E is for Education

1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life..
2. a degree, level, or kind of schooling.

I come from a family of doctors and lawyers so naturally the first word that comes to mind for E was Education. As soon as I started thinking about who I knew that was an expert on education I knew of course I’d ask my blogging friend who is currently in law school. I stumbled across her blog pretty close to the time that she was first starting law school and I have been a consistent reader since.

This guest post was written by Janet Wallace, a twentysomething law student with a love of cupcakes and peppermint. Janet can be found blogging at Slice of Pink.

My name is Janet Wallace and I am a schoolaholic.

I will turn thirty during my last year of law school. This means that I will have spent the majority of my twenties in school. I took a few years off between earning my bachelor’s degree and entering law school but, even then, I was a high school teacher. So technically, if you are counting, I’ve been in a classroom for twenty-five years straight.

I’ve learned about a lot of things during my formal education–statistics, gothic cathedrals, osmosis, federalism–but, if truth be told, I don’t use any of this information on a daily basis. I don’t break out my calculator at the grocery store to figure out the area of a frozen pizza or sit at home considering archetypal patterns in poetry. Occasionally, when I am visiting an art museum or watching a television game show, my degree in Art History serves me well; but, for the most part, knowing gobs of information about French Impressionism isn’t very practical in real life.

So, why then, you ask, would I choose to spend $150,000 and the entirety of my twenties sitting in a classroom?

There are the obvious reasons: all of this schooling will get me a better job, more money, nicer shoes. There is definitely that–and for a lot of people, that is enough.

For me, though, education is a drug. It is a powerfully addictive stimulant. Every day, I ride my bicycle down to campus to learn something new–sometimes something that I didn’t even realize existed–and it envelops me and makes me crave more.

Lately, I’ve been studying the law. My classmates, a competitive and eager bunch, are ready to finish up with their educations and enter the job market as soon as possible. Me? I’m not so sure. It seems I have a long list of things I’d still like to learn–Spanish, library science, how to make the perfect souffle.

Sometimes I think of all the things I know these day–things that were completely unfathomable to my teenage mind–and I realize how fortunate I am to be able to spend my twenties learning. But, of course, that thought has a sister: although I’ve spent the last twenty-five years in a classroom, the things I know are only a tiny glint of ice in a vast tundra of the incomprehensible. In the grand scheme of things, my education really hasn’t taught me much at all, but it sure has given me an unquenchable thirst for some more of it. I’m totally hooked.

The good news is, we don’t need some classroom in a fancy institution to get an education. All we need is a hunger for knowledge and, more importantly, the resolve to satisfy that hunger. There is such a wondrous world of information available to us, things unexpected and astounding, and we owe it to ourselves, to our children and grandchildren, and to each other, to expand our horizons and deepen our character. Make it a point to learn something new every day this month and I predict you’ll get addicted, too. It’s one hard habit to break.

I am also schoolaholic. I will most likely be starting on the next step in my education in the next year. I found that people are usually one end of the spectrum or the other on this topic – there are schoolaholics and school of life folks. My family and my upbringing have pointed me towards the schoolaholic side. Where do you stand on the topic of education?

If you’ve missed any of the other ABCs you can find them here.

11 thoughts on “E is for Education

  1. I am a Continuing Education Credit Junkie, thanks to the community college around the corner from my office. I would be a complete schoolaholic but my husband and I have a hard time justifying the cost at this point in our lives. My husband falls in the school of life category – he would much rather be out in the world and learning through his experiences instead of in a classroom. It’ll be really interesting when he and I get around to having kids – will they find middle ground on their education opinions or will they too be extremists?

  2. a good friend of mine is a schoolaholic. she finished her masters last year in criminal justice and now i think she’s going back to school to be a teacher! i told her it’s because she’s postponing the reality of life. school is such a comfort. i sort of wish i was back in college sometimes.

  3. I’m more of a “school of life” person, I’d say… I did finish my bachelor’s degree, but by the time I was done I just could not get out fast enough and start working. Now I sometimes miss the lifestyle of a college student, but that’s about it. If I want to learn something new, I can – I don’t have to be in college to do that. I just need Google, usually :) I have found through my schooling that all the assignments, deadlines, exams, and the insane amount of reading tends to suck the fun out of a subject you’re interested in. I’d rather learn it on my own leisurely terms.

  4. I am definitely not a schoolaholic. I got done with four greuling years in a CS program and have yet to look back. I do idly dream about pursuing a graduate degree now and again … not in my undergrad field (god no) … but with my daughter just being a year old, it is probably a ways off. On the other hand, I feel like I am always learning … I read a lot and teach myself how to do new things occasionally.

    Great blog, BTW … I am surprised I’ve never run accross it before. Lucky for me, Slice of Pink is a frequent read.

  5. I..I don’t know what to say

    I’m the same way- I strongly believe in education and well.. deciding to become a doctor pretty much guarantees another decade or so on having to learn stuff

    I love to learn, I love to grip about it, and I love to long for days off. I don’t even know what life will really really be like outside of having to learn for a living..
    Even though I’ve had time off – I guess I always knew “I’ll be headed to class next semester”

    weird. How’d I even get like this?

  6. Schoolaholic all the way. With a teacher for a mom, I hardly stood a chance. I also feel like I do best under the “school year” timeline and rhythm, and I’ve felt my brain start to atrophy a little since I finished my undergrad. Luckily, I’ll be starting my master’s (in Library Science!) this fall, so I’m excited to start my last couple years of formal education. I have to say, though, my favorite time in my “school years” was the beginning of college, with a veritable smorgasboard of learning, all for me to take in. It’s a lifelong dream of mine to become some sort of polymath, so let’s hope that a good combination of schoolaholism and “school of life/hard knocks”-ism will lead me that way…

  7. I’m definitely a schoolaholic! My dad is a professor so growing up it was automatically assumed that I’d be getting a master’s or a Ph.D. Right now I’m in law school, and I also have a master’s and bachelor’s degree (in different fields) under my belt. To be honest I don’t feel like I function very well in the workplace–and I feel like I’m avoiding it by hiding out in school. I also think that school is just a better environment for me in general. If I didn’t have all this law school debt, I would definitely go for a Ph.D. afterwards!

  8. I’m allergic to education in the same way I’m allergic to vegetables. In other words both of them are good for me but there are plenty of times when I don’t particularly enjoy either of them.

    Education takes a lot of time, much of it seems wasteful in my humble opinion. But in the end the results are usually undeniable and doors are opened. Now if only there was a degree in “whatever I feel like studying” then education would be a lot of fun. I’m not opposed to learning, but I prefer doing it at my own pace and on subjects I pick.

    Oh, and I’m not really allergic to vegetables.

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