The Importance of Education

Clair Schwan By Clair Schwan, 21st Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Education

The importance of education can sometimes be undervalued. If we undervalue education, we're doing ourselves a disservice indeed. Our long term success and happiness is often tied to higher education, so don't let the opportunity pass you by.


Looking back, it's easy to identify why education was important for me, and it's easy to explain why it's important for you. The key question to answer is: can you see why it's important? Sometimes that's difficult, especially when you're facing it or going through it. Years of education can seem like a lifetime of effort. Often school can be tedious, and there are many more entertaining things to do than sit in a classroom. Nevertheless, instead of viewing your school work as a lifetime of effort, think of it as an investment of a lifetime - an investment in you and your lifetime.

Take it from someone who made a good decision to work hard and obtain a high school diploma, then a Bachelor of Science degree from the local university, education is a key to success. More specifically, an education provides opportunities for upward and lateral mobility.

Of course there were distractions to deal with at school, like entering the workforce and earning money, chasing the opposite gender, and hanging out with friends, but thankfully I kept my sights set on graduating, and never veered off course. And, I've never regretted my resolve or the effort it took to achieve my educational goals.

Here are six good reasons why you should make the most of the time you spend in school. This isn't an exhaustive list by any means, but it's a good start, and should be more than sufficient to convince you to rededicate yourself to a good education as a wise investment in you - an investment that can't be taken away and goes with you throughout your life.

1. Identify Your Aptitude

Whether it's high school or college level classes, your interest and performance will help point you in a general direction of a career path. Your aptitude is uncovered by more than just a few tests. Often it's shown in your skill and level of participation in various classes. If I followed the interests that my aptitude tests indicated back when I was in high school, I'd be a forest ranger right now, looking forward to another 12 years of work before I retired. Instead, I early retired five years ago after running my own consulting business for just seven years.

2. Become More Well Rounded

Education helps you become a more well-rounded individual by exposing you to different ideas and learning how to apply them at least in a limited way. For the most part, education helps you be a generalist in many areas, and a specialist if you study in a particular area of interest. Without a broad education, you might have a very limited life where for most things brought to your attention, your response could very well be, "I don't know anything about that." Opportunities in life will come your way much more readily if you at least have sufficient interest in an issue, concept, technology, activity or event to know something about it.

3. Understand Problem Solving

One result of a good education is the ability to define a problem and formulate a solution. You'll be faced with a multitude of decisions and problems in your life, and a good education will arm you with a range of tools for finding solutions. Many textbooks provide examples based in everyday life where concepts and problem solving skills can be applied to help us make decisions and draw conclusions. If we aren't armed with the ability to problem solve, then we must rely on others to do so. Solving problems ourselves helps make us stronger individuals, whereas relying on others simply makes us a dependent.

4. Demonstrate a "Can Do" Attitude

Participation in higher education shows a "can do" attitude - something that is very important for employment in the "professional" sector. It's usually not especially challenging to make it through high school, but those who position themselves for college or the university, while in high school, and then press on with bettering themselves through higher education, are usually individuals who have confidence in themselves and are achievement oriented. What employer wouldn't be interested in someone who is confident and oriented towards achievement?

5. Punch Your Own "Ticket"

A solid education with favorable results in terms of performance is a way of "getting your ticket punched." In other words, some employers won't consider candidates unless they have a certain level of education or a specific course of study. Other employers won't consider candidates unless they have an acceptable level of performance in their school work. So, you can see that employers often look at education as a type of "proving ground" for their prospective employees.

6. Specialized Education and Training

Higher paid careers demand technical training and specialized education, and this can pay rewards over the long haul in the form of a lucrative position in a career field. The old cliché of "marry a doctor or a lawyer" isn't just something that someone made up because it sounded good. Doctors and lawyers are quite often highly paid and highly respected people in our communities. The same can be said for engineers, architects, scientists and many other professionals who have invested in specialized training and education for themselves. There is no guarantee that you'll make high income and gain the respect of the world by having a higher education, but it's certainly helps shift the odds in your favor, and what could be wrong with that?


So, there you have it - six good reasons to make the most out of your educational opportunities. It may be difficult when you're young to see why education is so important. That's understandable. There are so many more immediate and competing interests. Nevertheless, it's too late when you're passing through the prime of your life to go back for a re-do in terms of education. That's not to say that it can't be done, but it's so much more difficult to do.

Therefore, if you find yourself on a chair in a classroom, make the most of your time while you're in a good position to do so. Once you start down your career path, you'll be glad that your formal education is behind you, because you'll have plenty of challenges with respect to on-the-job training and continuing education as you move through your working years.

My youthful planning had me graduating high school and attending the university. There was no question in my mind that higher education was a "must," and I wasn't going to start my career without it. As it turned out, I chose well, and wouldn't do anything different if given the opportunity to turn back the hands of time. Choose well and have yourself a happy outcome as well - choose education, for it's likely to be the wisest investment you'll ever make in and for yourself.
Clair Schwan is the managing editor at Self-Reliance-Works, a place dedicated to individuals who desire to live a more self directed life. He knows that one of the keys to a self directed life is a proper set of "tools" to work with. A good quality education is one of the most important tools in your self reliance toolbox.


Careers, Education, Formal Education, Higher Education, Learning, Technical Education

Meet the author

author avatar Clair Schwan
A former management and technical consultant who lives a self reliant lifestyle on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming. An avid vegetable gardener who is fond of raising small animals for meat and eggs, engaging in do-it-yourself projects, and wr...(more)

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author avatar C. Michael Davis
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Well written.

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author avatar Clair Schwan
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Thank you Mr. Davis.

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author avatar smoothoperator
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

An in depth analysis of how education counts in the long run and why it should be taken seriously.

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author avatar Clair Schwan
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Yes, indeed, you're right on target. It's the long run that counts the most because that's the one we're all running.

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author avatar JD
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Very good points. Education should also be an ongoing process. It shouldn't stop when we leave school.

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author avatar Clair Schwan
22nd Jul 2010 (#)

Yes, the idea of continuing education is much like many other things in life - when you stop, you're still alive, but no longer really living. And, when you're in the thick of things with the intention of staying there, it's wise to keep moving forward lest you be moving in reverse relative to others.

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