Monday, July 28, 2008

The learning never gets old

From today's guest blogger Ms. C:

Ever since I saw Amelie, my lifelong wish to listen to a French man talk to me slowly (that accent has a lazy, sexy charm that beats even Matthew McConaughey's drawl) was transformed into a dreamy desire to speak French myself and to see Amelie’s Paris. A globetrotting friend has afforded me the opportunity to finally travel to Montmartre for a couple days this Fall. I've dusted off the French language CDs I bought years ago and I've finally made it past Disc 1. And do you know what I've discovered?

I love learning.

Love it. In learning, I’m discovering the thrill of school all over again. Even though the CDs instruct me not to take notes, I do it anyway! I’ve always enjoyed school and lived for that moment when the teacher said, “Yes, that’s right.” When I get a French phrase or word right listening to my language CDs, I must admit to some genuine fist pumping.

After graduating college, I still underlined sentences in books I read and wrote in the margins to the point where I can't loan anything out these days without checking it first for embarrassing or revealing notations. I walked down the aisles of office supply stores, delighting in the tummy thrill I felt at being near shiny paper clips! Post-it notes shaped like fish! Or folders in all the colors of the rainbow!

Those toys of the student impart more than just nostalgia. They signal the aura of school and education and the learning that revitalizes our senses, wakes up our brains, and changes our perspectives. Learning forces us to pay more attention and in doing so, start seeing the things we were taking for granted and embrace their charms again. There are few things more beautiful than the pleasure of mastering a new concept, broadening one’s mind, or putting pages together with a new, shiny, silver paper clip. Wouldn’t life itself be so much better if we were all rewarded with gold stars and A-pluses whenever we did things right? In fact, if I master French, I want a professor to knock on my door in front of all my neighbors and ex-boyfriends and mean childhood enemies and award me a perfect 4.0. Because it’s never too late to learn and more importantly, it’s never too late to look smarter than everyone else.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%! This explains why I have college loans out the ying yang--because I don't necessarily go to school for career advancement, instead I go because I like learning!

(They have post it notes shaped like fish? How have I not seen this? I feel bereft, like I'm missing an important piece of office decor!!!)

LaurieM said...

That's why I've always defined myself as a "nerdy girl" - I pretty much don't get a bigger buzz than learning something new... and if I'd not been a financially poor student relying on scholarships and financial aid that required you to graduate on a set schedule - I'm pretty sure I'd still be in college, wrapping up about my 30th degree in wildly different subjects... am I the only one who ever found herself spending hours poring over random stacks of books in the library, because gosh, there was just so much cool stuff I'd never heard of before? (The history of world religions alone was worth a semester..)Or does that push me beyond nerdy into some other category? Google rocks, but there's something about seeing all those old, elaborately bound books and the random flipping of pages that can't be matched...

SFG said...

Ah, let's be honest, folks.

School, that went well.

Life, not so much.

Isn't it natural we'd miss school?

Tara said...

Wow, I could've written kellykpb's post verbatim. If I could be a professional student I would. Story Musgrave is my hero. The former astronaut has something like 8-9 degrees, most of them just because the subject sounded cool and fun to learn!

topazsfp said...

If you haven't already, you need to read Dave Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day - some of the (funniest) essays in there are about his trials of learning French.
These past few years of my life, I have become fascinated with learning how to do things. In some ways, this is the opposite of 'traditional' school learning, and in others completely complementary.