Education was the magic that transformed my life from a single mother on welfare to my lfie today as the owner of a multi-million dollar company.

I had the drive, the passion to make something out of my life—that has to come from within. But it was my education that showed me the direction and gave me the tools to make it happen.

The thirst for knowledge, the search to find a better way, to learn from others through their books or seminars or magazine articles—for me, it is a lifelong quest. So often the lessons I learned from the experiences of others, shared through their writings or lectures, have opened up entirely new worlds of thought that I might never have figured out on my own if I had depended solely on my personal, first-hand experiences.

I believe the pursuit of knowledge not only gives you a competitive advantage in life and in business, but also keeps you alive and vibrant. As long as you continually strive to learn more or how to do things better, you never become old or obsolete. You only become a more unique and valuable vintage.

That being said, I found that my formal college education provided me with a breadth and depth of knowledge that I would not have achieved on my own. There were mandatory courses on the curricula for both my college degrees that I never would have personally chosen. I thought I was being tortured having to take them—writing, sociology—if it wasn’t math or science I just wasn’t interested. But I would have missed out on so much, my view of the world would have been so much narrower, if I hadn’t taken those courses. In fact, I’m sure I would not have been able to achieve the success I’ve had in business without them.

Another value lesson I learned through my college education, that was totally unexpected, was the discipline of persisting toward my goal even when there were things I didn’t want to do. Cramming at 3 a.m. for a final or to put the final touches on that paper due the next day is not that different from the discipline I often need to persist at achieving my business goals.

So my message to every young woman is: Education is real magic. Thrive on a life full of new and wondrous knowledge!