Curiosity is Nature's PhD
The constant quest for knowledge is something we should all thrive for, but a PhD isn't the only validation of excellence...
For many of us, the pressures surrounding education and our pursuit of it can seem rather daunting. Many that come from impoverished, low income backgrounds, or minority communities don't have parents, mentors, or peers as an example of where higher education can take you. For myself, growing up as a first generation Nigerian-Cameroonian American here in the states, my parents always worked to make sure that I had a better life than they did. Thus, the perspective of school was always something that was deemed a standard, a mission, an expectation. This in itself, however, didn't prove to be the driving force behind my educational goals.
As a youth building Lego blocks through trial & error, understanding the structural and foundational elements behind my constructions, was the beginning of my engineering roots. During college, it wasn't the long lectures from my professors that instilled my knowledge of the subject. It was the time spent in study hall with peers, asking questions, watching how others studied & interpreted data, and making arguments against the presented subject matter. Post undergraduate, as I grew to have a better understanding of myself as an individual, it definitely wasn't a PhD that put me in front of amazing scientific minds discussing everything from black holes to neuroscience.
Curiosity proved to be my one tool that no degree or lack thereof could teach me how to master.
Not knowing a subject should never be connected to you being inferior. In fact, not knowing is a badge of honor as a scientist. The very method that scientists use, the scientific method, is completely based off the unknown. Making a hypothesis, conducting multiple experiments, reviewing the results, and then testing all over again, is the only way we truly learn about a problem at hand. Though you should be okay with not knowing, being content with not knowing is a whole different issue.
Being content eliminates the drive to understand further. It's the acceptance of the unknown, absent and devoid of achieving knowledge. Being curious and having a passion to acquire knowledge about a subject can elevate your mind to similar places that any textbook or mastery course can take you. Without curiosity, the very existence of higher education itself is simply an illusion. How can you even be "lost in the moment" of educational dominance without the spark of curiosity? Trust me, Mom's spaghetti wouldn't be enough. (And if that reference is over your head, I hope curiosity takes you down a B-Rabbit hole).
As humans, homo sapiens, mammals....curiosity is one of many instinctive characteristics that connects us as integral parts of the animal kingdom. It's the environmental condition that we're all a product of since we first evolved. It's what has ensured our survival over the course of thousands of years. It's what will lead us to possible future civilizations on the Moon, Mars, and potentially other intergalactic destinations. Without the existence of curiosity, our ability to innovate and reshape the world around us turns into a stalemate platform of mediocrity and subpar-ism.
While we all struggle in our own different ways to maximize our talents and take advantage of the resources & opportunities afforded to us, it's important that we don't let the standardized goal of any paper trailed education be our limiting obstacle. We were designed to do more, to know more, to thirst for something greater. Tap into the curious spirit you were born with. It's what nature always intended.