This post originally appeared on Medium.com/@DicksonOtieno.
Before university I didn’t know the emptiness of life. I hadn’t felt it yet. I came full of life, expectations, hopes, dreams. Aspirations. High School had pumped up dreams of a better future. Of freedom and of greatness. I knew in university I would finally have the chance of tackling real life problems, practically. University looked to me as the stepping stone into bettering life and creating a bright future not only for myself, but for the whole world. I came here full. Yet now before finishing, I am empty. Something has sucked up the life out of me. Something has squeezed hope and dreams from my small mind.
Is it the education system? Or is it just a stage of life where I am supposed to feel empty? Empty every single morning… Like someone wasting each day? Like someone not reaching their full potential?
Do I love education? Yes! Education is what remains after all the learning is over, I believe. Education, in my opinion, should not be a tool I need to get a job. I am not in school so that in future I can get a good job, then a good salary, then a good life. That’s a cycle of mediocrity I am not prepared to follow. Rather, I am here so that I can get to understand and solve problems in society. I am here to innovate. To solve. To change. To come up with better.
Some are in arts, others in sciences. Some are in engineering. Some are in medicine, biology. Others are in linguistics, media, and community management. Different sectors and callings for different people. Coming together, a strong force to build up progress. Education is supposed to help clear out the vices and make a better society, worldwide.
But that is not what we are seeing with the various education systems in place. Instead of making better, the education systems are breaking hearts, killing dreams, spoiling futures.
“Read hard –> pass exams, and –> get a good job.”
It is amusing how everyone wants a good job. Unemployment kicks in when everyone is fully qualified and there are no more jobs to be offered. And then we sit and sulk, jobless, blaming the governments. Yet there can only be too many jobs for all of us.
Passing exams and reading hard no longer go hand in hand. You know why? Because people now do anything to pass exams. From paying off for fake degrees and even cheating in exam rooms.
The examination systems instead of testing understanding, tests ability to remember. We are not tested practically. We are tested in theory. No one cares whether you understand or not. As long as you can fill in some questions that have been chosen in a haphazard manner, you are good to get a degree. If you are not the type to memorise points, then sorry you are not qualified for a degree.
We are killing the future.
The system is producing robots instead of thinkers. We go through unnecessary stuff in the name of curriculums. Science is seen to be better than art, yet all are equal. We are subduing great talents in the name of education.
I am empty. So are my friends.
Bare, blank, vacant, hollow.
It is all an echo. An echo of a system we cannot bear. An echo from unfulfilled dreams of those before us.
We sit and talk about it. About daring to go against the system. About daring to move. But we don’t know how to go about it. We want a different life. Something where we can make decisions and choose for ourselves what we want. This current life isn’t what we had hoped for. And we don’t want to join that cycle of regret.
You know what? I don’t want to, in the future, regret all the chances I could have taken. All the ideas I could have brought into fruition.
I think we shouldn’t sit and wait for things to get better. Nothing will. We are the lords of our thoughts and dreams and understanding. We are the creators of the lives we want to live. We are the saviours of tomorrow. Nobody else will believe in you like you should yourself.
If you have a dream, follow it. If you have a talent, exploit it. If you believe in something, go for it. Don’t sit and wait for someone to approve of your ability to do something. We are not the same. And we can’t be.
It is better, I have realised, to go after what you want, than sit and do what others want for you. Take a chance. Take a step into the life you want.