Donna Eberhart– Contributing Writer
Like many students entering or attending college, the biggest question that plagues our minds is what am I going to do? What will my future be like? Although a select few have a straightforward idea of his or her goals, most of us are stuck in a state of paralyzed confusion, waiting for that “Aha” moment when we break free and realize our passions. What we usually take for granted however, is how privileged we are to even be in school, or to even think about pursuing our dreams. In countries outside the United States, some do not have the chance or opportunity to attend school.
In some parts of Africa today access to education is scarce. To both kids and parents, school is looked highly upon, whereas in the United States, most students complain about going to classes, doing homework or taking tests.
UNICEF, an organization that strives to make education available to everyone, including those who do not have the proper amount of money or tools to learn, states that over half of the 57 million children who are out of school worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that 28.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have the education we ultimately take for granted.
However, it’s not just in Africa that kids are deprived of education. The most recent issue in education is the situation in Iraq where families are forced to live in schools and abandoned buildings in order to escape the growth of the Islamic State. Kids cannot attend school because they are all full of people seeking refuge. Most of these Iraqis also lack the proper amount of food and water, as the government does not have the funds to support them.
If education deteriorates, what will we have? John Dewey once said that “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Therefore, to have the privilege to be educated is to have the luxury of a true life. It is an unfortunate thing when we complain about things that others would give their lives for; being in a school that teaches you something new every day is a gift.
Here at SUNY Oneonta, one could say we are spoiled in that students do not just have interesting classes to choose from, but there are also tons of free events and activities that make college like a second home. For those who do not have the means to be educated, college could be viewed as a castle floating in a sky of dreams.
One thing must be taken into consideration though, and that is that we are all allowed to complain. Complaining is a way of releasing stress due to deadlines or strict teachers. Yet what you should do the next time you decide to utter “I-hate-homework,” and you know you will, just think about what it must be like for other kids around the world. Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We, as SUNY Oneonta students especially, have the power to help each other grow, to support and educate others with our knowledge. If everyone could teach others what we learn throughout our lives, even simple comments or new subjects, imagine the impact that would have across the globe.