I hereby reaffirm: The value of a good education

Walter Mongin

Making the choice to come to Lawrence was pretty simple. As a townie, I had been around the school for my entire life, so the little amount of research I put into it when I started thinking about college — “Is the English program good?” “Yep!” “Alright! I know where I’m going!” — was enough for me to decide that Lawrence was the right place for me.

And, fortunately, I was right! Within my first month on campus I learned many things: the way alcohol creates an inverse relationship between the goodness of nights and of mornings, that Plato is totally right about the objective reality of the universe, that Plato was totally wrong about the objective reality of the universe, that there is always something else to discuss, that a really good professor can make you want to change your major just so you can hang out with them, and more.

The most important thing I learned, however, is that everything is interesting. From Intro to Environmental Science completely changing the way I thought about the role of environmentalism and what the world physically is, to Acting 1 giving me sudden insight into how people view each other and conduct themselves in every part of life, every class in every subject I’ve taken has given me at least one thought-provoking experience.

This cascade of good times makes it seem all the more strange that I am leaving Lawrence after this term is over. But wait! I have reasons, and guess what? They’re interesting!

As I pondered my nearly-empty bank account at the beginning of this term, I wondered, “What exactly are my goals in life, and what am I doing here that is helping me achieve them?”

The answer I was surprised to find was that I didn’t really know what my goals in life were, besides wanting to someday go on tour as a musician at least once. Besides that, all the thoughts I had on my future were a long-term desire to do something that would help people in some way and an immediate urge to, paraphrasing Mr. Finn, light out for the territories.

Which leads me to the title of this article: A good education is something that I believe you have to make for yourself. Of course it’s easier at a school, since there are a bunch of caring, intelligent people there who want to help you learn. However, experiencing life can be just as informative as reading about it in a book if you keep your eyes and mind open, and that’s what I am planning to do in my year(s) off.

While it’s unlikely that any of you will still be students here when I return, I am looking forward to being the only sophomore in the VR and telling everyone about the time I ended up living on a farming commune in California for a month when I was biking around the country, and how Paul Simon ended up producing an album for me after I played at an open mic that he was attending. Though I won’t be on campus, I’ll still be bringing the effort and will to learn to all my experiences that I’ve had cultivated in me during my time here. I’ll be, if you will, a Lawrentian errant.

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