Wheel of Fortune
Education is a gamble. Parents spend so much money on a future that’s not guaranteed. They pay for the books, the fees and the uniforms. Then in the end, what happens if the kid is a slacker and comes back home with an open mouth to be fed? Maybe that’s why it’s better to have a dozen children. One of them has to come out OK.
Education is a gamble, but the odds are still better than playing the lottery. Even so, the appeal of hitting it big keeps people spending their precious money on a ticket of chance. Sometimes the numbers come in a dream or are etched in tree bark or found at the bottom of teacup. There are enough stories of people rescued from rags and flung into riches to keep people hoping. I wish there were more stories about people who have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps.
When the winnings are so big, people are not afraid of debt. There are stories of people cashing in their future meals, confident that hitting the jackpot will cover their debt. In some countries, vendors hand out tickets on credit and are willing to collect when the booty comes in. They’re counting on someone hitting the lucky number. Otherwise, they too are out of luck and have to swallow their losses. That seems pretty risky to me.
I don’t want to be Puritan about this pursuit because some people have fun. What is life without a few risks? It’s a diversion from drudgery and gives people a glimmer of hope. Actually, I’ve been corrected on this thought. No, it’s not fun and no, it doesn’t offer a real hope. If anything, it confirms the big game in life that only a few hit it big. It’s more about privilege than chance and every ticket bought reinforces the belief that success is only a lucky break. Can education break this cycle?
Education is a gamble, but the odds are much better. It’s supposed to teach us that nothing is free. Success comes from hard work, not from chance or the cycles of karmic birth. Unfortunately, not all education is so pure. Education can institutionalize us back into those very same cycles of purgatory.
The numbers on a lottery start to blur with the figures on tests and grades. The chance of winning a bit of money starts to feel like the luck of getting into a good school. The debt credited to a diploma and future job starts to look like the way people spend anticipated money long before it is delivered by some providence.
Some countries are faced with the problem of graduates not paying back their student loans. The government has already bet on a chance by giving out low interest loans with the assumption that graduates will be able to pay them back. Some don’t return the money. Hoping they can slip through the cracks, some believe the system won’t catch them and many can’t catch good paying jobs or find employment at all.
Many people think education is a gamble because the cash is not immediate. Who would buy a lottery ticket if the results didn’t come out until ten years later? We’d forget to even check. For me, investing in education brings golden returns. Almost every day I’m greeted by someone I’ve taught in the past. They remember me and tell me how far they’ve come in life. They’re proof that the odds can be beat and that everyone has a chance.
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