I want to do something worthwhile. And while many people may disagree, I believe there to be nothing more worthwhile than learning and teaching, in any order (though, you should have learned something before you teach it).

Today’s world, I think, does not give education and/or knowledge its rightful place. Everyone wants an easy fix, a bottom line, measurable results. And they all forget how the “great minds” were rather ordinary people who came to extraordinary conclusions, and most were teachers. No test can measure a child’s potential, and if it could have Einstein would have never made it into the lines of history; because he did not excel as a child. I am sure countless others never would have changed the world.

Today, children are not being taught how to think for themselves, or even how to think at all. They are being taught how to succeed at testing, a fine idea if the world revolved around Scranton sheets; but it does not. The world rewards innovation, and innovation requires thinking outside the box. I believe only the rebellious minds of this generation will succeed at developing the changes that we all need and expect. The majority will, unfortunately, watch from the sidelines as history is made by the few who are willing to seek beyond what is offered to them, which is not much.

I see this children using calculators for simple math, and I think of all the cashiers who will not be able to give change without a computerized register and the great mathematicians that will never be. I hear about kids watching “the movie” instead of reading “the book”, and I am saddened by the lack of interest and commitment for themselves, their educations, the life of the mind, their minds. And I find kids going to Yahoo! Answers for everything from their research paper to their math homework to their physics questions, and I can’t believe how the technology which required the answers to most of those questions – to be sought by those who developed it – is the same technology which allows for the next generation to fail.

Every day I find myself saying: “It’s a different world out there.” I say it to my grandma, who doesn’t understand how a secretary only needs a high school diploma but someone in business needs a master’s degree to succeed. I say it to my mom, who went to school and did all she was supposed to, but can’t get an interview that’s worth the time she takes off her current job. And I say it to myself, constantly, because the world I grew up in is no longer the one outside my front door – no matter what door that may be.

Yet my greatest hope remains that there are younger people out there who are like I once was: inquisitive to a fault, skeptical and cynical beyond the shadow of doubt. Those are the people who will seek answers to all the questions that may arise, and some that have been asked for centuries. Those are the people who will lead academe, who will bring innovation, who will find cures, lead a new generation into a better world.

I am still inquisitive, skeptical and a true cynic. But I hope I will have the opportunity to share what has been shared with me. What has been shared by all the teachers who ever took the time to guide me and enrich my life; by all those who cared enough to put their thoughts to paper (or papyrus or sheepskin or whatever was available at the time); by all those who ever shared their thoughts in deep conversations and truly had something to say; by the professors who were kind enough to laugh at themselves and admit that learning and teaching are not exclusive of each other; by my family, who never tried to dissuade me in my educational journey and mostly encouraged it all along; and by all who have ever existed, because of them we have common knowledge and a thin layer that connect all humanity. I want to share what is most precious to me, something intangible.

That is what I want.