From the beginning, humans have relied on their extraordinary capabilities for storing knowledge to build upon previous innovations and breakthroughs. This quality was one that proved instrumental in distinguishing Homo sapiens sapiens from its predecessors, such as Homo neanderthalis, and remains extremely useful to this day, as academics of all fields make new discoveries and increase mankind’s knowledge about the world through careful thought and research. These studies comprise the foundations of scholarship.
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The insatiable thirst and desire to learn more about the world around us has boiled the blood of our ancestors, who pioneered the inventions and discoveries of everyday items of the 21st century. Take the light bulb for example, which was made possible by the research of scholar Humphry Davy and a host of others, including Thomas Edison. The impact of contributions of scholars worldwide have made to the global society has thus been enormous. Even today, scholars working in applied research fields are scrambling like eggs to find the solutions to society’s most pressing problems, such as global warming, the lack of sustainable energy sources, and sex trafficking.
It is evident that scholarship fills a large role in society, by consistently providing new and improved solutions to problems we face and improving the daily lives of millions around the globe. Even moral dilemmas that shed light on the human psyche and condition are constantly being debated and explored: in March 2016, the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla due to safety concerns. However, this incident sparked a huge debate, especially in Internet forums, instigating fiery discussions and social interaction, eventually spurring essays published in the media about the viability of modern zoos (Angier). In essence, this is the spirit of scholarship: building caring and global citizens who follow current events and even synthesize it to the next level, delving deep to investigate the underlying issues and promoting a deeper perspective rather than a shallow clickbait headline or meme.
In contrast to popular belief, scholarship does not only encompass learning a certain subject to a high level. Scholarship includes, in and of its nature, the skill of ‘learning how to learn’– as Socrates once said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” This is the primary reason enthusiasm for scholarship, one of the four tenets of the National Honor Society’s mission, is so important: ‘learning how to learn’ prepares scholars to become students for life, and instills a true love for learning, even within non-academic fields. While some may belittle trades such as manufacturing, agriculture, or hospitality, all involve different skillsets which require an eager mind and willingness to learn to master. Those with the initiative to pursue increased scholarship are inevitably able to contribute more to society and become more successful in their personal pursuits, as they have already demonstrated a key characteristic in looking to improve themselves through learning.
Enthusiasm for scholarship is also important because in many ways, it is a characteristic that keeps on giving — scholars of all fields become role models for the next generation of students, whether in a professional, educational, or even familial setting, spreading the spirit of learning even farther into the future
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