My 46-year-old sister decided a couple years ago that being just a few credits shy of her bachelor’s degree and working for a city that reimbursed her for educational expenses meant she had no excuse not to complete her degree. She enrolled in a university that specialized in late-bloomers and devoted a year’s worth of Saturdays to getting her BA. Her sense of relief when she’d finished was enormous; her pride in hanging the diploma on her wall even more so.

To me, who took a long and winding road to earning my own degree 20 years ago, the idea of going back to school, especially while working a full-time job and raising children, was simply too unpleasant and overwhelming to even think about, and I was awed by her discipline. So now, in honor of this all-education themed issue, I am here to extol the virtues of education, no matter how late, how inconvenient, or seemingly impractical. I truly believe you can learn something new every day … if you’re willing.

I think education means submitting yourself to the process of learning. I looked up the various definitions and the one I like best is “to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically, especially by instruction … the process of being educated.” I take that to mean we should open up our minds to ideas that aren’t our own, ways of doing things that we didn’t come up with. In a way, I think it means being willing to change.

This issue is packed with ideas on education: the state of it, ideas on reforming it, complaints about it, praise for it (what else would you expect from a magazine that bills itself as “Advanced Education for Nail Professionals”?). I’d like to advance the idea that education doesn’t have to stop when you finish your formal education, whether that was at a college or at nail school. What can you learn from an unhappy customer right in front of you, for example? Couldn’t you improve your business by learning a new computer program? And, don’t our competitors also teach us something about running a business?

In the spirit of this education issue, and in honor of my sister’s long-delayed commencement, here’s to being willing to change, and to learning something new every day.

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