(And no I know NOTHING about Pink Floyd... stupid song is just stuck in my head!)
What does education mean to you? Is it the degree you hang up on your wall or the experiences gained in life?
Ah a tricky question isn't it?
I had the formal education, did well in school but wasn't sure about what I wanted to do, except that I wanted to be in the legal field. So I went on to do a secretarial diploma - gaining some skills to set myself on my path (me who failed typing in high school and had to take maths)... got married, had 2 kids, got divorced... started my Law Degree and gave it up 3/4's of the way through... not because I couldn't cope with the course work.. rather life and passion intervened... or lack of passion... my love affair with law was over and I couldn't bear to continue on a path I couldn't find connection with.
How many of you have had similar experiences? Set off down one path only to find yourself completely sidetracked to something not considered but in which you found your passion. I have a feeling there are more of us out there then we realise.
So where does that leave me?
Do I feel a failure for not finishing my degree? Absolutely not. It was one of the first real truthful moments I had with myself in the last few years. Making the decision to step back and say "Hey, is this what you REALLY want... will you be fulfilled, get up each morning with passion to go to work, feel like you making a difference?" The answer to all of those was a resounding no.
That was my first step to not being just another brick in the wall....
And that brings me back to my question... what counts in the education vs experience debate?
I believe 'education' is important. We all need to learn to read, write, count and have some basic skills HOWEVER as a parent who has had kids in the education system for the last 14+ years (from pre-school) I can firmly say that the 'education system' our children are put through today is not ideal. This is not the fault of any teachers. I have had the pleasure of having my boys taught by some of the most wonderful educators there are, some of whom have become close friends. And I myself was taught by some of the most amazing teacher whose lessons I still remember now 20 years after leaving school! But we all know the system can only work one way, and that is to fit all the shapes into a square ....
And that is where the problem lies.. we're not all rectangular bricks able to fit in the wall... some of us are triangles, some squares, some circles... each of us are different. Despite years of 'formal education' and being a person with a passion to learn I can without a doubt say I have learnt more through my life experiences and in particular over the last 3 years than I ever did from my History, Geography and Biology books.
Circumstances have forced me to learn about subjects I never dreamt I would need to know about. From a new found passion for photography which led me to learn about ISO and F-stops and exposures to a son diagnosed with Bipolar which forced me to go hunting for information on various personality disorders and how it applies to kids (you will be amazed at the lack of certain information and scared witless by what you do find!).
With this learning curve has come new friendships ... and again exposure to yet more learning - the ins and out of Portuguese culture, why spiders are such valuable little critters, the beauty of the wild (together with some scientific names I have no hope in hell of remembering). A fresh look at local politics and the broader worldwide ills affecting our world. An introduction to books, movies and music I would never have even shown an interest in previously.... (although some said movies and music are still a bit dodge in my opinion...)
Had I followed my path and become that rectangular brick in the wall I think I may have missed all of the above and what a pity it would've been as my life is nothing but richer as the knowledge I have gained has been with the mileage I have travelled.
Right now I'm satisfied my Degree is in Life and I will always proudly hang that on my wall.