I had an odd feeling of nostalgia as I sat in the auditorium of Webster City High School during their orientation. For the vast majority of my life, I have been part of the education system.
As I listened to recent WCHS graduate Lissandra Villa talk about the importance of focusing on the academic and extracurricular aspects of school life, it was bittersweet remembering how much I gained from school, how I'm happy I've completed my formal education and how I rarely allocate my time now to continued learning.
I do learn much while on the job now. The luxury of a journalist's life is that I have to learn about new things every day. It's part of my job. However, I often only dig deep enough to convey those topics and ideas to you, the reader. That's not to say that I?do a bare minimum amount of learning. In fact, I?usually learn more about topics than is shown in my articles, but I have to distill that knowledge so it is easy to read and comprehend for readers from all backgrounds.
There's nothing wrong with an overview, but I love learning and I love delving into the inner workings of topics from how NASA got the Curiosity rover to mars to the history of famous writers.
Being out of school and in a career position is a double-edged sword. On one edge, I have the accumulated knowledge of formal education backing me and the money and time to get and digest information. On the other edge, I often feel like melting into my couch and seeing what the gang is up to on "Storage Wars" after work. Does it feel like it's easy to fall into a routine and not continue learning? Yuuuuup!
I'm thankful that I recognize that I have been falling into such a routine, but it's certainly not enough to just recognize it. Challenging myself to continue to learn and educate myself is going to take a lot more effort than leaving NPR on in the car.
Thankfully, we live in a digital age and there are vast worlds of knowledge out there, much of it at little or no cost. For every general information page on Wikipedia, there are plenty more citations to read further, you just have to be willing to take the time and effort to learn more.
It's almost funny in a not really funny and more sad way looking back now at how I viewed my education. I did take it seriously, but I surely did not put as much effort into it as I could have. It's easy to resent or become apathetic towards your education, especially as a teenager.
If you're still in school and are reading this column, firstly, holy cow you're reading a newspaper instead of the Internet, and secondly, don't take it for granted. Your time in the education system is very valuable, even if you would rather still be fishing at the lake or hanging out with friends during the summer.