Whether you choose to accept it or not, education is an important tool (if not the most important tool) one must keep sharp throughout your lifetime.

Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch stresses the importance of education and puts forth resources to help those in need, especially students with learning disabilities. Often, the question comes up, “Do I even need an education in today’s world?” The answer is always yes.

Sure, those who might not have gone to college might not see the benefit in it, but even those who enter the workforce right after college (from the construction worker to the start-up entrepreneur) have likely been educating themselves in other ways.

School, essentially, carries the sole objective of helping students learn how to learn, that way they can view the world through an analytical lens when appropriate and useful (hint: a critical mind is always appropriate and useful). School and education bring ways to achieve success in society today — both through knowledge gained via educational courses as well as networking with colleagues and industry professionals, which is facilitated through schools and educational establishments.

Education in general helps lessen the challenges a person faces in life and also gives a person tools and techniques to navigate challenges that present themselves in today’s complex world. New opportunities come about from knowledge gained that will help one achieve more desirable possibilities in their career, not to mention in their personal growth.

Consider the 20th century alone, where education has played a crucial role. People with higher education were more easily qualified compared to that of a person without any sort of extended education — those with education are seen (and often prove themselves to be) better suited and prepared to perform the sort of tasks that careers tend to demand and in meeting job and leadership standards. In the 21st century a bachelor’s degree is equivalent to what a high school diploma was last century — so do you think education is still important?

Education also gives us a knowledge of the world around us, and in an increasingly globalized world, this helps a person develop a new, less rigid perspective and a new way of looking at life and other cultures with a more open mind. We learn how to analyse information and build opinions — building our points of view in the process.

It’s up for debate whether or not education is the best way to gain knowledge. Some might argue that education has to do with gaining information that relates to the surrounding world while gaining knowledge is something entirely different. But can information be converted into knowledge without utilizing education? Seems like a catch-22 of sorts, or a chicken-before-the-egg sort of question that generates a lot of fruitless, circular arguments.

It is, however, beyond argument whether or not education makes us capable of interpretation. If you apply what you learn in the textbook to your own life, the result is applied knowledge via quality education, which is the responsibility of the teacher to provide and the student to utilize. Whether you believe in education or not, the world is only getting more and more competitive. Education is a fantastic and proven way to get ahead — if there’s anything that’s been proven throughout history it is that simple fact.