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What Do We Gain and Lose by Being Educated?

The answer to both questions is perspective.

What is lost from being systemically educated is an old perspective. We lose time, money, sleep, ritual, some weakness. We lose an innate instinct to trust and be vulnerable. Sometimes we lose friends and family because we outgrow them. We may lose our innocence, creativity, and maybe even our inner child.

On the flip side, we gain thinking, logic, strategy, and status. We emerge changed and gain new perspective. We gain a sameness with everyone, with whom we shared the educational system. We gain power, skills, credentials, and knowledge. And all of this results in more choice, more access and a narrower bridge between the haves and have nots.

By being educated we question life rather than accept it. We trade our carefree days for the burden of responsibility, our instinct for logic, our blind grace for analysis, our time with family for time at career. Everything in life is a tradeoff. And so, it is by being educated, we trade one perspective for another.

My book OF SCHOOL AND WOMEN speaks to this topic through the protagonists Lynnette and Marie, and their experiences with the losses and gains of becoming educated. Lynette encourages her friend Marie to keep going by telling her, "Going to school and earning a degree is like picking on a glacier. Every day, you get up, grab your pick and hack at the ice and one day you know you'll look down and there won't be any picking left, and the glacier will be gone." Lynette crosses an intellectual milestone after writing her 8th research paper, "She learned the skill of playing god with ideas and words. To put them all together to tell a story or prove a point with enough evidence to persuade a reader. And when Lynette thought about how her great grandmother had signed her name with an X, she realized the value of her education."

-D.S. Marquis, Author

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