This essay is in response to the Brown supplement prompt, "What don't you know?"
Any feedback would be wonderful, I tried to be as detailed and concrete as I could :)
I had just dropped off a friend at her mother's apartment when it happened; a loud pop that I accredited to my little car's battle with Canada's fierce piles of snow. I ignored it at first, until my sister alerted me to a strange rattling coming from the back. I turned off the main street that would lead us to the highway and pulled into the parking lot of a pretty church before flinging the car door open and beginning my trudge through the snow. I tried to believe the tire would be fine, that maybe that awful crunching sound had only resulted in a scratch in the paint or a dent in the door, but to my dismay, the tire was fully deflated and barely holding up the car with its limp form. That's when it really sunk in: I had taken driver's training and read the test booklet from cover to cover, passed my exam with flying colours and been driving for months without an issue, but now, faced with a useless piece of rubber and the middle of the night, I was completely ignorant.
I hurried back into the driver's seat and called my parents. Sleepily, my father told me he was on the way, and fifteen minutes later the deserted street was momentarily alive with the headlights of my dad's car. I was relieved, assuming that he would walk me through the tire change, but his immediate reaction was less than optimistic.
"This is something you do every ten years...I don't remember the last time I changed a tire!"
We decided to take our chances, our toes steadily losing their feeling, and searched my trunk for the spare tire and a bunch of metal rods to help us in our mission. My dad and I had figured out how to use the jack and began raising the car with slow, shivering turns of the handle. After an hour and a half of twisting, prodding, kicking and freezing, a tiny black tire replaced the ruined original, and we could finally make our way home.
Besides the fact that I should always carry extra mittens in the depths of a Canadian winter, this adventure into vehicle repair showed me that some of the most important knowledge isn't be found in a classroom or textbook. Those academic sources are a great place to start, but looking past the curriculum to the why and how of every question is what opens your eyes to the world on a thousand new levels. On Brown's campus, I don't expect to learn about cars or repair, but I know I will be pushed to explore the world beyond books and search for answers and knowledge in the people around me, and I will always be invited to admit my ignorance in search of the truth.