October 21, 2014

I'm Tired of Uneducated People

Information is readily available to more people than ever before. According to a 2011 Census survey, 75% of American households had internet service and I'm sure in 2014 that percentage has increased. This percentage doesn't even represent the millions of people who access internet via their cell phones or at public places such as a library. If you have any kind of access to the internet, you basically have your hands on all the information you'll ever need. But not all information is good information, and I'll get to that soon.

When you read the title, I'm sure you might have passed some judgments about my comment but I have to be honest here. I'm tired of uneducated people, so much so that I had to make this post. Let me be clear, an educated person is not truly one who goes to school and gets a formal education. Being educated sometimes has little to do with schooling. I know someone who dropped out of school in ninth grade but he is one of the most educated people I've ever met. I also know some people in academia, with advanced degrees who have little education. What makes an educated person?

I believe an educated person is someone with common sense and common sense ain't so common. I'm a college senior and I believe I have become so much more educated because of college. I'm not a smarty pants that can quote Shakespeare, Keats, or Hemingway on the spot. I can't tell you everything about indigenous religions, Marxism, or the Sociological Imagination coined by Mills. I call that information. While I have studied a lot of information in college and I believe I am a well informed person, not all of it stuck but what has stuck is the education. I have learned to be thorough and tedious with my scholarly work, to pay attention to details, to be kind even when you don't understand, to always try to understand what you don't understand, to be self-reliant, that everyone has a different reality/everything is relative, and that all information isn't good information. These are some of the many things I've learned in college and they may sound super basic and maybe even common but they're quite the contrary. I believe these are all qualities that educated people should have, whether you have a Ph.D or not even a G.E.D. You don't truly need a piece of paper to be educated. Which is why some of the richest people in the world don't have beyond a high school diploma.

With so much information out there, learning that all information isn't good information is probably one of the most important things I've learned. Every time I'm on some social media site, someone is reposting some information from unreliable sources and passing it off as fact. It's so easy to create bad information but it's so hard to convince people that it's not something to be relied on. A few weeks ago, this woman posted on Facebook something about President Obama running for a third term. Several people 'liked' it and shared it with their friends. It was baffling that people actually believed it! Every American citizen should know that Presidents are only allowed to serve two consecutive terms. This is common knowledge! The bad part about bad information is that it spreads so quickly, and it's fire that's almost impossible to contain. Fast forward a few days, I'm in my Sociology class and we were discussing current events. One girl, raises her hand and says, "President Obama is running for a third term." I could've cried!

Just yesterday, someone reposted an article saying that "Betty White 'dyed' at age 92". The first clue should've been if they spelled 'died' wrong, then you ought not believe it. Thirty minutes later someone posts a status saying "Rest in Peace Betty White". These are the the kinds of things that scream 'uneducated' to me. Just the basic, checking your sources, reading and comprehending for yourself are imperative. I know you've heard the saying "Stand for something or you'll fall for anything". What you should stand for is the power of your own mind, not what someone else feeds you. There are millions of websites out there with their own agenda, 98% of them aren't reliable. .

I remember when I was younger, my mom would say "You're so smart, but you don't have common sense sometimes!" and I really thought that I was so smart, how could I not know common sense? It didn't register for me at the time but it does now. It's weird, I don't think I'm as smart as I was when I was younger. I was on advanced reading levels, always had the highest grades in the class, but as a college student I'm none of those things but I feel more educated than I've ever felt before.


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