Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Complex and evolving: Education 2011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

My views on education are complex and evolving. On one hand, I love learning and want to learn all I can. On the other hand, I am coming to the realization that I hate the process of formal education.

My hatred of the process of formal education comes from the fact that it presumes too much about the commonality of the people involved in the process and denies too much about their differences. Formal education is, by definition, a process catering to the lowest common denominator. As a result, it stifles the most advanced so that everyone can advance.

In realizing that I hate the process of formal education, I have come to a point of view far more in keeping with the idea most famously expressed in the movie Good Will Hunting: “See the sad thing about a guy like you, is in about 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin’ education you coulda’ got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.”

As I see it, the fact of the matter is not that formal education educates someone but that it vets someone by comparing what they have learned, really on their own, to what someone else says they should know in order to be able to claim they know it. I find that whole idea repugnant because it denies that I can learn on my own, vet myself, and demonstrate my knowledge without someone else’s approval.

Now, I know there are all kinds of people who have benefited from the formal education process and are all the better for it, but I now realize the reason I am not one of those people is because I find the process too constraining.

Of course, now the problem becomes what to do. How do I educate myself, establish myself, and promote myself if I intend to reject the process 99 percent of the modern world believes is the only way to do those things? I think I will do so by accomplishing those tasks on my own terms and by succeeding at what I intend to do. In order to do so, I must do them myself, and the only barrier, then, between me and success is myself.

So what does that mean for 2011? I think this will be a year for exploring the idea of self-education to its fullest extent, and I plan to share that journey with anyone who cares as much as I can.

DLH

A quarter too far

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

In September 1944, the Allies conceived of an operation to quickly end World War II by launching a massive, combined airborne and ground offensive in the German-held Netherlands to seize several bridgeheads across major European rivers and thereby expose the German heartland to the threat of Allied attack. The operation, code named Market Garden would culminate in the seizure of the bridge over the Rhur in the Dutch town of Arnhem.

As retold in the book A Bridge Too Far (and later in a classic movie by the same name), the operation proved to be a disaster for the Allies that stranded the British 1st Airborne Division deep inside German occupied territory without relief for ten days before what remained of it could finally be evacuated by Allied forces. The failure of Market Garden represents one of the classic warning tales of overextending mechanized combat forces by over-emphasizing their strike capabilities.

Since January 2007, I have completed 11 consecutive quarters of college work, resulting in 3 degrees. This January, I attempted to start my 12th quarter toward completion of my 4th degree, but it proved to be one quarter too many.

As a result, I dropped all of my classes and plan to take at least the rest of winter and probably also spring quarter off from college.

There are many reasons why this proved to be necessary, but the most significant is probably my ability to sustain the pace. Twelve quarters is equivalent to the amount of schooling most people complete in four years, but I tried to cram the same amount of work into three years. As a result, my willpower is tired, my mind is tired, and my checkbook is tired.

What I plan to do now is take a strategic pause and reassess what I am doing and why I am doing it before I decide what I need to do next. As things currently stand, I have three classes to complete at Sinclair for my Art associate’s degree and, depending on how Wright State awards me credit, I may have as little as 20 hours of specific coursework remaining to finish an English bachelor’s degree. It is entirely possible that I will resume taking classes in the fall, but I will just have to see.

DLH

Tired of it already

Monday, January 4th, 2010

One of the aspects of higher education that has haunted me since I first set foot in a college classroom in 1992 is the fact that getting a degree takes so long. Granted, I have not helped myself by changing my mind so many times about what I want to be degreed in, and my previous career choices have not helped my cause, but underneath all of those other considerations is the fact getting a degree is not an undertaking easily done by someone with a short attention span.

Winter quarter 2010 represents my 12th consecutive quarter in the classroom since I went back to school in the winter of ’07. Since then, I have earned three associate’s degrees, but the process has taken its toll on my willingness to continue.

Of course, part of the problem may be that I’m near the end of a whole bunch of different things at the same time. At the end of spring quarter, I will finish my fourth associate’s degree along with my time at Sinclair. On the other hand, just a few months after I finish, I have the prospect of continuing my education at Wright State staring me in the face.

So, the question remains: how do I build up the stamina to make it through what is more than likely at least three more years of school including this one? Answering that question will be the defining event of my college experience.

DLH

Education goals for 2010

Friday, January 1st, 2010

I have to admit it: I am a perpetual student. The only thing keeping me from being a professional one is the fact no one’s paying me to do this.

Nevertheless, I love being in the classroom around other people who love to learn, especially in writing and art, and I expect that I will continue to be in classrooms as a student or as a teacher for the rest of my life.

Right now, my goals are pretty simple. I plan to finish my associate’s degree in Art at Sinclair Community College this spring, making it my fourth associate’s degree in three years. I will also start on my bachelor’s degree in English emphasizing creative writing with a minor in history at Wright State University this fall.

We’ll see what else comes up along the way.

DLH