The Importance Of Becoming An Educated Person

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He grew up in a home with four older brothers and no father, and his mother couldn’t take care of them on her own. All of the brothers were high school dropouts, and he was the only one left. Tyriq Mason, a high school student just went through the motions like his brothers. Tyriq never did any of his homework assignments, nor did he give effort on his exams. It seemed like he was going to do gang-related activities like his brothers. Tyriq wanted more than that deep down, but he was just surrounded by the wrong people. He might ask himself, who needs school education when you can just be street smart? With that question rumbling through his head, it sounds like since his brothers can do it then so can he? Why should he care about being an educated person when he could be street smart like his brothers? Why can’t everyone do this?

I remember my freshman year of high school when I first noticed Tyriq. Low buzz cut, baggy jeans, a gold chain, and a black tall tee. He also wore some black Nike Airmax. We sat at the same table in Biology class along with a group of his buddies. From the image that they all portrayed, I knew they weren’t going to be the type to take school seriously. They were just there because that’s where their friends were during the day. I constantly noticed them using other people’s work, and not trying to do their own. I was an independent student to the point where I did my own work because I wasn’t going to school just to get by. I wanted to become an educated person. I knew if I didn’t cheat and did my own work I would truly know that my high school degree was deserving. Unlike the English professor Thomas Jones, who wrote the essay The Educated Person and Tyriq, I wasn’t going through the motions. Jones explains, “we just drifted from one classroom to another, followed the required paths toward graduation, and never took responsibility for making our own academic decisions” (Jones 12). Jones just showed up to class and did what he was told, and didn’t try to become independent in his studies. Tyriq looked to others for answers during school. He never made his own decisions.

Tyriq and Jones both took the easy route by just getting by. Tyriq used cheating off of others to get by, and Jones expresses how he just got by in his essay, “we have completed our college education without discussing the educated person question, without questioning the rationale behind graduating requirements, without any process by which to plan out four years of undergraduate study, and without any standards we understood by which to judge our educational progress” (Jones 12). Maybe it depends on a person’s background on whether it’s important to strive for better knowledge. Maybe Tyriq and Jones needed the motivation to work harder and achieve more. It could be a family member or someone at school. It’s hard to really know because how can someone know how to become an educated person? If a person doesn’t have the knowledge of an educated person, then they wouldn’t care to become one.

I didn’t know what a truly educated person was. All I knew was that I wanted to have a great education, attend college, and get a degree. After reading Thomas Jones’s essay I understand that becoming an educated person is part of a lifelong process of learning, study, reflection, experience, and action-not just four years of classes (Jones 12). These are the qualities for anyone to become an educated person. Jones didn’t actually know the answer to what an educated person was until giving it some thought on the day of his college graduation. He heard the question from a speaker. Jones just did what he was supposed to do and did not try to go beyond his potential. He didn’t take any action for his own academic choices and only settled for the bare minimum. It took some words of truth and encouragement in order for Jones to understand why he should care about being an educated person.

After reading Thomas Jones’s essay over again and giving it thought, I now have my own opinion about the educated person. I feel that the educated person is an overachiever or someone that goes beyond their limits through work ethic. Just not getting a degree, but actually digging deeper into their studies and also having knowledge about the world. With Tyriq and his brothers only being street smart, being smart in the class and digging deep into their studies and engaging in class could simply help them become an overachiever. That could be asking questions, or researching more about why they are being taught the information in certain curriculums. Knowing about everything is impossible, but having a degree in high school, college, having the street knowledge and knowing about the world truly expresses the idea of an educated person. We should care about being an educated person because nobody can take what we earned and worked for away. Having all of those qualities increases the mind of an educated person.

Furthermore, I watched the Movie Higher Learning to get more sense of the educated person. In this movie, Malik Williams, a big-time track star has the knowledge of being on a full track scholarship at Columbia University. With that being said, Malik can just go through the motions because he knows his school is paid for. Just like Thomas Jones in his essay, Malik drifts from one class to another following the required path toward graduation ( Jones 12 ). One day in his Political Science class his professor has him call some names off a sheet, and Professor Phipps express that the people called on the list haven’t paid for the class, and can’t attend class until they speak with the financial office. The financial office tells Malik that he is only on a partial scholarship. This gives Malik an eye-opener and he realizes how important it is to become an educated person.

Malik finds it hard to balance track and his studies, and the eye-opener from his professor forces him to come to reality. This is similar to Thomas Jones when he hears the speech from the commencement speaker about how important it is to become an educated person.“The speaker emphasized that the educated person question should be at the center of our professional lives (Jones 11). This means that people need to put their focus on becoming an educated person without distractions moving them away from becoming one. Both Malik and Jones have to wake up and face reality about the fact that going through the motions isn’t going to get them anywhere. Malik starts to focus on his education more even though he doesn’t understand the educated question like Jones. They both learn from their mistakes and become more educated.

In addition to reading Thomas B Jones’s essay, I have read many other student reference essays about the educated person in my DISC 1312 course. They all are outstanding, but there is one that stood out to me because it hit all the points of why it is important to care about becoming an educated person. The essay that I loved was Margarita Peterson’s, Veritas Liberabit Vos. It was very well written, and I knew right in the moment of reading it I could connect to some points that she made in my essay. For instance, she says, “Fear of wasting my life, fear of losing my precious time, fear of becoming a number, another dumb and mute number in statistics.

And so I got up every morning and fought through these adversities to become an educated person” (Peterson 93). In my high school years, I related to her because I didn’t settle for being dumb. I wanted more, and I knew every day I was going to have to work hard to earn anything and everything that I wanted. I wasn’t going to waste my time by just getting by in school because that wouldn’t have taught me anything in life. Well maybe to say that I completed high school, but who really wants to set themselves for an average asset? That is something that Jones could say even though he figured out later on in life that it’s important to become an educated person. Tyriq, on the other hand, chose not to figure out what an educated person is, and if he would have just woken up every day like Margarita and pushed himself, then he could have had a different turnout.

Understanding the importance of becoming an educated person is tough. If someone doesn’t know what an educated person is, then they simply wouldn’t care to become one. Tyriq following his brothers’ footsteps shows that he didn’t have the correct people around him in order to be pushed to his potential. Sometimes we all need to grow up, and start finding out what is good for ourselves and not care about what others think or say. This educated person question has brought a ton of scrambling thoughts to my head, but after seeing Tyriq’s story, and reading Thomas Jones’s and Margaritas’s essay, they all clearly show why it’s important to care about becoming an educated person. As Christine Gregoire once said, “Education is the foundation upon which we build our future” (Education Quotes). Life is about choices, and choosing to care about becoming an educated person will help everyone in the future. 

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