Face the true value of your education


Rachel Chang

Many students can relate to the experience of mindlessly reading a textbook without absorbing the information. The Sidekick staff writer Nathan Cheng thinks modern students fail to see the worth in knowledge due to a focus on grades and a desire to perform the bare minimum.

Nathan Cheng, Staff Writer

Education is important. 

That is one statement that seems to be held sacred by those deemed “older and wiser” by society. And as such, it is an idea passed down from older to younger generations. As students, many of us have received the standard lecture about the importance of good grades and academic hard work from our parents. 

But how many of us are truly compelled to work hard by a belief in such values? 

From my own experience as a student, I can say with certainty that I have heard few advocates for the merits of education and the benefits of academic labor among my peers. Such advocates instead constitute a rather small minority of the student population, sometimes deemed “nerds” for seeking knowledge motivated by self-interest. 

While the insult is not usually used to mean actual offense, the fact that such a term has been used with the frequency I have heard demonstrates that those who truly care about their own academic growth are simply considered different. 

 It is clear the traditional values which we are taught as standards by teachers or parents simply no longer apply to our perception of education. 

“The level of maturity in a high school setting is not quite there and it is a matter of having perspective as we get older to understand the opportunities that we get out of [education],” Coppell High School algebra teacher Alec Bui said.

 Without the experiences of older generations, the values we are taught as students are not as likely to have the same influence as they would on older individuals. Instead, they have been distorted and relegated to a much lower spot on our value hierarchy. Doing well in school is no longer viewed as a demonstration of merit, but instead, just a basic necessity. Many students seek to pass classes solely because they think that doing so will supply them with an academic currency with which they can use to purchase a successful future. 

In other words, traditional values are distorted in the minds of young students and they thus, do not pursue education in the spirit of broadening their minds or academic development, but instead for the grade they receive for work completed. 

For example, a student in my English class stated to me that he knows his maximum effort would earn him an A. However, he’s content with receiving a B even if he never truly learns the content.

While most students would agree that high grades should be something one strives for, grades only make up a small aspect of education. The total value students see in education has been reduced to solely that number detailing their performance at certain points rather than the actual improvement in academic prowess. It seems to be all students can talk about after they all finish one important exam or project. “What did you get on it?” is one very commonly asked question that exemplifies what students think they ultimately get out of their work: a grade. 

It is because of this misconception that students tend to cut corners, doing only bare minimum to receive a grade they are satisfied with, especially if the subject in question is one of difficult material or obscure real life applications. This demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the point of school. School is not meant to be skimmed over simply because one finds little value in what it has to offer. Just because one fails to understand the value of something does not mean that it has no value at all. There is value to be found in every class. There are always new opportunities to improve one’s character in the classroom. 

Much of this value in education is derived from the disciplined work it requires of students for grading purposes. While some students may scoff at the notion that their school work could bring them happiness, it is true that doing things of some inherent difficulty and doing them well provides a very unique feeling of joy. When we work, we build a good temperament and we learn how to solve problems. When we finish, we can rest knowing that we never squandered the time we had and that ultimately, that time changed us for the better. 

Our value hierarchy is twisted. We constantly neglect opportunities to seek wisdom if it means getting out of work. Many of us fail to understand that beneath the exams and hours of homework, there are much deeper lessons to be learned and they will only be sought after once we have matured enough to finally acknowledge their existence. 

It is time for us to recognize the incredible blessing we have in education, one that we all take for granted. Our education is simply critical and we should strive to make the most of it every day. So challenge yourself to think more broadly about the value you place in your academics, and you might just find some joy in things you never have before. 

Follow Nathan (@WalterBotell) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.