Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Edumacation

That's a joke. I know how to spell education. It's a comeback the Boss and I use as an inside joke when one of us makes a silly or less than intelligent comment.

Lately, I have felt a profound gratitude for my education. I feel like I'm being educated everyday really. Learning new things from friends, books I read, my children, church, life experience, and so on. But the education I'm referring to right now is my formal education.

In taking a few IQ tests, I can tell you I'm in the "above average" average sphere. Which pretty much means nothing special. So please don't mistake this post as me coming off as I think I'm smarter and better than everyone around me. I don't. I think I'm pretty... well... average.

I know a lot of people who are skeptical of formal higher education. You certainly don't have to have it in order to be successful or smart. However, I do feel it serves such an important purpose. Perhaps I only feel this way because it has served ME with such a purpose.

I was always studious in school growing up. I'm not naturally particularly intelligent... in other words, the Boss has to hear or read something once and he remembers it forever, while I have to hear or read it a few more times to really ingrain it. However, I have a perfectionist need for detail. I want any work I do to appear clean and concise, not sloppy and half done. I was always particularly good with Writing and English. I LOVED writing a good essay. When I was in 4th and 5th grade, I distinctively remember always trying to write the longest stories of anyone in the class. Of course there is the proper "ei" "ie" use (i before e except after c). The proper use of your and you're (one of my personal pet peeves) along with the proper use of there, their, and they're. However, my spelling is less than desired. Thank goodness for spell check :-) I was good enough to be in the advanced math classes, but opted out when it came to advancing to Calculus. I was impeccable at projects. Not only impeccable, but I down right enjoyed them. I graduated with a 3.89 in high school, putting a rather medium effort into class work. I did average on my Act's... nationally average, but below average for the University I attended. Looking back, I'm sure I could have done much better, taking more AP and Honors classes, had studies been my only priority. I'm grateful for the education I received in my extra curricular activities though. That was priceless. I learned to be a part of a team with 14-20 other high school girls and all our drama. I learned how to win and lose. I learned how to manage people and direct an activity. I learned how to speak in front of a crowd. I learned how to blend in a mix of voices holding back my natural instinct to stand out... because that's what a terrific choir does. I learned how to take rewards, and take disappointment. I learned how to make good friends and I felt the hurt of losing friends. These and many other things from growing up and high school started to shape me. Things pointed me in the right direction. A good direction.

This good direction gave me the opportunity to study at a 4-year University, BYU. Among LDS people, this school can have a negative connotation associated with it. You're uber smart. To which I'm not. You're stuck up and snobby. To which I will also argue I'm not. You're rich. Definitely not. You're "Molly Mormon". Which I may be now, but I wouldn't have categorize myself as that when I entered in. A bunch of cocky, arrogant "know it alls". While I certainly think I know a lot, I don't "know it all", and I prefer the word "confident", not cocky. Now as a graduate of this University I can tell you ALL those things are true of some people that attend there. I think there is something said for those who have pride in their school. I LOVE my school. Of course I have pride in it. If you go 4 years through a University that you hated, I feel nothing but sorry that you wasted your time. I would expect anyone that goes to ANY college, no matter how high or low on the tier have a sense of love and pride for the person you were when you entered, to the person you became when you left.

I went in as a pre MDT (Music Dance Theater) Major, but graduated as a Communication Major with a Minor in Music and Dance. That's what happens when you get married your Sophomore Year. Your plans change a bit. I argue mine changed for the better. I ended up right where I needed to be. I certainly learned a lot of academic things. I learned how to sit through a class of 1,000 people in the JSB bored out of my mind listening to Biology because it was a requirement. I learned how to take classes I hated. I learned how to drop a class because I started to realize my limitations- that it was going to be too much. I learned how to research. I learned how to live with other people. I learned how to be on my own. To Manage my own money. To rely on my Heavenly Father. To make new friends. I learned I'm not a morning person... which I already knew... and only took two 8:00am classes the whole 4-years I was there. I learned that I thought I was much smarter than I really was. You see, when you go to a school like BYU, your eyes are opened to such a larger pool of talent and intelligence. I was on the lower end. I knew it. And instead of letting it beat me down, which is easy to do at a school like BYU, it can be awfully intimidating, I was grateful for the chance to be challenged, humbled, and exposed. I learned that good things don't come for free. Hard work and sacrifice will always be involved. I took classes that opened my understanding to the Gospel, the world, our venues of communication, and mind, politics... so many things to a whole new level. A level high school just couldn't hold a candle to. I learned how to think critically and objectively. I learned how to appreciate those subjects I had no natural connection to. I learned that information and education are power. I learned that while I wasn't the best at everything, I was really really good at a lot of things. Things I didn't know I was good at. I could list for hours all the things I learned, academically and in life experience for those 4 years. But FOR ME, the most important thing I learned, when I walked across that stage and received that Diploma of Graduation, was a level of confidence. And with that level of confidence, an understanding, that  education goes on and on, as long as you keep your mind open and are willing to learn more.

Of course higher education now days usually includes an MBA, Doctorate, or anything further than the standard 4 year degree. For me, that's enough right now. Maybe someday I'll expand a little further. But today my education is at home. That's my calling. And being a Mother, especially one who stays home, can be quite the demeaning title in today's society. I feel confident and secure in my CHOICE to stay home and raise my children. I'm grateful that I even have the choice. I know too many moms who don't have a choice. And because of that, I try to remember how lucky I am that I GET to stay home and raise my children full time. I worked full time for 2 1/2 years after I graduated and before we got pregnant with baby #2. There are SO MANY things I miss about my job. I LOVED my job. I was good at my job. I had every sign of an advancing career path up that ladder. And there are days where I certainly reminisce all that. Accomplishments. Business. Looking nice. Interacting with other intelligent adults. Traveling. Meeting new people. Advancements. A pay check. But certainly nothing can replace walking in and picking up Queen Bee with such a big smile. Or rocking her tears away. Or helping Big Brother learn to count to 100. Or watching Mama's Boy build the biggest, longest, most creative and detailed train track you've ever seen. Patience. Understanding. Deep love. Sacrifice. All works in progress. But today, I have confidence, that should anything happen to my husband or his job, I have the tools, experience, and education to help support our family. That is peace of mind my friends. Those automatic student loan payments that are deducted from our account each month are a reminder to me that I have that peace of mind and confidence.

I don't know how students view their education anymore. Are they grateful for it? Is it just expected? What everybody does? Maybe for me it was different because I was challenged. I had to pay my own way through. Hmmm. Either way, I am so grateful for my education. I certainly continue on with it everyday, but what a head start I was given. And man do I love the peace it brings me. So thank you to my edumacation. You learned me right.

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BiroOoOo said...

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