During International Education Week 2015, WES Student Advisor asked you for submissions for our third annual Essay Contest. The prompt was inspired by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – "Intelligence plus character: That is the goal of true education" – and asked readers to explain how studying abroad can impact a person beyond academics.
We received some great submissions, and over the next month, we’re going to share with you our favorite four. Today, we share with you the second runner-up, written by Dyutee Dawda, of India. Way to go, Dyutee!
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What is the meaning of education? Is it going to school and memorizing lessons? Does earning a degree define our education? Or, perhaps, getting a good job? These elements all play an important role in applying our knowledge and skills, but none of them truly define our education. When an individual converges his mind, body and soul to achieve a higher goal – that is true education. Education is a meditation of the character. It is the attainment of knowledge, skills and discipline to work toward a life goal. In fact, education is what helps us to set the right goals. An unenlightened person may spend his entire life in search of an ambition, let alone working toward one. Hence, intelligence and character are the two most important goals of true education.
This thought reminds me of an interesting incident involving two doctors in a reputed hospital of a city. The first doctor was extremely talented and hardworking, always cheerful with coworkers, respectful to seniors and compassionate with patients – an ideal human being. The other doctor was supremely intelligent, ambitious and reverent to seniors, but vilified his juniors and assistants at every possible opportunity – an ideal doctor and employee, but not a great human being. He would perform the medical treatment well, but not treat the patients well. Over time, his reputation grew tarnished and he was left with only a small fraction of the patients he had before. The first doctor, on the other hand, touched the heights of glory in no time and became the best doctor in the entire city. Hence, even though the second doctor had all the skills a physician needs, he failed because of his lack of character. The other one, though not as skilled, prospered due to the merits of his character.
Knowledge is an important part of education, but it doesn’t constitute the whole of it. Character is key, and that is why we revere people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Malala Yousafzai.
-Dyutee Dawda, 2015