Today I watched a couple of interesting videos from TED, ideas worth spreading. The first was a talk done by Seth Godin, Stop Stealing Dreams. This talk was one I’d heard before, partially out of my own mouth. It’s the idea that creativity is being stifled by the education system and the increase in standardized testing.

I had a conversation with my sister when I was 16, before I left for my exchange trip to Germany. It was about a class she was taking and a book she was reading, a book which discussed how ineffective standardized testing is at actually determining capabilities and intelligence, how it doesn’t really prove anything. Ever since that conversation I’ve never really cared about them.

The second video was by Sir Ken Robinson Bring on the learning revolution!. His conversation touched me specifically, particularly with his comments regarding ADHD. He discussed how 100 years ago people wouldn’t have been given a ‘disorder’, they would have been told they learn differently, or that they were more inherently dancers and creators. Being able to sit and learn doesn’t prove anything either.

I don’t think intelligence or ability has anything to do with how much formalized education you have. Sure, a certificate is great and all, but only because educational institutions say they have value. How many people do you know who get a college education, even a PhD who don’t realize how little it really means in the end?

For me, my diploma is only important because it reminds me of the awesome things I had the opportunity to learn in school. Amazing things about Germany, Scandinavia and the Medieval Ages. I think the only thing a diploma can mean to the outside world is that I’m able to finish projects I start. You can also prove that by simply creating something and sharing it with the world.

I have a good friend who paints. She’s awesome. She didn’t know much about painting when she started, but she’s kept with it. Now she’s creating awesome pieces, and continuously expanding her knowledge. She’s creating and doing things, and she completes things. I like to think that part of that is comparable to what a degree means to many college graduates. The difference is, she does this all of her own volition. She’s not being told by some professor that it’s a requirement, she’s choosing to do it. How many college graduates can say the same?