On Becoming Thankful for Education

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Sunpreet Singh, 2015 Finalist and QuestBridge Blogger

People love expressing thanks. Thanks for polite gestures, good health, and many other things. As Thanksgiving is upon us, I want to talk about something that often isn’t appreciated enough, or given thanks for, and that is education.

For millions, education is a privilege and ultimate path to freedom. For others, it’s something that’s taken to be ordinary, making it underappreciated at times. For myself, education surpasses predetermined boundaries of socioeconomic status or commitments to jobs and other activities. Education is a gift in its true essence; it allows individuals to liberate themselves from their situations and to pursue their passions.

Over the years, I’ve seen my fair share of students who aren’t thankful for their education. In fact, I was once just like that; I didn’t appreciate education until high school. In middle school, I never really fit in with the regular crowd because of my appearance so I always ended up cutting class or hanging out with the wrong people due to problems at home and my innate desire to not be deemed as a nerd or pariah. However, I’ve come a long way overcome my past issues and that’s largely due to one of my inspiring teachers, my close friends, and my supportive Humanities Small Learning Community. In addition, I don’t think I would have turned my life around to become an aspiring QuestBridge Scholar without finding inspiration in my Sikh faith in high school. This foundation has led me to constantly try to learn more to deepen my understanding of the world, academics, and moral values.

When I entered high school, I felt myself and my environment maturing quite a bit, albeit I was only a 13-year-old high school freshman. My feelings and mind were extending beyond just maturity, I was now internally motivated to promote education in the world and around my community. This inspiration drove me to start a student group at my high school to provide tutoring and college counseling (with the help of my amazing college counselor Ms. Gordon). This has helped override a language barrier for several South Asian students to promote a college­-going environment in my large school.

All in all, I’ve learned a lot in my four years in high school and 16 years of life. But if there’s anything that has stuck with me more than anything, it has been the importance of education. It is with education that individuals from a plethora of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds can have access to the same resources and opportunities, like attending a QuestBridge partner college.

So as we approach the time of giving thanks, let’s not forget to say thanks to organizations like QuestBridge, our schools, teachers, and loved one who promote our pursuits of higher education and fulfillment of our dreams, regardless of how far they might seem to be.

by Sunpreet Singh, 2015 National College Match Finalist