There is Always More to Learn (Writing 101, Day 5)

My younger brother recently turned twenty. On his birthday, we jokingly pointed out, “You’re not a teenager anymore, Sam. You no longer know anything.”

It’s amazing how age and study decrease your sense of importance.

Recently, I graduated from college and, if I learned anything in my four years at the University of Minnesota, Morris, it was that I am incredibly small. There is so much, no, too much to know. Even in my area of study, literature and writing, I feel like I know nothing.

If I decided to get a doctorate in literature, accumulating deep knowledge of texts and cultures from times gone by, it would take the majority of my twenties. Even then, my knowledge would be limited to a single subject—Victorian novels, Renaissance drama, Romantic poetry. I could study for years and years and barely scratch the surface… and that is in my field!

There are so many avenues I wish I could have visited in college. If I could go back, I’d up my Communication minor to a major and take as many rhetoric classes as possible. I’d insert a minor in Art History just because I love the subject. I’d delve into more History classes. I’d take another course in Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies, simply because the topic is culturally relevant and fascinating.

But college is over. Maybe I’ll go to graduate school someday, but that’s at least three years down the road.

Education truly is a gift. Through it, you learn how small you are. You learn that your point of view is one of millions. You learn to empathize with those who are different from you.

But academia is only one kind of knowledge. Now that I’m out of school, it’s time to pursue other studies—how to be a responsible adult, how to be good to my family, how to blog well, how to keep strong in my faith, how to take joy in every day. The biggest lesson is learning what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.

The beauty of education is that it really never stops. Inside or out of the classroom, there is still so much to learn.

This post is inspired by an assignment for the Blogging University class Writing 101: Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Fighting off the evil College Monster

Every once in a while, College likes to pick you up, toss you in the air a bit, and then to grind you into dust.  It doesn’t matter how diligent a student you are–no amount of non-procrastination shields you from its bloodthirsty gaze.  When College decides to devour you, you really don’t stand much of a chance.

But still, valiant scholastic warrior that you are,  you grab your textbooks, put your laptop in your bag (just in case) and step into the fray.  Wielding your mighty number 2 pencil, you are determined that no amount of homework, tests, and studying will defeat you.  You will not go down without a fight.

That pretty much sums up my week.  Unexpected projects and assignments have come up, leaving me to study every second of the day and still come up short.  I hit a point where I was sitting in my Visual Journalism class listening to the computer services guy teach us Adobe Premiere Pro and I was near tears from stress.  I felt like screaming, vomiting, and sobbing helplessly all at once.

But I didn’t.  I didn’t scream.  I didn’t cry.  And no, I didn’t vomit.  (Thank goodness.)

(If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve NEVER gotten this overwhelmed in my sixteen years of education.  Except for maybe that one time in fourth grade when my teacher made me cry.  Which is another story entirely.)

When the lecture was over, I plugged in my headphones and went to battle.  My tactics included a rude comment to my hover-happy professor about how I had a lot on my plate and just wanted to work.  I felt a bit bad, but that was soon lost as I began logging raw video footage for my big project due on Monday.  After a bit of that, I went off with my group to shoot another interview (producing another 45 minutes of footage to review before I can even think about entering the editing phase).

I miraculously had enough time to grab a bowl of cereal from my apartment, which I ate as I walked across campus and sat through the weekly IVCF large group meeting.  I sent the bowl home with my roommate, headed to the library to write the three page paper due tomorrow that I hadn’t started till today because I was too busy doing other assignments.

This is slowly turning into a rant.  I apologize about that.

The evil monster of College was out to kill today.  It certainly kicked my butt, and I know I’m not the only one.  Everyone I come across seems to be having one big terrible day.

Thank goodness it’s over.  Yes, I still have a mountain of work to do, but my textbook shield and pencil sword seems to have worked for now.

Time to hide out in the blanket fort under my bed, watch Downton Abbey, and forget about the world.  After a good night’s rest, I’ll be ready to resume battle in the morning.