By Kassel Franco Garibay
More than half of the children in the world are not learning. According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics’ 2017 report, more than 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving basic proficiency levels in reading or mathematics. Across the world only 6.7 percent of adults get the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, and yet every day I am baffled by the amount of people around me that take their education for granted.
I have seen people playing video games on their computer while they are supposed to be taking notes. I have heard people blatantly saying they could not care less about their grades and assignments. While I am the first person to say that grades are not an accurate representation of a person’s wit or value, for too many people they define their future. To many students, good grades are the only way that they can advance from one level of education to another. Not everyone has the money and means to simply not care about grades.
People whose parents went to college (and particularly those lucky enough to grow up with parents that went to graduate school) often forget how much of an advantage it is to have that connection. Just researching what college to go to can be a daunting task for someone that is not fortunate enough to have parents that can offer guidance.
People need to realize that they come from such a place of privilege. While some treat college like a given, they need to understand that they are likely sitting next to a student who is incredibly proud to be there. Students who never expected to find themselves at a university should not be made to feel inferior because of it. For many people worldwide––for over two-thirds of the population of the United States––going to college is not a given.
For students who truly appreciate the opportunity to attend a university, it is always disheartening to talk to people who consider themselves “cool” for not caring about grades or skipping class for no reason. For example, here at Drew it is a requirement to learn a foreign language. Beginner level language classes are filled with apathetic and entitled people who are just taking the class to get the requirement out of the way. The professors struggle to get students to participate, and those students that are truly interested in learning the language (many of them who have never had the opportunity to study a second language) are left feeling self-conscious for actually showing up to the class prepared and interested.
Just to be working towards a bachelor’s degree is a privilege in itself. So next time you are laying in bed and consider skipping class for no good reason (Note: here at The Acorn office we completely understand sometimes you have to skip class for mental health, academic or time reasons), think about the fact that for 93.3 percent of the world’s population, college is not a readily available choice. So think twice before showing up to class without a pen and thinking you are cool for it.
Kassel is a sophomore International Relations and Women & Gender Studies double major with a minor in Latin American Studies.
Graphic by David Giacomini