For CSI: New York‘s Hill Harper (Dr Sheldon Hawkes), school is a platform that elevates the mind and creates options.
Harper graduated from Brown University as well as Harvard Law School, but he chose to become an actor. “Yeah, I do a profession where you don’t even need a high school diploma to do it, but I believe that the way I go about doing what I do is informed by my education,” the actor told The Madd Hatta Morning Show. “So that applies for everybody. That’s why I’m a huge education proponent.”
“I believe that school and education is about foundation-building,” he explained. “Education buys you options.” He added that people think they have to go to school for something specific, but in reality education can give them more options to do whatever they want. “Go to school to get your mind right,” he said. “Go to school to elevate your thoughts so you have more options.”
The actor described the experience of President Barack Obama as an example of someone who used education to elevate himself. Harper and Obama attended Harvard together, but they took different paths to get there. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” Harper explained. “I just knew that I wanted to learn more, so I went to grad school for that.”
The future president, on the other hand, returned to school after years of community organizing. “He came with a different purpose,” Harper said. “He came knowing exactly what he wanted to do, knowing that he wanted to build his foundation educationally.”
“He made the choice that most of us wouldn’t be able to make,” the actor continued, explaining that many people express the desire to return to school but never do it. “If you have an intuition that you haven’t finished school, and you’ve said for the last five [or] ten years, ‘I’m gonna go back’—go ahead and go back. It’s worth it.”