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Appreciate sacrifice for education

Staff Editorial

On October 25, 2012

In spite of skyrocketing tuition costs at public and private universities, there is cause to be sheepish when joking about the "arm and a leg" that college will cost.

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager, has sustained a greater toll for her and others' education. Malala, a world-renowned crusader for education rights for Pakistani girls, was shot recently by Taliban operatives on her way home from school, having been targeted by the extremist group for her progressive stances. Her dramatic sacrifices, ongoing as she struggles in a British hospital, remind us of the importance of education.

Education equips students for the future and the present. It enables individuals, families, communities, civil society and government.

While the idea of attending class isn't always enticing, what is gained from the courses taken can be invaluable. Students can emerge from a classroom invigorated to the possibilities that lie open to newly expanded minds.

Not every class may seem this captivating; an entire lecture can revolve around an arcane principle of philosophy. A lecture on the cellular make-up of a body part can feel as useless as the organ itself. However, when understood, these principles can prepare one for more advanced learning. A student who advances through higher education will stand better equipped to become a contributing citizen.

Malala's campaigns have uprooted her from what could have been a quiet existence and placed her in a position of influence. In that position she has advocated for the rights of many.

Her ambitions have also thrown her life into jeopardy. Her horrific ordeal has not quieted the spirit of the work she carried out. Legions of her fellow Pakistanis and supporters around the world have rallied in recognition of her efforts.

She fought for education for all regardless of gender. Inherent in that pursuit is the recognition of the value of each person. Every person is potent and able to effect change.

To deny another the right to education is criminal. To deny ourselves by not being more engaged in our learning is tragic.

Malala reportedly would like to go into politics; she has also been cited as having aspirations toward becoming a doctor or a pilot. Many can relate, with career goals fluctuating even now as interests change. Education aids and abets our dreams and helps formulate a path for our interests.

What does an education mean? Is it a meal ticket? Is it a means to an end? Is it a drag on our time and our funds? Is it a way to quiet nagging relatives' concerns about what we're doing with our respective lives? Certainly it could be any one (or all) of these. However, the great significance of education cannot be buried under these characterizations.

Honor Malala's sacrifices in the way you carry yourselves these next few weeks on this campus. Heighten your respect for and engagement in what you are learning, and know that it has the potential to do the same for you. Learning can inspire, enrich and enlighten us all with no exceptions.

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