Ok…I’m a nerd. You caught me. I love learning. This shouldn’t really be a surprise though if you have been following the blog. I remember one day as a child I was sitting in church and the lesson was on education. They told us that even if we planned on growing up, getting married, having children and being a stay-at-home-mom that it was of vital importance to get an education first. They said an education is something that no one can take away from you. Material things like your house, car, clothing etc. can all be taken away but an education can’t. It was never my plan to be a stay-at-home-mom, just not my thing, but the concept of an education being mine and no one being able to take it away from me really stuck with me. I realize as an adult that certain mental illnesses generally associated with old age that could in a way take your education away (like Alzheimers) but the fact remained.
When I graduated High School I planned on going right into the Bachelor of Arts program at the University of Alberta and transferring into Education. Life had another plan for me and took me down a completely different path. I ended up taking a year off of school and working (which I don’t regret at all I learnt A LOT that year about how to be an adult). I then, as you know, ended up with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology from Grant MacEwan University.
Switching paths last minute made my university experience very difficult. I went into the program wanting to be a police psychologist. My dream was (and in many ways still is) to obtain my doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology and get hired with the RCMP doing research based on Policing. Things like the measures used to recruit officers, effectiveness of training, methods of debriefing post critical incident, excessive use of force etc. In this dream of mine I would also occasionally be utilized to do clinical work with officers after major events. I had NO idea what it would take to make this dream a reality until I was already two and a half years into my degree. I didn’t set myself up for an honours degree not understanding what it was or why it was necessary, I didn’t give a crap about all my “extra” classes like anthropology, music and linguistics. Consequently, when I realized what an honours degree was and why I needed it my GPA was in the crapper. I worked my butt off and took and extra year to try and raise my GPA. I beat the required psychology GPA out of the water however I missed acceptance into the program by 0.03 on my everything else GPA. This crushed me and I reluctantly finished out my degree with a bitter taste in my mouth for education. I’m not going to lie, standing at my graduation seeing a lot of my friends walk the stage ahead of me with their honours was really difficult. Pregnancy hormones aside, I definitely fought back tears of jealousy.
The jealously didn’t detract me for long, after all I did it to myself. I should have done more research on the program instead of trying to wing it. I received my piece of paper in June and by July was ready to start learning again. With a baby only a couple months away, the idea of applying for any formal education was out of the question and I missed the deadline for graduate study applications anyways. Afraid of being another Google educated idiot I went out and got a library card (which is still free to Edmontonians for the rest of the year BTW). I have spent much time this summer reading books about things I just never had the time to as a student. It became so quickly apparent to me that when learning was intrinsic, on topics I was actually interested in, that it was fun and brought me a lot of happiness. I’ve now devoured several books on cooking, buying a home, personal finance, Tax Free Savings Accounts and other similar topics…that’s not even mentioning the countless pregnancy and parenting books I have read.
What I’ve learned since graduating is that, as a delightful aardvark once pointed out, “Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card.” This world is full of so much information. Its like the saying goes “The more you know the more you realize you don’t know” or as Socrates put it “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” When you can take the opportunity to learn about things that you are interested in, things that matter to you…there is no greater joy. Whether its video games, computers, knitting, sports, the history of Disney or the ancient Romans, learning about things that actually interest you on a personal level is sooo worth it. Reading and observing the world around me gives me inspiration to write this blog (and thank you so much to those who read it religiously! It means more than I can say).
I truly believe that learning needs to be part of life long process. Never stop. If you hated school growing up I highly encourage you to give it another chance as an adult. You don’t need to go to a fancy institute with fancy classes that gives you fancy pieces of paper. You can take it upon yourself to read books, Google scholar or even the amazing website described in this ted talk if you want a little fancy in your life. Watch TED Talks. I love them! Probably watch 3 or 4 a week. Whatever you choose, choose something today. Read slowly. Do it on the side. Take your time. Embrace life. Die knowing that you learnt all you could and never gave up.
Also in case I accidentally brought back the 90s and got the sung stuck in your head….here’s Arthur.