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What are your educational values?

| Tuesday, September 18, 2018

There are different values and beliefs that have had an impact on my educational journey.

To begin with, when I was a child in Vietnam, I believed that a good education focused heavily on academics and I needed to perform excellently in every subject, whether I liked it or not. My goal in elementary and secondary schools was to get the highest scores possible and to be at the top of the class. I thought only those achievements would make my parents happy and proud of me. In short, a younger version of me strongly believed high grades equaled success.

Before I entered a gifted high school in Vietnam, I started to believe that everyone had a talent or a superior ability for a specific subject. I needed to take a challenging entrance exam to get into my high school and my English “major.” My exam score was all that mattered at that time. It took me a whole year to prepare for that exam day. Every day I lived with multiple practice tests, endless extra classes and a packed schedule. I still believed that the best student did not necessarily have to join extracurricular activities because education was all about intellect and competence. I got into the school I had dreamed of for a long time with a competitive major, but I could not have a balance between study and social life. Not only did I absorb myself in academic materials, but I also aimed for big nationwide competitions that I believed determined my potential future path.

However, when I moved to a new high school in the United States, I realized that to be a well-rounded student, extracurricular and leadership skills played such an important role. I started joining only clubs and organizations that I was interested in. Moreover, I enjoyed doing community service and helping people in need because it made me feel peaceful and rewarded. It was not until I held some leadership positions that I realized how person-to-person interactions and soft skills could get me anything and anywhere I wanted. Although I still had a busy schedule, I was living a balanced and enjoyable life. I believed no matter how difficult life was, as long as I pursued my passion and persevered, everything would be fine.

Now that I am of the first generation in my family to attend college, I strongly believe that a higher education will prepare me well for the business world as well as help me avoid the same difficulties that my parents struggled to overcome simply because they did not have a chance to attend college. College through my lenses, however, is neither a shortcut nor an elevator. To build a safe and stable building, workers need to cleverly utilize the best materials they have. Similarly, to build my business career, college is the best tool that I could obtain. Moreover, I want my beloved parents to be proud. The rate of my success must be faster than that of their aging so that I can support and take care of them when they get older. Hence, I believe pursuing an education in college is an ideal way to return what my parents have been sacrificing for me.  

My beliefs and values regarding education have changed throughout my life and have shaped me into a better self.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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