Saturday, May 28, 2011

Then and Now: Learning

Recently, a new website I visited asked “What book did you hate in school that you now love as an adult?” Which I misread, and answered, as “What did you hate in school that you now love as an adult?”


When I was in school, at least in elementary and most of high school, I disliked school in-general. I didn’t want to be there, and I didn’t want to learn. I resented, among other things, that school took up so much of my day and I was forced to learn about boring things like history and math and how to diagram a sentence. That started to change when I was in high school. There, I had electives I could choose on topics that actually interested me. Yes, I still had to learn history and math, but at least I had the option of picking some classes that I might enjoy.


Due to a scheduling error my Junior year, I had to scramble on the first day of school to pick three elective classes, and many were already full. I didn’t have many options. I only recall one of the three classes I picked. It was Genres of Literature, and that semester was focusing on Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Yeah, I took a class where they made me read SF! Though I don’t recall what SF we actually read. I do recall we read Dracula and Frankenstein, and we got to write a short story of our own and read it in front of the class.


I had other classes that I enjoyed in high school: Speech, Linguistics and Semantics, some shop-type classes, and one English class had a section where some of us got to spend a week learning to speed. I think I read pretty quick, but Rubi reads even faster. And of course the Radio Broadcasting class, which lead to my major in college, and my first career.


Once in college, I still resented being made to take the core required classes, even though I had the choice sometimes of which classes fulfilled that requirement – which helped. In college, I focused mostly on my major. Unfortunately for me, I also kept my interests within my major very narrowly focused, instead of branching out and getting exposed to different disciplines which is what I should have been doing. Outside of my major, I took electives that interested me, some that met core requirements – Archery, Astronomy, Readers Theater, Acting, certain history classes that interested me more than others.


In fact, throughout my school years I pretty much hated anything to do with history. What’s odd, though, is that I really enjoyed watching educational television programs about history – such as programs on PBS, or actual distance learning programs on the local educational cable TV station. I had heard good things about one particular history professor, and found one semester he was teaching an era of history that I found interesting – so took the opportunity to take his class.  To this day, I still enjoy educational television about history, but don’t really like reading about it.


But some things have changed. Now, in the workplace, I jump at the chance to take any classes, seminars, and training no matter how vaguely related to my profession. Partly because I enjoy learning now, and sometimes because it gets me out of my normal duties – gives me a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a chance to learn something new.


And there’s very rarely any math involved.



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