Friday, April 4, 2008

Learning curves

More Pics from Spring Break : We went to Georgia Tech one day, missed the Lacrosse game, but saw a cool car show and some of campus (from the trolley). Here are the kids looking excited, and Drake's nose.

Cute campus, those Yellowjackets have. I have to compare it to the University of Georgia, (over 220 years old) and the really old oaks on North Campus. I was there , at UGA, recently and loved how much that part of campus is the same, tho most of Athens seems different. (I have pics if I can make myself stop and load them.)

It was a strange short trip back to my college days.

I must have worked at 20 places over the 4 years - lots of memories of people, our favorite places (is O'Malley's even still there??) and events.

I remember learning to stand up for my black friends, and making Jewish friends, hanging with that crowd in different ways, which affected me for the rest of my life.

I had professors I respected, and a rich cultural palate to paint my world with, from dance to ROTC to Rape Crisis Line volunteer work.

It's great to remember the freedom and the discipline I had to learn. As my own kids launch into the college admissions game, I realize that I can guide them better for having struggled so diligently with my own choices.

But while I struggled, both before going to UGA, and during my stint there, I also floated in joy thru those days. What better place to grow up, to think deeply about who I wanted to be than there?

27 years ago I didn't get to go to my first pick school, St. John's in Anapolis, thought I couldn't afford it (didn't realize there really was enough financial aid). This is an Ivy league type school with a curriculum of the Great Books (100 of them) and a Classics study program. All the profs can teach multiple disciplines, and all the exams are oral. The point isn't memorization but to understand the material, to show you've put some thought into to it.

Even just 10 years ago I still dreamt of attending there one day.

Of course life got in the way - there was a spouse that needed supporting (funny, just like my first marriage! gotta love being a slow learner) and then the fantastic job of raising my kids.

But maybe one day. I love the idea of being able to read the greatest works ever written. It's one direct way to get to the meat of some of the best thoughts ever thunk. And even better, then you get to toss around what modern minds make of it all. Their graduate program, apparently, is a condensed version of the undergrad, and I'd get the benefit of working with humanoids closer to my own age, many of whom also wanted to do the undergrad program years ago, but missed the chance.

I'm reading about a gal in an Ashram in Eat, Pray, Love. Great story, journey of discovery, buddist thought and how discipline helps us reach not only our best selves, but G-d.

So my world view is somewhat colored by the notion that the greatest challenge, for those of us who reach for more, is to sit still and face those inner demons, emotions, memories, the good the bad and the ugly, and let it all drift away. I've known for years that our internal work is more fascinating and difficult (imnsho) than external trappings.

But still the bills insist on attention too:) Always, for me, the question is about balance.

Graduate degrees are also "safe" methods to show value - perhaps shows devotion to an ideal, (learning) but also not too different from a fancy car, big house, or cool sexy career.

It took me about 35 years to even see the value of meditation, and I've yet to really practice it. Like a graduate degree it is perhaps in the committment to a path that we find meaning.

I can feel myself getting closer to actually implementing ... something. Probably will start with getting back into Tai Chi and some yoga. Spring is great for that. My bike is glorious (still), and the weather begs me to come out and play.

So St. John's is but a dream - and learning for the sake of learning a life goal. Somehow this all fits together in ways I can't quite describe: sitting, action, choices, study, meditation, biking, raising kids, college exuberance, Spring, and well, pollen. It's just everywhere.

with prayers and sneezing to alleviate suffering of the Allergic,

1 comment:

em said...

Wow, this post was great too. That college sounds like the sort of one I would have liked, though I didn't even let myself complete a college education. Now I'm helping my kids with it, but it's all fresh.

My blog is here, BTW, your comment sign in won't let me link to it.