I’m not sure how I want to start this. I have my notes but am unaware of how to structure this, so I will go with the flow and hope for the best.

I would say that I have a love-hate relationship with education. Education is something that both intrigues and frustrates me at the same time. Sometimes, I am a sponge and want to learn new things about people, topics and life from anyone and everyone. But there are also times when I just shiver at the thought of learning something, especially regarding things to do with education.

For me, it took a while for me to see how learning and education connected. I would say that learning and education are far from related to one another – as much as it seems to be. I love learning, but I wouldn’t say I like education. I love learning, but I’m not too fond of tests. The things we learn during our education are not necessary in the real world and for life. There are also things that I believe should be necessary to learn in education that aren’t taught, and it baffles me why these aren’t taught.

The main things that I believe should be taught in school are finances, mortgages, and credit – even lessons on life itself. These are subjects that should be compulsory in a teenager’s education. Once they leave school or college and enter the real world, they are just left to learn everything from scratch – hardly using what they learned in school. I believe that unless you are going into further education and want to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc, there is no need for university or further education past school.

I don’t think education caters to those not well-versed academically. I know for a fact that I am not the best academically; I am not a theoretical learner whatsoever. I prefer and have always preferred practical learning. I feel that needs to change so that those who aren’t as theoretical don’t feel different compared to their peers.

In my early years of school, I used to love learning; I loved the feeling of getting things right and understanding the topic in each subject. I tried my best for the first few years and honestly put in my best effort. It wasn’t until I got older that my love for learning, or my love for education, changed. I operated backwards compared to others, as others typically would get more serious as school went on.

Usually, you would play around the first few years; then, in the latter half of your time in school, you would buckle down. That was not me. The first few years, I did my work, extra work, and homework, and then when I got into year 10, I fell completely off and could not keep up or grasp anything I was meant to be learning – and I wasn’t sure why – until I got older and began to understand what type of learner I am.

The more things got difficult to understand, the less I tried and stopped putting in the effort I once did. The more things got theoretical, the more I checked out. As a result, based on my previous years and attitude towards my learning, I didn’t leave school with the best grades that were predicted for me. I did well for the subjects that I enjoyed and the coursework, but I did terribly for the exams. Let’s just say – I was glad to leave the subjects I didn’t enjoy behind.

Once I left school, I knew I had no desire to continue my education because I hadn’t even applied to any colleges properly. I went on results day, applied, and got in. I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I didn’t know what the next step was, so my only choice was to go to college. I can honestly say that it was a waste of my time for those two years, education-wise. During the first few months of my first year, I never attended any lessons; I played basketball and bantered with friends. It got so bad that my college called home, and I had to meet with my mum and the head of the department.

I had no desire to continue my education, but I proceeded to finish college with a qualification in IT. I know that had I tried harder, I would have left with a better grade, but I also know that I didn’t learn much. Once I got into the real world, that is honestly when I started learning properly in my life. 

In life, we learn through our experiences. Now, am I saying I didn’t learn anything or have any experience during my education? No, I am not saying that at all. But I am saying that the subjects we need to be taught in school must be in the school curriculum 100%. If I had a subject called ‘LIFE’ – teaching the wonders of life, the ifs, buts and maybes that life has to offer – I would 100% have chosen that subject. It would have prepared me for everything I was going to experience.

It’s funny; I left college and got an apprenticeship – I was in the real world and lost. The real world scared me. So I decided it was a gap year and went to university at the last minute – so that I could have that protection and bubble from what I was experiencing. I was running away from education, only to run back to education. Did I learn anything while at university? Life skills, like paying rent, managing money, working. Did I even attend my lectures and seminars? I will leave you to decide if I did or didn’t.

I remember debating with someone when I mentioned that credit and finances should be taught in schools. They responded that your parents should teach it, not schools. I understood what they were saying to an extent. Looking back now, I think that I understand less and less with my own experience with life and the following:

I am of Caribbean descent; my parents were born in the UK and are essentially part of the first generations of their family to be there. Both their parents came here from Jamaica and Montserrat, knew nothing, and started from scratch. My parents had to grow up with no one teaching them and learning through their own experiences, just as many of us learn from our own experiences. All they saw was their family providing for them growing up, so they did the same.

The older I get, the more I realise that no matter how old you are, you will always learn and have an education. I wouldn’t say I liked the term education because I related it to school. 

The reality is life itself is a never-ending education. We learn daily from our experiences, other people’s experiences, and guidance, and we hope to do better every day.

Never be afraid to learn something new, no matter how hard it may be. Life is an education – and I am glad I finally realised that.