Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh, learning

I work at a University.  In its library.  As I sit here, now, there are the sounds of my typing, the murmurs of the circulation employees, chuckles from students upstairs and other students mock shushing them, the occasional page being turned.  But mostly, of the odd ten or so students that I can see here with me on the first floor, there are intent eyes on laptop screens or textbooks or binders of notes.  All of these relatively young minds here LEARNING.  Working at accumulating knowledge.  Let's forget about motivations for a second, forget about how most are here so that they can get jobs, let us forget for a time that rare is the student who just loves knowledge for its own sake.  The kind of student we (likely mistakenly) picture filling so many ancient schools.

Let's forget about all of that and focus on that learning for a bit.  I've realized recently that I really love learning.  And I know that likely sounds corny.  When I tell my wife that I love it, I say it earnestly though with my tongue still a bit in cheek.  There is so much interesting stuff out there.  Browsing the shelves of a library, or even a bookstore can give that charged feeling, but, so can the internet.  Filled with vapid junk but filled too with magnificent and convenient and reliable interesting bits and chunks of knowledge.  The internet, Google, I mean it's just ridiculous how easy it has become to find all types of information.

I regret not being a more motivated college student.  At least, when it comes to the topics that interested me deeply both then and now, that is literature, history and philosophy.  I sometimes think that if I had just been a little more earnest, how much more could I know now?  Truth be told, I got pretty good grades, and graduated with a solid GPA and had no trouble getting into grad school.  Truth be told, I had an amazing blast in college and wouldn't want to change much.  If I had been a different person, I probably wouldn't be married to my wife now, who I met when I was a junior, in an upper-level lit course.  I would have been a different person, with a different personality, and so on.  But I do wish I could have tacked onto all of that a deeper level of scholarship in college when I had the luxury to be focused on just that and to be surrounded by intelligent peers, being taught by mostly lovely faculty.

But now I'm thirty, happy in my work, an aspiring novelist (that is, unpublished but working hard and hopeful), married and hoping to start a family soon.  I've been really trying over the last few years to be a better Christian, I read the Bible in its entirety and the New Testament two additional times and now (and am mostly successful) read at least a chapter per day.

This love of learning feels in a way to have come to life only recently.  Only over the last couple months have I thought of it in this way.  As I commute over an hour to work I listen to a lot of audiobooks, many of those being lectures or other non-fiction or philosophy or theology. Over the last couple years I've really gotten serious about the things I value and which also seem to truly hold some value.  Gotten serious about my writing, serious about God, serious about being a mature good husband and on and on.  Call it growing up, I guess.  Call it learning and the accretion of knowledge over time, perhaps.  Am I better person than I used to be?  I hope so.  I know too that I have a long way to go.  A really long way to go.  But I'm trying and I'm learning and with this blog I hope to share some things with all of you that you find interesting, and also, in doing so, to help you and me learn and grow.


  1. Hi just found your blog, looking forward to reading more. I also wish I had been a better student in college. Even though I got good grades, I wasn't really INTO learning either. I was just recently thinking about how older people always tell younger people and told me, "Enjoy yourself while you're young" and "Get everything you can out of school."

    I didn't listen to them of course, and I'm wondering how I'm going to get my kids someday to believe me when I tell them that stuff! Because it's true!

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting and following!

    And you're so right, how does one tell ones children that kind of stuff and have them listen?! I'm not knowing if there actually is a way...