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Our education needs more passion. The humanities harbor meaningful stories and truths. You receive the narrative of human history in these classes — the origins of your country and maybe even your family. The sciences teach you about your body and hold information crucial to human existence. The arts teach what it means to be a human being, and allow you the invaluable privilege of expression.

All this information helps you grow as a person and understand the world around you. Education is a process that has the incalculable potential to make you a better person. Unfortunately, the manner in which we are taught does not help us fully appreciate the meaning and importance of our education.

We are members of an educational system that values the memorization of facts more than the appreciation of concepts. In a country where qualifications on a resumé mean more than character and what you wear matters more than who you are, we tend to focus on the wrong things.

The responsibility of extracting the invaluable lessons that repose within the lectures we attend day after day belongs to us, as students, and to our professors. As students, we need to understand that if we do not relate the information we learn to ourselves, it will mean nothing more than a question on a test to us, and the entire purpose of our education will remain unfulfilled. As professors, we must teach our students that dates and facts wane in importance when compared to the human experiences in the knowledge we are provided with. Professors need to be passionate. Without passion, education is simply information; there is nothing meaningful or beneficial about memorizing facts and regurgitating information.

We focus on the wrong things. We focus on letter grades rather than knowledge.

The process of growing as a student and a person has become incidental in our educational system. We need people learning for more than a grade, teaching students as more than a part of a routine, we need passion. We need an education system where the appreciation of the information takes precedence over letters on a transcript. This needs to occur if we desire true learning for our students.

When was the last time you truly pondered the trans-Atlantic slave trade and really thought about the atrocities that Africans were subjected to; let it affect you? When did you last think about the sacrifices Martin Luther King Jr. endured for his beliefs? What about Cesar Chavez, the Trail of Tears, the raped and pillaged peoples of Latin America and Asia? We learn these events, their dates and details but we don’t appreciate them. We don’t value or pay them enough respect.

Occasions where teachers are truly invested in communicating something to their students tend to be the exception when they should be the norm.

Try to learn from your studies. Feel, ponder, and grow. Do it for your sake, and our own.

 

Belester Benitez is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached at bbenitez@uci.edu.

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