Episode 3 – Never Educated Enough

-As promised, this is a rough transcript of my podcast episode. I will be following along this as my script, minor changes may occur as I speak and stumble over words. If you would prefer to listen, please subscribe on Spotify, or iTunes! –

Welcome back to episode number 3! Thank you for staying with me and just spending about ten minutes of your time to listen to this episode. It really means a lot to me whenever I receive feedback, whether in praise or critique, because praise shows me how faithful God is in encouraging me and guiding me along this path, while critique helps me improve on this new journey and endeavor. I have some awesome news, as I was typing up this episode I received notice that this podcast is now available on iTunes! That is super exciting to me, because I’ve always been an Apple noob, and I just started using an iPhone late last year when my android decided to semi-explode on me. I’m slowly working on building up the social media for this podcast, so I’ll let you know as these little steps are made! Now for the not so great news… Unfortunately, as you can probably hear, my voice is deteriorating a little bit. I went into the doctor’s to get a check up on my lungs which still haven’t fully stopped coughing, and somehow the medication has made my cough worse. So unfortunately, you’ll have to bear with my raspy voice this episode. On the plus side, Audacity is an amazing tool, and I can literally see and cut out every cough I make during the editing process. This is not sponsored, but I just wanted to give thanks to God for allowing technology to be so advanced nowadays, so you don’t have to listen to my ugly coughing noises. Anyhow, this episode may be purposely made a little shorter to compensate for my lack of voice, depending on how passionate I am as I am typing this episode. For those of you who are a little confused, I do type up my script first, and then read with semi-adjustments and improv as I stumble through.

This week, I wanted to talk about education. This one is kind of universal, but there has been a lot of stereotypes about Asian parents being particularly strict about education, both academically and extra-curricular. My family definitely fits that mold, and education has always been something that was a huge deal in my family. I was put through Chinese school, dance, piano, band, and it was never a question that I had to get good grades and figure out how to get into college… a “good enough” college, and graduate. My parents were really upset at me for not attending the best university, and to be honest, I felt really ashamed. I tried my best to look on the bright side – I did get into the best UC for my major, after all. It was hard though, within the community of my parents’ friends, I seemed like the dumb child who didn’t get into a brand name school.

Now that I’ve graduated, no one really seems to care too much about which school I graduated from. My Bachelor’s degree has been really helpful. Nowadays, with a decrease in job openings, having that expensive piece of paper has been a prerequisite in even getting an interview at many jobs, even if the job description doesn’t necessarily require any Bachelor degree to fulfill. But am I content? To be honest, not really. It’s been a little empty going thousands of dollars in debt to earn hundreds of dollars to slowly pay it off. If we’re really talking about money, I should have gone for a Business or Marketing major, but even though I’d enter a sea of possibilities, I’d also be facing a vast sea of competition. This is something that I’ve heard a lot of people around my age talk about – that while we “made it” through college, and we don’t necessarily regret the unique experiences we had, but we are a little miffed at our decision. I spent so many countless sleepless nights trying to get exceptional grades on AP courses that ultimately had nothing to do with what I wanted to focus on, academically. It boosted up my GPA, but it’s not like that got me into Harvard or anything. And even if I did… is the prestige of getting into an Ivy League and spending enormous chunks of cash on higher education for the sake of maybe earning more money really a sustainable model?

There’s a Chinese saying, “There’s always a mountain taller,” and I think that definitely rings true in terms of education. There will always be someone with better grades, better test scores, a better tutor, a more prestigious alma mater. There will be people who end up in better paying jobs. And ultimately, some people are honestly just born smarter, with a higher IQ, and can just store more knowledge in their bright brains. But why is it that in a culture that recognizes we should be humble, knowing that we can never be the best, shaming us for not being the best? Why are we ashamed when we aren’t the smartest, getting the best grades, going to the best school, earning the hardest degree, or earning the most money?

Before I continue, I think I need a huge disclaimer here. Education is very important, and I most certainly hope that the amazing people serving in specialized jobs studied hard, were taught well, learned to their fullest capability, and are earning wages that are able to pay off their many many years of dedicated education. I’m so encouraged by the time and work that these professionals have put into their studies and their service, and I’m in no way shape or form trying to undermine their academic and professional successes. However, I do want to point out that many professionals who seem to be earning a lot of money, are not actually earning wages high enough to pay off their student debt in a timely manner, not to mention after years of studying, many of them may be in situations where they also need to pay off cars, housing, and weddings. It can’t be prestige and money that motivates these incredible individuals, it must be passion – a calling – to serve a greater purpose.

The Bible mentions multiple times that God’s wisdom comes from a place that is beyond human knowledge – that while the wisdom of man calls for us to figure out the best, fastest way to earn money, buy a house, capitalize on stocks, and become successful, the wisdom of God doesn’t come from the mind, but instead the heart. Proverbs 14:33 says this, “Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.” The heart to understand others equips us with the tools to act wisely. James 3:13, reaffirms this, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” Intelligence can bring light facts about the world, but it’s cold. Cold, hard facts don’t give us any purpose. But wisdom guides us, and shows us our purpose through compassion and love for others. Wisdom leads us to understand that we weren’t made to climb up the ladder of success alone, because it’s a community effort. The Bible reminds us that as a community acting out of wisdom, “[Our] hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. – Colossians 2:2-3

And so, I end this episode with this: I encourage you to thank everyone around you for investing in you, and sharing life with you. Thank your teachers for passing on their knowledge to you. Education is very important, and I can’t stress that enough. But ultimately, what will you do with that education and head knowledge? God has poured into you wisdom through the Holy Spirit – you have the wisdom to invest in things that truly matter. And even if you are not a believer, I hope you see that your worth isn’t in a grade, diploma, or income bracket, but in how you invest your life for others. You don’t need an expensive university degree to love.

Thank you so much for joining me, if you enjoyed listening please share this podcast with your family and friends. I will be posting a new episode every Friday evening, and I will have a follow-up blog post every Wednesday on the UNASHAMED website (at unashamed.space). If you’d like to read more of my content through SSEWAN, you can also visit http://www.SSEWAN.com. As I’m transitioning into self-employment, donations in support of this podcast and my blog are greatly appreciated, but not required! You can support me through www.paypal.me/sharonsewan (or the DONATE button on the main page).

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