Friday, February 02, 2007

If you let me go back, I'll even do the math!

I've spent the better part of the last 15 years trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. There have been a few times in my life when I was sure I had hit upon a calling that was right for me, and a few of those were right in that moment. But, as time wore on, I found that the careers I had picked were not enough to keep me switched on and excited.

Last night I was flipping through the on-screen guide and saw a special on PBS about the ARA General Belgrano's sinking at the hands of the nuclear sub HMS Conqueror. I watched this special for and hour and a half and realized that I didn't know half of what there was to learn about the Falklands War. That has been happening to me a lot more of late, finding out that there is just too much I want to know more about.

I wasn't the greatest student of all time, to be sure, but I did enjoy college. I took the basic class options in the areas I don't like, such as College Math, and rather than a lab Science I took Marine Biology and Oceanography. When I found a subject I liked I overdid it and took extra classes. I took more History and Literature then I should have, but that was only because I liked those classes, or the Professors who taught them. I found, not surprisingly, that I did better in the classes I liked, and that included the classes in my now cast aside field of study: Broadcasting.

Since I work on a College campus every day now, I often hear students saying the same things we all said back then. "I just need to know it for the test, and then I can forget it all." The problem is, I want to know stuff these days, and there's no test. To quiz, no paper to write and no grade to earn. I want to know for the oldest reason in human kind: because it's there.

I guess that's why there are so many bookstores in a country that the rest of the world considers to be ignorant history. I see the old guy picking up the book about the war of 1812, or the Second Boer War and I finally get it. It's killing me that I still have a stack of books to get through, and there is a new book out by Michael Oren about the long history of America's interaction with the Middle East. I want to read that! I want to know all the information in that book and in hundreds of others, live and pay the bills, so I have to go to work. Blast!

Subjects like math and Chemistry used to make me wish my schooling away, but now I would gladly struggle through them if I could just take a cool history class or have an amazingly insightful Lit Prof.


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