And now it's Miller time...

Today I got to dig in a bit more deeply with classes. Part of that was a sort of improptu manifesto on education and its merits to a group of mostly freshmen. I explained to them a bit about my own educational background - I was the first person in my family to get a degree. I'm the only one with a graduate degree. I did it on student loans and a whim. It was that sort of deal.

And part of what I told them - maybe I should have held over the "Heresy 101" title - was that I believe in Education the way some people feel about Religion. Now note - and I'm sure most of them didn't get this impression - I didn't pick out a particular religion. I didn't compare education to any savior, philosopher, or writer of a tome that attracts tons of Hollywood money. Instead, I told them something personal. Education, I told them, has brought me more than tons of debt, and even if that were it, then every dollar I'll be paying back till my 70s was worth it. That feeling, I said, is what I hope to help them come away with four years from now. I told them that what you get out of education is about what you're willing to risk. I said that they're only going to get out what they put into it. And that to get the most out of it, they have to confront things they don't like, things they fear, things nobody thought they'd ever possibly care about. You have to be okay with being wrong sometimes. I told them I'm not out to shock them or convert them. They don't have to agree with me because, among other things, I'm wrong almost as often as I'm right. I told them going to college to get a job is like going to the pool to only play in the shallow end. I told them I hoped they'd find some way to enjoy their education, and that I'd help them if I could.

It was, I think, the best lecture I've ever given, and I barely said a thing about the subject at hand. It was one of those moments where I felt like if they took even one thing I said out of the lecture, I'll have succeeded for the entire term.

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ash said...
amelie said...

"I said that they're only going to get out what they put into it."

This is so true. I avoided certain classes (and professors) that I thought would be too difficult. I regret that now. But when you're brainwashed into worrying about your GPA, it's pretty easy to succumb to that way of thinking.

August 30, 2007 at 10:07 PM