I come from a small town in Lithuania. I am the only family member with a University degree. Education mattered to my family, but for one reason or the other, they ended up not finishing their degrees and went for apprenticeships. It’s nothing wrong with doing either. However, education matters.
What’s good with studying? If you ask me — EVERYTHING. Education takes you out of your comfort zone; broadens your horizon; gives you hope, knowledge; joy and the list continues. You get the gist.
My experience of studying is a bit different than the most. I went to a University while I was working. I was classed as “a mature student” because I wasn’t in my teens. I did go to a University straight after school but I hated the subject and decided to switch to another but I never continued my studies in Lithuania.
When I got to study in London. I chose a subject I loved for my degree. I love reading books so I studied English Literature. I thought by the end of four year (part-time) degree while I was working full-time will give me exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be well read. What I had learned in those four years of my life I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else but a University.
I always used to get the same question “why would you study something that you won’t be able to get a profession from?” That question was wrong on so many levels. One, you can get a profession from studying English Literature and there are many options. Two, you get transferable skills which not many University degrees have.
This question used to anger me. I chose the subject because I loved books. I still love books. I love the magic the books give you. With reading comes writing. My whole four years consistent of a lot of reading, writing essays and exam papers. Writing and reading it’s the best education you can ever have in my humble opinion.
English is not my mother tongue. I went to extra lessons on Saturdays for a while to learn how to write. I went to so many free writing courses within the University. I learnt the Anglo-Saxon way of writing essays. I learned the grammar of writing in English. It was fascinating.
I had great grades and bad grades. I wrote great essays and bad essays. I used to love and hate some of the course. But I absolutely loved it. I loved everything about it. I cried when my English degree was over. I loved it so much I created a literature club.
It was hugely successful even though I say so myself. Amazing lecturers gave talks on diverse subjects. I had great attendance. All of it was done from pure love of the subject. What it taught me, was I can achieve anything with love, determination and persistence.
However, it was super easy to do. I was in the right environment to create a momentum. The magic was in people connecting and sharing their ideas of diverse subjects. Most events went out of my pocket but it didn’t matter. I loved being in an environment where people learned something and could connect.
What this whole system gave me is so much more than a degree. People say travel is the biggest education one can get. It’s the same with a University degree. It’s an old fashioned view to think you only go to a University to get a job afterwards.
An education is much more than a job. Life is not about a job. One super smart woman told me once: ‘Choose carefully what you are going to do for the rest of your life because you have to live with it not from it.’ That stayed with me. An education challenges your way of thinking. We are all the same.
If you don’t have a degree or if you haven’t travelled you think others are better than you; you think the grass is greener on the other side. What education and travel gives you there’s no difference between Lithuanian people and the English. Yes, the culture is different, however, the fundamental things such as love, happiness, sorrows, joys are the same. It’s universal. It’s not different. A woman anywhere in the world wants the same goodness for her children as your mother wishes it to you.
Education matters because it teaches you to be a human. It teaches you not only a new subject but things about yourself, others and the world. It teaches you there’s always more to learn, more to read, more to create, more to progress and more importantly be kind. An education matters because it gives you options and you can choose. Education gives you wings to more light, freedom and love.