I know the title seems kinda floaty and saccharin, but I promise this isn’t irony. I’ve just re-started my college education and I’m absolutely loving it. As an adult I’ve fallen in love with learning, it’s a hobby I devote a significant amount of my time to. While I’ll be the first proponent of self-directed learning through cheap and free resources on the web, I have to say there’s something about a physical school that puts my mind in a receptive position. I would blame conditioning from my youth, but I spent ten years bucking against the institutions before finally dropping out two years shy of completing my secondary education. Maybe if they had guitars and booze at the school, I might have been more pliant.
A lot of things have changed about me as I’ve matured, as they do most. One of the biggest changes is that I am way more moderate with the guitar and the booze. I place any and all of the maturity I’ve acquired on the shoulders of my children. I was much the same person at twenty as I was at sixteen. Even the first year of my daughter’s life saw me using band practice as a cover for staying out and drinking all night. Something changed in me though. A switch was flipped, through no effort of my own, and suddenly I had perspective.
I buckled down to work, and have stayed in steady employment. I quit smoking. I scaled back my drinking and started staying home at night. Around this same time is when I started to feel a deep thirst in my brain for knowledge. Suddenly there was nothing I didn’t want to learn. No skill I didn’t want to acquire. I consumed educational material zealously, spending inordinate amounts of my discretionary income on online courses and books. I started to surround myself with people that had the skills that I wanted and learned from them. I pushed myself well out of my comfort zone, as often as possible.
Now, roughly two years from that original boom, I find myself refreshed yet again. I’ve started an AAS program for programming at the local community college. Even though it has consumed my every spare moment, I have found endless joy. That’s when a thought occurred to me. Maybe, I can just go to school for the rest of my life. Never stop pursuing education, never stop learning new things. Even if I just do a class a semester. School is expensive, but there are certainly more expensive hobbies with arguably few tangible benefits.
I absolutely reserve the right to scale any of that back. If I use my AAS to get a comfortable job and stay there until I retire, I will not feel guilty for the contradiction. That said, my current infatuation with learning should be well enough to see me through this particular degree, and I’m going to leave the door open for anything else that may follow.