The Importance of Education

By: Shelby Wertsbaugh

In a developed world, it is easy to take simple things we have for granted, such as our education.

 Embarrassing photo of my sister and I dressed up for "Backwards Day" during Right-to-Read week

Embarrassing photo of my sister and I dressed up for "Backwards Day" during Right-to-Read week

Growing up, the sound of my alarm clock was my least favorite noise. I'd roll over, hit snooze, and delay getting out of bed as long as possible. My procrastination often lead to sprints up the driveway, chasing down the yellow bus. Going to school wasn't a choice, it was just something I had to do. To me, a free education wasn't a gift, it was a chore. 

 Classmate and I Showing our true feelings towards school 

Classmate and I Showing our true feelings towards school 

After a recent trip to Baja California Sur, Mexico, a new light has been shined on my prospective of education. It has brought a new level of gratitude to what I have, and a new fire to change what others don't. 

Upon arrival, I stopped at a local convenient store on the outskirts of Cabo San Lucas. The floor was dusty, there were no lights, and the person behind the counter was a boy who appeared to be no older than twelve. It was a Tuesday, shouldn't he be in school?  

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Later on, my father and I booked an Rzr tour through the desert with a local outfitter. Our tour guide, Manuel, spoke both English and Spanish. The amount of pride he exerted when talking about his education was rememberable. 

"I've never been to school a day in my life! I learned to speak English on my own, and now I have this job! I used to work all day in the fields. Being a guide is the best (job) I've ever had!" 

Manuel grew up in a small village on the mountain side in Mexico. He told me how nobody in his town goes to school, unless they are rich. Even if you wanted to go, it was hard finding a teacher. And if you found a teacher, you better be prepared to miss a few meals. No wonder self-taught Manuel was so proud. Most parent's can't afford to support their family. Therefore, their children work beside them in the fields, shops, and restaurants rather than going to school. Because the kids can't go to school, they grow up illiterate, preventing them from better jobs and better lifestyles.    

As I sit in the back of the airplane on my flight home, I can't help but think how foolish I am to take for granite my free education. No longer can I hit the snooze button of procrastination on this matter. We all must wake up and do something to help others not miss the bus ride to education. For if we are not living and working to help others, than what are we really doing? 

Upon further research, I learned that in developing countries, every year of education can increase a person's future income by an average of 10%. Providing children with quality basic education could also boost annual economic growth by two percent in that country. Education is not only good for the individual, but for the whole country. 

thisworldexists not only inspires us to get out of our comfort zones, but also challenges us to be more, do more, and help more. At the end of the day, we are all capable of more, so lets start doing it. 

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