September 27, 2012
The Purpose of Education: Self-Fulfillment and Financial Security
What IS the Purpose of Education? At the beginning of the semester, I was really unsure if I really wanted to endure another semester of late nights waiting until the last second to start my assignments. I thought to myself “the reason people go to school is to get jobs and I already have one.” I had an epiphany, If you’re a waiter not “just trying to get through school” it’s frowned upon, and I knew that. I also realized that making $2.13 an hour really sucks and depending on the public to maintain my lifestyle sucks even more. I fortunately have the luxury of living at my parent’s house for now and I really don’t know how people who don’t have the financial support of their parent/guardian can survive on minimum or in my case technically less than minimum wage. With that being said, knowing that at the end of my quest to be an educated citizen I will have self-fulfillment and financial security is what’s getting me through my toughest days at school. I can do this and when it’s all said and done I’ll have a piece of paper saying I did it and I’ll have a high paying job!
In this paper I will discuss two purposes of education. One purpose is to have financial security. Another purpose is to gain self-fulfillment. To illustrate these points I will draw research from Fredrick Douglass, Newman, Roosevelt and The College Board.
Purpose of Education: Self-fulfillment
My first purpose I would like to illustrate is self-fulfillment. I dream of the day where I can have my degree hanging up in my office. No one will be able to take my education away from me. “We feel our minds to be growing and expanding then, we not only learn, but refer what we learn to what we know already.” (Newman 5) When Newman talks about comparing new information to the old, in my opinion is a great way to exhibit self-fulfillment and enlightenment because in other cases it can show someone’s progress. For example when I golf I have a tendency to swing like I’m playing softball because I played softball for five years. After golfing for four months I’m finally swinging correctly.
Throughout “how I learned to read and write” Fredrick Douglass describes his struggle for the illiteracy escape. He states “I was compelled to resort to various stratagems.” (Douglass 1) Meaning he did anything to achieve his goals. He was escaping slavery and illiteracy for himself and fulfilling those goals by not letting anything including fear get in the way. For example I’m very passionate about becoming a successful and skillful equestrian. I’ve been riding horses since I was six years old. I still make simple mistakes at cost to me- I’ve been kicked, stepped on, and thrown off a half ton animal and I’m still not afraid to get back on because I know when I’m riding at Worlds it will all be worth it because I’ll have a title that no one can take away.
Purpose of Education: Financial Security
Another purpose I would like to touch base on is financial-security. Washington says “It has been necessary for the Negro to learn the difference between being worked and working—to learn that being worked meant degradation, while working means civilization” (Washington 1). For Washington, the purpose of education was power, which leads to money having the purpose of education be financial-security. Washington said that “colored men and women were constantly being trained not only as farers but as carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, brick masons, engineers, cooks, laundresses, sewing women and housekeepers.” (Washington 1) The south was prosperous due to the cotton, sugar cane, rice and tobacco. Education was really important to Washington because he was the first colored man to be accepted into Tuskegee University. Financial security is not only important in this day in age to maintain a certain lifestyle, but to be a good citizen; like to pay your taxes, or donate to charities.
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote “Good Citizenship: The Purpose of Education” in her article she says that “The conventional answer (purpose of education) is the acquisition of knowledge” (Roosevelt 1) “Knowledge is essential and much to be admired, but no one can know all there is to know in the world” (Roosevelt 4). With those two statements I interpret Roosevelt’s quotes into having is knowledge you will be self-fulfilled although just because you’re highly educated doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know and you don’t have the right to be arrogant. Although going to school can help you with all of these things it can’t teach self-fulfillment alone.
With it being implied that I don’t want to be a waitress forever, financial security and self-fulfillment are the most important purposes of education for me. Financial security, because of making $2.13 and basically relying on the public for my source of income. Self-fulfillment, because I know I can do anything I set my mind to and I’ve set my mind to finishing my education.