I’ve educated myself in the school of hard knocks

Terrell Wright
Streetgangs.com Staff Writer
February 8, 2006

I’m tucked away in one of the many California schools of hard-knocks. The environment here is surreal in one great sense, but it’s all too painfully real in another sense, the sense of reality, which governs and dictates chaos. Hundreds of young men will travel through the door of hard-knocks, and once they exit from the outer limits of the world they only know and understand, they will be subjected to all types of vices, laced with treachery, deceit, and survival of the fittest codes. It is here, in the schools of hard-knocks, where man can literally witness another man, either conform to the rules of survival or succumb to the status-quo, all because of a lack of “know how” and “when to”.

Yes, the school of hard-knocks, is a terror dome, which will eventually alter and change most young men, who enter through its gate; but there is a well kept secret tucked deep underneath the thick lava flow, which obscures everything else her: I’m talking about the opportunity of one being able to re-educate themselves.

In these isolated islands full of violence, there’s still an inkling space, where one can take advantage of the amount of free time on one’s hand, and commit one’s self to the betterment of self-but its up to the person. I’m a prime example: Yes, I’ve been known to actively participate in the organized and not so organized chaos around me, but amongst my peers here, I’m also known to actively participate in all the educational opportunities, which the state reluctantly provides and that which I provide for myself. The latter option of education is weighing in more.

In a sense, being here can be looked on as being away on some type of vacation, where one has the adequate amount of free time to do as he pleases. But, once again it is up to the person. Either, he can become lost in the thickness of drama and the political tension here, which runs rampant and unabated. Or, he can take this large amount of free time and do something constructive with himself. Then again, he can also maintain a perfect balance of both worlds.

Times seems to stand still behind these gray walls, and to some degree, this is true for the incarcerated. Unfortunately, society waits for no one. I’ve learned to take advantage of my free time and began to educate and reeducate myself. I have noticed the difference in how people treat me as the come into contact with me since my reeducation process. I can see that they see the difference in my demeanor, my speech, and the confidence that I possess.

It is through my deeds in elevating my mental state to which I accredit the many doors opening. Now, I am able to comfortably stroll through these doors. I’ve noticed that the energy of my education tends to make people gravitate towards me. They enjoy orbiting in my space. Now, more that ever, since the step towards my re-education they seek out my opinion.

Books are plentiful here, and they vary in selection. Whatever it is that you crave to understand, I can assure you that you will find it in this massive University. But, just like any academic institution, there are enormous amount of distraction. The distractions I speak of in this environment are hazardous to the lives of these students. They are not the typical distractions you would normally find on the University of Southern California campus. In fact, they are not the typical distractions you would find anywhere else. You could only find the type of distractions here, in the school of hard knocks.

This is where the nature of your discipline comes into play. If you are a determined soul, with an adequate amount of self-restraint, and a thirst to revamp yourself, then you could do it.

It is true that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. There is nothing more rewarding than to be acknowledged for your achievements. I know first hand, because I receive these praises all the time. People are always telling me that “you are so smart” and “you are so intelligent.” So, there’s nothing wrong with lifting the books and educating yourself. In fact, it is something I enjoy doing, and I don’t place any restrictions on myself anymore.

I’m a re-educated soul. The only difference between you and me is that I attend mine from the school of hard knocks. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you get your education. But, it does matter if you have one or not. Listen to me, and take it from someone who was told, “He would never accomplish anything in life.” Hitting the books has proven all my critics wrong. Wrong in every aspect!

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