My personal belief is that the pursuit of academics and academic achievement is something of a personal nature. The common misconception within the general population is that academics are individuals who praise themselves and look down upon those who didn’t further their education. On the contrary, academics are some of the most kind-hearted, caring, and curious individuals that I have ever met.
My personal story begins with the pursuit of a Computer Science degree from my local university. I naively walked into the major thinking it would be filled with individuals who enjoyed video games, coding, and creating websites. I was quickly thrown into a world of high-end mathematics, data structures, and everything in between. The world of Computer Science was nothing like I had expected prior to attending my classes. I struggled at first I must admit, but the longer I stuck with it, the more I grew to love mathematics. I was in constant battle with trying to understand the algorithms and logic behind each and every equation that we were given.
In that struggle I discovered many different strengths and aspects about myself that I never knew existed. The largest characteristic that I didn’t know that I had was personal strength and determination. I failed many of my early tests and I was forced to leave my comfort zone in order to seek guidance and help on certain problems. Not only did I expand my limitations, I also interacted and networked with people whom I deemed much smarter than me.
The next value that I extracted from my endeavors was that of misconceptions about certain people. As previously stated, I saw my peers as talented super-geniuses that would scoff at the idea of helping me with basic principals of Computer Science. Despite my belief of this, I swallowed my pride and made myself vulnerable to them – admitting I wasn’t knowledgeable about a topic and I needed a helping hand. With fear and self-doubt in my voice, they agreed to help and did so with great enthusiasm! They guided me through the steps like a mentor would cater to their mentee – I was ecstatic!
My final lesson that I learned from the time I spent with my fellow academics was that of truly understanding what it means to be intelligent. I noticed that the people who made the most impact in my field were rarely the individuals who had perfect GPA’s or straight A’s on all of their tests. I was quickly brought to the realization that true knowledge is that of applying it and finding a solution. Fake knowledge is the person who memorizes and entire textbook or speech and thinks they’ll be able to solve real world issues.
All in all, the academics and individuals within higher ranks of education ultimately want more people to seek truth. To be curious in the midst of confusion and unknowing rather than scared and intimidated. Take the first step forward- it’s the hardest.