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Gac Filipaj: Unfortunately, an Education Outlier

“The richness is in me, in my heart and in my head, not in my pockets.” Gac Filipaj, first-generation Yugoslavian immigrant and janitor turned Columbia University graduate

What integrity.

Integrity for pursuing education for the sake of learning, for the sake of personal enrichment, for self- and cultural awareness, and all of the other reasons that people shake nods of disapproval at, as if you had just told them a joke and they chose pity as their laugh.

Sure, this isn’t the Enlightenment and we’re not all men and women of the Renaissance, but we need more people like Gac, people that are unafraid to let their curiosity lead them, and fewer people asking questions of students that sound something like, “Well, what are you going to do with that?”

I can hardly say that such pursuits make the world a better place with any scientific proof (refrained from jumping down a rabbit hole and into a night of Google research on this one), but I do know that they make for more interesting conversations with strangers on the subway train.

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