The Ultimate Education

Zinaye Tadesse, an undergraduate premed at USC.
ften times I ask myself if the education that I have received 
was ever worthwhile.  I have always received a public-school 
education.  As a matter of fact, I went to a junior high school 
and high school (Foshay Learning Center) which was close to the 
university I am currently attending: the University of Southern 
California (USC).  Growing up, the University of Southern California 
seemed like an impossible dream.  The education I received was 
insufficient to prepare me for the standardized tests given to high 
school students across the nation.  Preparation for higher education 
is deficient; mandatory information about college is not given to 
students.  However, receiving an inferior education from a public 
school strengthened my character and enhanced my perseverance to do 
great things.  My passion and determination brought me to the 
realization that I can accomplish anything.  I was fortunate to grow 
up in an environment where education was upheld a great value.  
I understood that the only key to success was to go through the 
narrow gate that people rarely are willing to enter because they do 
not take advantage of its offer.  Attending the University of 
Southern California gave me the opportunity to mentor under privileged 
students about education through an on-campus program called the 
Joint Educational Program (JEP).  I believe education is interlinked 
with educating others, not solely on subjects such as science, math, 
or English, but by passing on the information of the prominence of 
education.  I feel compelled to pass down the torch to the unfortunate 
who do not comprehend the ability that one will gain after receiving 
education.

The atmosphere of my university is not at all the way I expected it 
to be while I was in high school.  At USC, the education is fantastic!  
I have never learned so many things in such a short period of time.  
I probably learned more things in one semester than most of my years 
in high school.  I am in the pre-medical field.  The classes that the 
university is making me take are overwhelming.  I had doubts of my 
capability to continue with the field, but when I compare myself with 
my classmates I feel that I study more than they do, and am retaining 
a lot more information than they are, because they have already learned 
the material and do not want to go in depth with the subject, whereas 
I am learning the material for the first time.  The difficult stumbling 
block that I conquered was time management.  School takes up your time.  
One tends to forget that other activities must be in their lives so that 
their knowledge can be broadened.  One should experience different 
settings besides the classroom because it is eminently favored for 
future occupations.  My personal experiences with extra curricular 
activities at USC are endless.  

The most phenomenal activity that I will continuously participate in 
involves the education system through Joint Educational Program.  In 
the Joint Educational Program, I have the opportunity to mentor 
disadvantaged children in any grade level.  I did not hear about this 
great program until my second semester of my freshman year.  Actually, 
I probably would not have ever heard of it if I did not decide to take 
Sociology 150.  In my sociology class, participating in the JEP activity 
was mandatory for credit.  After my first day with JEP I knew that I 
would spend the rest of my college career part taking in this 
community-based service.  As I said earlier, education has many forms 
and one of them is to pass information to other students about education 
itself.  To have the power to be the guest in an environment where other 
students look up to you and yearn to hear information about higher 
education is breath taking.

I was excited about joining the JEP because the school that I 
volunteered to was my former high school, Foshay Learning Center.  
I became a mentor to students that were in the same position I was in 
a year ago.  The students were very attentive.  Their ears yearned for 
the vital information that I proceeded to tell them.  I served them 
hard cold facts that stunned nearly half of the class.  What helped me 
the most was attending to that high school and being aware of other 
students (from USC) who were fortunate to receive a private education.  
My sociological claims from my class were awesome.  I tied in what I was 
learning in class with real life situations that my mentees were in to 
help them understand the great dangers that they will face if they do 
not decide to pursue a higher education.  My supervisor, who was also 
the students' math teacher, loved my enthusiasm and honesty with the 
statistics.  Passing the torch to students gives me a sense of closure 
of doing benevolent deed.

Most of the students asked me about my experiences at USC.  I told them 
the truth.  I gave them a taste of reality.  I informed them about changes 
that surpassed my college career and how fast I grew to become an 
independent adult.  I told them about my experiences with Chemistry and 
Biology.  The combination of those two classes were strenuous because 
we examined cells to genes, performed experiments such as Drosophila, 
sponification, chemical kinetics, and electrochemical cell labs.  In 
these experiments we did procedures such as dissections, chromatography, 
electrolysis, electrophoresis, staining cells, and centrifuging proteins.  
In all, I enjoyed the labs because they interrelated the information from 
the lectures to real life situations.  The changes that I experienced 
reinforced my desire to pursue humanitarian goals.  The students were 
astounded by the workload but felt alleviated that they found out about 
it before it was too late.

Motivation.  The majority of the students at USC have been raised in an 
environment where higher education has been drilled in their heads.  
Their families already set up payment plans so that their children are 
definitely receiving a higher education.  However, students around the 
USC community have been raised in just the opposite light.  Parents want 
their children to receive a high school diploma then work and help support 
the family.  Higher education is foreign to the students in South Central 
Los Angeles; I witnessed the horrors.  If it were not for my mother, then 
I probably would have been flipping proteins rather than learning about 
them.  Giving motivation and inspiration to the students at my JEP site 
was fulfilling.

Attending USC redefined my future goal.  My high school environment caused 
my peers to internalize feelings of being a failure.  However, my inner 
strength allowed me to beat the odds.  This strength and self-esteem will 
allow me to complete college, medical school, and give resources to 
students similar to my peers to ensure their success in life.  When I 
become a neursurgeon I want to be an example to kids.  By that time I 
will have already reached my financial goal and open a center to children 
that can provide what I lacked in my childhood: chemistry sets, excellent 
professional tutors, international internships, and much more.  USC has 
given me many ideas and many opportunities to start on my goal right now 
in my life so that I can have a foundation.  The ultimate education is 
to help others to receive what you have received by telling them where 
and how they may be fortunate like you.