Thursday, January 18, 2007

My tinkering mind

Well, life continues to enlighten me. Last night I had intended to have a small celebration for Sir Oliver's 6 month birthday (hooray!), but that has been bumped to the weekend because all the "wives" of dental students who live in our apartment complex were going out for dessert to celebrate a few birthdays among us. I decided that social opportunities for me are scarce enough that I ought to take advantage. I'm glad I did, it was a good time.
That said, a small part of the experience was awkward. Someone made a comment about telling their husband they wanted to go "back to school" and I almost chirped in with a "me too!" because I loved college and have a burning secret desire to be a college professor someday. I'm glad I didn't say anything though, because what unfolded before me was evidence that I was in the vast minority as far as schooling was concerned. Most of these ladies have little or no post-high-school education. And the only regret that was really expressed was a fear of "what would we do if anything happened to DH?". Nobody really wanted to go to school, or go back to school for the sake of learning new things and stimulating their brain and reading good books like me. I was quite at a loss for participating in that conversation. I was paralyzed with fear that anything I might say could sound condescending.
I'm perfectly well aware that you don't have to go to college to be an intelligent, curious, enthralling human being, but there does sort of seem to be a division among adults between people who like to learn and people who could take it or leave it. College education is only remotely and frequently inaccurately indicative of which type a person is. I'm certain to deal with this the rest of my life, so how does a "love learning" person develop a healthy communicative relationship with a person of the other sort, without coming across as a huge snob?
It's kind of the same problem C.S. Lewis tackles in An Experiment in Criticism when he talks about "the few and the many". But what's the best way for "the few" to get on with "the many" when they want to be friends?


tracy m said...

Hmmm... I don't know. How helpful is that? ;) But I am in line with you- I would LOVE to go back to school someday and finish my degree- I absolutely adore being in a class and the learning environment... ADORE it.

But it's going to be a while, and it's hard, at this point, to justify the expense of more schooling... but I haven't given up on the idea.

I always wanted to finish my degree in art history and preservation, and work in a museum cleaning up old masterpieces... ah, dreams do die hard, don't they?

Maybe just a comment about enjoying school, and leaving it at that. If anyone wants to ask more, then the ball is in thier court, and you're not out much.

Good for you for going out, by the way. Important for a mama once in a while...

Sir O looks darling this morning.

--jeff * said...

'College education is only remotely and frequently inaccurately indicative of which type a person is.'

that uses enough big words in unconventual ways to count as a dean sentence!

em, your excitement of learning is one of the things that makes you great. my sister went to see 'la strada' last night, and afterwards we were talking about it and i mentioned that you brought in some good insights to the movie when i couldn't quite figure it out. you're not as rusty as you may fear.

in fact, the attitude within you toward learning is far more vital that your environment around you. you seem to glean new ideas from wherever you are, and i think your blog is a fitting outlet for that.

that being said, keep reaching for that rainbow.
maybe write a review of some 'jules et jim' up here in that fantastical day when you have the time, just to keep sharp.
i'd like to read it.

Anonymous said...

My dream matches up with yours...I love school and want to go back. The idea of teaching on a college level is delicious. I've never been able to understand those who don't have a drive to learn more it's a mystery to in situations like the one you mentioned I usually try to fire up some desire but it might just be a better idea to simply state your love of school and let the conversation move to other topics? I don't know it all seems a bit tricky. Whatever the case I hope you have the chance to make it back some day.

hairyshoefairy said...

I have a hard time with a few girls in my neighborhood that never went to college or even had much of a desire to and they don't really care much about learning. I LOVED college and am somewhat jealous of NYDD still getting to attend classes (though I'd definitely choose different classes than what he's taking). I loved learning cool, interesting things and getting to discuss them with other people. There are a couple of other girls who live by me that read a lot and I love talking to them for that reason. They have a lot of interesting ideas and I feel like I can relate to them better. I like the points you made about attendance at college not necessarily meaning one loves learning. Very true!

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