of a focus on growth in areas that students hold an interest in exchange for activities and credentials that give them the best shot at their dream school. Getting a degree is often conflated with receiving an education. The two can be but aren’t always one in the same. Think about the last time you read a book, regardless of genre, that made you reflect on its message long after you finished it. This kind of thinking whether it focuses on the significance of current events, the ethics surrounding public policy, or the beautiful nuance of everyday life enables us to challenge or create beliefs, and values, and ideas. It fulfills the parts of our education that tend to be overlooked as we focus on crafting ideal career paths. We should be careful to never let go of the curiosity we had as kids. When we feel it slipping away as I did during those years in high school remind yourself that knowledge doesn’t always have to serve a an immediate purpose other than enriching your life as any other hobby would.