Just around the corner from my office is the impressive, gigantic University of California, Berkeley. It can be hard to conceptualize the scale of the buildings here, so you will just have to trust me, they are HUGE.
The scale of the building is truly emblematic of the size of the UC Berkeley education machine, embodying many of the brightest minds, the most innovative ideas, and acting as an industry bellwether.
The juxtaposition between the tiny, hands-on education I am entrenched in, and the expansive nature of UC Berkeley, can be hard for me to negotiate.
I think to myself; “How can spending 15 minutes of my evening reading about Bitcoins be education when UC Berkeley is a 2 Billion dollar endeavor? My own education is trivial, and thus not really education”
What I have come to understand over the course of my tenure at FEDU and my own academic journey is that very rarely is education happening solely in the classroom. As Mark Twain said –and every high school yearbook since– “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” The point is that education happens everywhere, and regardless of where you happened to be located, the zoo, the mountains, or the classroom, there is education abound.
Walking around the UC Berkeley campus, I feel an energy emanating from the students and faculty; although the buildings are monuments dedicated to their pursuit of education, it is the pursuit itself that is commendably palpable. The buildings may be where they concentrate their efforts, but it is the excitement and enthusiasm they bring to learning that is of note. Please do not mistake this for a derision of academic institutions, but rather it is an enthusiastic appreciation of the sense of wonderment that which they uphold.
Next time you feel underwhelmed by your own efforts to go out and learn, remind yourself that education is all around, and that in all likelihood, you have been engaged in learning the whole time. Reading the paper is learning, hearing a cool fact is learning, participating in a discussion is learning, and even, yes, browsing through the different projects on Fedu.org is learning. Our day-to-day lives are filled with educational opportunities, it lies upon us to recognize them, and appreciate their significance.
Education is about more fully understanding the world, and just by waking up in the morning you are participating in learning. You do not need to be enrolled in a masters program or studying all night for a test to be “learning”, it only requires a sense of wonderment and the desire to connect with the world around us.
While creating global education initiatives may be a task too great for you or I, FEDU is enabling education on a scale that fits everyone ability. One recent FEDU event in India involved teaching students how to use an abacus, reminding me that just because it is basic and simple does not make it any less important to learn. Education needs not be esoteric and complex, and neither should its funding. FEDU wants to give people to opportunity to fund others’ education, working towards ubiquitous learning regardless of fancy institution and capital-intensive infrastructure. Learning happens everywhere, and so is FEDU.