A life well-lived

NOVEMBER is mid-term season. For some students, the end to their first term of post-secondary is closer than their first day of classes, while others are about a month away from finishing off their certificate, diploma or degree.

Essays, tests, projects and research proposals abound; words get written at a million miles a minute as deadlines approach quickly, appearing to outpace time itself. Libraries, heads and free-time get filled. Blank pages prove more unnerving than usual.

I always fought ‘writer’s block’ by using quotes by great authors, public figures or historic leaders as inspiration. Outside of trying to start a paper, quotes are a good way to find motivation in general, or to add a few short words of wisdom to the day. This week, this quote jumped out at me:

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey – a fitting person to quote in a column about education – could not have said it better.

Both parts of the quote are true, because the practice, discipline, learning and determination involved in acquiring an education are useful when looking to acquire a job. The same goes for the enhanced level of commitment and engagement required to excel at school – it’s needed in the workplace and community-at-large, too. Organizational skills honed by students balancing academic, extra-curricular, work and personal lives will no doubt be employed in post-post-secondary life. Teamwork, as any reader could attest to, exists not only in classroom ‘life’, but in life in the workplace, at home and in the community.

Dewey’s quote is important for a secondary reason: That spending time at university or college in pursuit of a higher education is life.

Not only do the skills and knowledge learned shape thought, they shape character, too, and their application further shapes other abilities and values.

Education breeds opportunity while being opportunity: The chance to push personal limits and definitions of excellence, to make connections, to discover one’s self, goals, interests, to discover the world through learning.

And a life spent learning – whether that be reading, practicing, studying or in the application of skills and hands-on learning – is a life well spent.


Hayley Woodin is Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Media Specialist. KPU offers the Metro Vancouver area over 145 programs through campuses in Surrey, Cloverdale, Richmond and Langley. Learn about what over 18,000 students learn annually at www.kpu.ca.