An education is a passport: It is not the reason to take a journey. It is not a ticket. It is not a destination. It is a tool to help you get where you want to be. At the same time, as a passport can be used for ID even when you’re not traveling, an education has a twofold effect: As you learn, you simultaneously expand your opportunities to learn. I found this out at a very young age.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico in a family with a lot of relatives in traditional professions – medicine, law, academics, teaching – and from a young age I was encouraged to read. In a short time, I became a voracious, indiscriminate reader of anything and everything that was in front of me, in English or in Spanish. Be it National Geographic, Bohemia (definitely not a magazine for young readers), books, The World Book Encyclopedia, newspapers, or utility bills. I was expected to do well in school and to obtain a college degree. I also observed that in my large extended family, some had not followed the traditional professions, and they also had attained comfortably middle-class, stable, livelihoods.
When it was time to choose a college major, it was time to ask myself: What were the traits that my successful relatives shared in their educational backgrounds? The first thing was, they all had learned something useful for which there was a demand. The pre-baby boom generation needed not only teachers and professors, doctors, and engineers, but also workers who knew the technology of the day. While they entered fields and occupations that interested them, they kept sight of how their interests would fit the employment landscape. They had passports while they kept sight of the trip.
Each of my successful relatives set out to learn all they could about their jobs and their fields.
They could express themselves clearly and professionally to co-workers, colleagues and clients. They all had made their own learning.
As they made their own learning, they identified and explored the new opportunities that learning opened up to them.
The most successful: never stopped learning.
As in any journey, you need to identify your vision when you decide to pursue an education. In college, I majored in marketing and economics because I’m interested in business and money, and because those two fields afforded flexibility in employment options. I pursued an MBA at night while working full-time, with my employer’s encouragement. My long-term goal has been to remain flexible. I have worked in retailing, real estate, insurance, and on the board of a local non-profit, which led to new opportunities in education-related fields. This in turn, led to a deeper interest in literacy and literature. Recently, I completed an online certificate program in English-to-Spanish translation, which supplements my blogging and my teaching at a local language school.
As you need to renew your passport, you also need to update your skills. By updating your skills, you stay ahead of the competition and become a more valuable worker, and you become more challenged in your job and in your everyday life. You are taking advantage of new opportunities. You are excited about the new blessings your work brings you and your loved ones. Your loved ones, in turn, become inspired by you.
Your purpose becomes your deeds. And it all started when you set out to get that passport for your journey: the education you had been thinking about.
Change is inevitable. But, making change happen when you want it to can be hard. And when you want to make a real change, you need to learn something new. Because education is the key to change, Kaplan has spent 75 years re-writing the rules of education. Because they believe that education is not one size fits all. A system focused on the needs of individuals can give students the power to change their lives. Kaplan wasn’t satisfied with the status quo, and you shouldn’t be either. To jumpstart your change, we encourage you to watch Kaplan’s video series, Visionary Voices, to hear the latest insights on emerging trends from notable thought leaders; participate in Kaplan’s ADVANCE: Career. Education. You. group on LinkedIn to connect with professionals committed to life-long learning; and connect with students, alumni and educational professionals at StudentAdvisor.com, Kaplan’s one-stop-shop for the latest education news, reviews, and advice.
I’d love to hear from you and learn how education has given you the power to change! Leave a comment below and be entered to win a $100 VISA gift card!
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