Ravenclaw Thoughts, Ted Talks

Education is incredibly precious.

My grandpa and grandma at my graduation

My grandpa and grandma at my high school graduation

When my grandfather came home from WWII, he was adamant on going to college. He used his GI Bill, got his books, and excitedly went to all of his classes. Soon into the semester, my grandpa realized it wasn’t easy to transition from surviving war to surviving class- he was already a grown man in so many ways, school seemed less gripping, somehow. After the novelty wore off, his mind often wandered and he began to slip into bad routines. One day, he was dawdling and walking lazily to class when the Dean of Students, a strict Irish Jesuit priest, called him into his office. From what my grandpa said, this man changed his life. “An education, the dean said,” is the only thing that will get you the dream of a professional life, family, and future. Start thinking!” It was like a chiropractor knocking the bones back into place. It stayed with him, and he set that bar for everyone in my family – education was the biggest priority. And, it was a blessing.

I was thinking about this story because I watched a Ted Talk today about a girl who went to school in Afghanistan while it was under Taliban rule. She talked about going to school disguised as a boy, sitting in a living room-turned-classroom with 100 other children, and having week long random “vacations” when someone was tipped off about her school. I was beyond excited with a snow day or that glorious half day which never came often enough. Now, thinking about her situation, I am again reminded how lucky I was. At the time when this woman was growing up, it was illegal for women to go to school. She is 22 – she is my age. There is something about her story – something I felt when I was reading Harry Potter – about being the same age. The parallels and complete differences between her life and mine let me hear her story with new ears. It wasn’t a news broadcast, a campaign tool, or a war movie. It was a life going on at the same time as mine, except with very different circumstances. According to her, only a few hundred women were educated until high school at that time – that is utterly opposite than the 50% of women who made up my classes. Her grandfather was disowned from his family for allowing his daughter to be educated – I don’t know what that looks like. We have seen Malala, the Girl Who Lives, and her amazing act of standing up for education in the eyes of death. This talk reinforces and adds to the story.


Time and again I have learned that education is precious – it is not something to covet, take for granted, or flaunt. This woman from Afghanistan said that her education would not have been possible without her grandfather and her father’s advocating; they believed in her so much, had such big dreams, that they would not let her quit nor would they let her be barred from learning. I thought about my Ravenclaw family who is absolutely famished when it comes to their thirst for knowledge and how lucky I am to have them as advocates in my life.  This talk (and this one) made me excited to be part of the HPA and Equality FTW – everyone needs to have an advocate, one person that will actively fight for your future and start building the foundation for greatness. Education is only the first step to equality.

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