This is the very first year that I’m not, in some form, going “back to school”. I’m sad. I remember as a child, being so excited to go school supply shopping. Meeting new classmates and teachers. Learning.
I have always loved being a student, even when it was an unpopular opinion. Education afforded me the most wonderful opportunities, epiphanies, and experiences in life to date. Without my education, I would be missing a large part of my identity.
Over the years, I have worked with individuals who’ve endured tremendous sacrifice just to enter a classroom. People who have crossed the dangerous borders, left their families in war zones, and gave up their freedom of movement. Parents who made the painful decision to send their children abroad when they want to keep them near. Families who relinquished comfortable lifestyles only to encounter hostility and dehumanizing conditions, so their children could obtain the best education possible. I often wonder, too, had I grown up in my rural Chinese hometown as a girl, how far would I have gotten?
In short, education is precious. I understand the current formal education systems are not perfect. Still, I am an avid advocate for access to education, something still seen as an unattainable luxury to many. So the fact that I was encouraged to learn, to be curious, to ask questions, to challenge others’ perspectives — those are things I will never take for granted. •••
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