I am not sure how many of you can remember the Pink Floyd song “We don’t need no education” that came out sometimes in 1990s? It used to be very popular song at the time. Although I was a child going to elementary school at that time, I really liked this song. I really did not think too much of it then. Today, I understand little bit deeper meaning of those lyrics. It seems like, they were trying to explain that education is a structure that “sucks us in” frameworks and learning process that sometimes brainwash children. There is some truth to this social construct. I would love to do analysis of educational systems and theories of power and control at some other time. But, for me, education is everything. And this is why?
Young people I meet
I work as a social worker at acute psychiatric ward in hospital. I meet and work daily with all kinds of different youth and families. They are all different. But most of clients, youth, that come in acute state, are dealing with some crisis, mental health difficulties, addictions, self harm, suicide ideation, results of assault and violence, and list goes on and on. Young people I see struggle so much that it impacts their daily functioning if we do not manage to arrange proper supports for them in community and bring them somewhere close to their baseline. But what strikes me the most, is that the first thing that is impacted it that they stop attending schools. Here in British Columbia, Canada, there is no way to force them if they do not want to. There is no anti truancy law, parents cannot do anything, and they are left home on their own, if they want to be at that age, which still does not make sense to me.
What young people really want
Every day I have some story from my interactions with these youth. Some of those interactions change me, some of them make me think and some of them shock me. Yesterday, it was with my psychotic client, who was brought in as he was escalating because his parents would not give him money to buy weed. We had a discussion about Mental Health Act and why he was there, as he wanted to go home. He started raising his voice telling me how I am there just because it is MY JOB. He continued how I do not care, I will just collect money and go home. And, I said to him, “yes, you are absolutely right, and I am sorry you feel that way”. As it was true what he said, I had to add context to it . “But If I smoked weed, abused parents and did not attend school, I would never be here, I would never collect money and I would probably seek treatment too at this point”. He started cursing me. But I had to say it though, which was that reality feedback.
Why I love my job
Sometimes you have to give people reality feedback. Psychiatric social work is for me one of the best jobs I have had. Not just that it pays well but I simply love it. It meets my needs in terms that it is very dynamic, fast paced, challenging, with every day being different. But I spent years of education and gained experience to arrive here. I did not use substances but studied hard. We all have choices in life where to go and what to do. We all have choice how much we want to invest to receive wanted outcome. Nothing happens without investing time and energy.
Education is everything
If I can give any message to anyone about the key for success it would be to always keep encouraging youth to gain education. Education is everything. It opens doors, it opens paths, it connects. Without education I would not be where I am. Even if you have everything, you own the business and you deem yourself rich, never stop education. Study to grow and develop your brain, study to critically think, study to be better version of yourself.