“I’m applying a therapeutic ultrasound system, one that creates cavitation bubbles in the body that breaks down tumors, towards breaking open timber & other tough tissue to release DNA and enable endangered species screening tests. “
As this sentence rolled off my dear friends’ tongue, I stood there, drink in hand and mind in a whirl as I tried to comprehend what I’d just heard.
I was standing amongst several Biomedical Engineers, all of whom were around my same age. They were taking turns talking excitedly about things that were, for the most part, flying right over my head. I looked around and realized at that moment I was quite possibly the dumbest person in the room.
Three years ago, I wholeheartedly believed that thought. It was a humbling experience to say the least. I remember that feeling oh so well, and it wasn’t the first time I’d felt it, nor would it be the last. That dear friend of mine had invited my husband and I out that night to celebrate the coming of the New Year with a few of his classmates and colleagues. We’d all went to high school together, and he’d graduated as our valedictorian. From there he’d gone on to study at Michigan Tech, and he was, without a doubt, a genius by all educational standards.
Myself? Well, I’d graduated somewhere in the middle of the pack in high school, continued my education by earning my Bachelors in Product Development from Western Michigan University, and then found my way into an account manager role at a designer shoe company in Seattle. I loved writing, fashion, and healthy cooking. Who was I in the midst of these geniuses?
I’ll tell you who I wasn’t. I wasn’t a person who knew a single thing about Biomedical Engineering. I’d never studied it, I’d never read a single thing about it, and truthfully it sounded to me like a term that would be used in the latest Sci-Fi thriller. However, that didn’t make me the dumbest person in the room. That made me the least educated person in the room in that specific field of study.
In the company of these scientists, I was no match for their conversation in their specialty. Yet as I’ve grown a bit and experienced a little more of the world I’ve learned that so is the way of the world in what makes us a functioning society.
Just as my friend knew about DNA, a farmer knows the correct planting seasons and agricultural maintenance that goes into a successful harvest. A mechanic knows why your alignment may be off, or how much longer you can safely drive with a bent tire rim. A homemaker knows the secret to getting the toughest stains out, and the best way to feed a family of eight on a tight budget.
Each expertise requires its own “geniuses”, even if the person is only considered so in their trade.
My great grandmother used to tell my mom, “You don’t necessarily have to know everything about one thing, you just have to know enough about a lot of things”. She was advising my mother that knowledge is power. This tidbit of advice now also securely stays embedded in my own brain. Thanks mom.
In our day and age, this is a much easier thing to do than it was for my great grandmother’s generation. We have the opportunity for knowledge at our disposal. No matter what background you come from or your circumstances, it is as simple as ‘if there’s a will then there’s a way.’
Do you as an individual have the willpower to persevere when the going gets tough? When things look hopeless, will you find a light? When you come to a fork in the road about your future, will you recognize that you do have a choice? If you think you don’t, then here are a few statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor and Education to help put things in perspective:
· 75% of crimes in the U.S. are committed by high school dropouts
· 90% of American jobs are not open to high school dropouts
· $200 more a week is made by high school graduates than dropouts
Some might say there are quite a few advantages to choosing education.
We are in a time when you can learn how to change the oil in your car by watching a 5-minute YouTube video. Where you can search Google for what the best types of houseplants or greenery are to start your new indoor garden, and have pages of answers, pictures, and even “top 10 best indoor plants” lists at your fingertips. You can even get a college education from the comfort of your home, without having to change out of those oh so cozy favorite pajamas of yours. My oh my, how our world has changed. The excuse for ignorance is becoming harder and harder to justify.
“He who opens a school door closes a prison” – Victor Hugo stated the power of education so simply in the best way that he knew how; poetically. For he was a poet, a novelist, and by all measurable standards a scholar. Now he sure knew how to write a meaningful statement, but how much do you think he knew about Biomedical Engineering? About the initial process of production that goes into designing a shoe? Or even, how to follow a conversation between a few army buddies that’s 95% composed of ‘inside army’ lingo?… Speaking from personal experience here.
Playing into his own personal strengths Hugo flung open a school door for himself and slammed shut any sign of a prison. He empowered himself with knowledge.
Like Hugo, we are all able to sidestep the imaginary metal bars that our own doubts and fabricated capabilities can try to enclose us in. If we allow ourselves, that is.
To believe that you are powerless in changing your circumstance, or that you aren’t capable of becoming more is the same thing as locking yourself into that prison cell & throwing away the key. We are all capable, and we all have a school door open, even if when you open that door you find that you’re the only one in your class. Just ask Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, or J.K. Rowling, they seem to have done all right in their special fields of study.
To place limits on yourself is to imprison yourself. Be curious, pick up that book, watch that YouTube video, or Google search anything and everything to your heart’s desire.
Learn a skill, learn a trade, learn a passion, learn something. Let it drive you, let it intrigue you, and let it empower you to know that if you do, you will never be the dumbest person in the room.