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How Do You Build An Educated Mind? - ETCSINES

How Do You Build An Educated Mind? - ETCSINES

Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with a senior colleague of mine in the office, and he said: “know something about everything and everything about something.” Imagine you are versatile to an extent to which you can deal or relate with Politics, Commerce and Economy, History, Sociology, Health, Science and Technology, basic principles of Mathematics, and having the ability to speak more than one foreign language.

I think it is important for me, here, to correct an erroneous notion. Education is not just going to school and obtaining an academic degree. I know you may want to argue with me when I say that some people have obtained academic degrees including higher qualifications such as Master and Ph.D., yet they are not educated. Education is “having the knowledge capacity, competence, and skills that have been acquired over time and applied to solve problems.” What about a graduate who has gone to the university to study Mechanical Engineering for six years and can’t identify a part of an engine? Though, he has been certified by the university as fulfilling all requirements for obtaining the degree. Now, what is the essence of knowledge that cannot be applied?

Let me give you a fictional illustration of what an educated mind is. Simon Adewale Coker, who is a competent legal practitioner, has a Master degree in Law (LL.M) from a Nigerian university. He is very eloquent in speech and has an excellent command of English, with an exceptional competence in ICT and computer applications, as well as vast knowledge and ability that cut across Politics, Business, Economy, Health, History, Sports, Scientific and Technological Innovations, Literature, Leadership, Public Speaking and other multi-faceted areas of knowledge. This is a typical portrait of an educated mind – someone who has a high level of competence in his career and knowledge capacity in other diverse fields and schools of thought. 

Now, how do you attain the height of such a standard? How do you build an educated mind? Take note of the word “BUILD.” Nobody is an island of knowledge; they only build themselves to that standard. 

√. Have a strong passion for acquiring knowledge: There is one thing that is peculiar to people with educated minds – an unceasing hunger, desire, and quest for knowledge. When I was in 100 level, during my university days, I got so interested in my course of study that I spend up to six hours in the university library studying, not just because I wanted to pass exams (that was not my primary motive at all) but to acquire much knowledge as possible about what I was studying. I went the extra mile to study up to five different textbooks and materials just for a single course, ensuring that I have acquired adequate knowledge. Passing exams will earn you the certificate, but the knowledge, mastery, and expertise you’ve acquired will earn you a career. 

√. Study beyond what is taught in class: I know you’ll agree with me that 90 percent of Nigerian students demand areas of concentration (AOC). They want to avoid the commitment of studying broadly by narrowing their attention to specific topics that are likely to appear as exam or test. The cumulative knowledge you’ve acquired is what matters a lot. 

√. Watch documentaries, read books as well as newspaper and magazine articles: When I was in SS 2, my favorite T.V. channel was Nat Geo Wild. That term, I was among the best three students in Biology. I wasn’t a Science student, but an Art student. My exposure to the documentaries on Nat Geo Wild gave me a vast knowledge about the natural habitats and peculiarities of animals and plants, which were coincidentally the major topics of the subject for that term. There are also documentaries on Politics, History, Sports, Tourism, and Culture, Science and Technology, among several others. As a journalist, for example, you don’t need to get another degree in the field of Health before you acquire some knowledge about health. There are books, articles, resources, journals, encyclopedias, documentaries and other materials that can help you. A book that costs N600 can save you from a costly mistake of N600 million in the future. Ignorance kills!        
The greatest enemy of excellence is mediocrity. Without an educated mind, you are an alien to the modern world. 

Writer: Daniel Owa-George

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