I have a lot of big profound life-changing events in the past three years (heck, the last 7 months). I had another one at 10:16 this evening.
At 10:16, I clicked “submit” for my final paper in my Supervision class, and thus brought to a close my formal schooling. This will conclude my second Masters degree. I have thus decided to adopt the title “Grand Master”, so please be sure to begin addressing me as such in all future correspondence.
I started formal schooling at age 3 … a pre-school class in the basement of a church. A few months ago, I even found the class photo. It very much looked 1970s: loud garish colors … one of the teachers even wore bell-bottoms in a non-hipster way. After we moved, I did another year of pre-school at the local park-district. My formal schooling continued unabated from 1974 through 1994. I took four years off before I resumed my schooling, and finished my first masters in 2000. This last time was a longer wait, but a shorter time span (January of 2013 through now).
Schooling is a measurement of time … in 1974 we thought we were taking the next steps as a nation in space … we had a space station called Skylab. Nixon resigned that summer. Charles Lindbergh died. In a brief memo among users of the primitive ARPANET, someone decided to shorten the word “Internetworking” to just “internet”. I remember reporting to the University of Illinois in 1989, and being told that we would be the first freshman class to have an “e-mail address”. No one knew what that meant, and I don’t remember actually seeing e-mail until my last year there.
I recall back in 1995 being sent to a conference by my school to learn about this internet and see how this might change education. I’m not sure I ever gave a satisfactory answer, and I remember the older teachers thinking this would be a fad. I’m not sure we have fully plumbed the depths of how this will continue to effect education. That was 19 years ago, and it seems like a lifetime ago.
The world of today is so vastly different (I’ll contend that people aren’t all that different) … it changes subtly and slowly, and you don’t often notice it until you take a step back and see what has happened. Things move a heck of a lot faster, and they show no signs of slowing down. As I was reflecting on this, I recalled the beautiful film The Shawshank Redemption. Brooks was released from prison, and saw that the world had left him behind. He didn’t react well to that. Later in the film, Red too sees that the world is faster and has left him behind, however, he had an alternative plan. As I said, I think people haven’t changed while the world has … I suspect that a lot of the problems we have are people being unable or unwilling to adjust. These adjustments can be troublesome.
I am grateful for my education, because a well rounded education can be like a vaccine against being unable to deal with change. I don’t even like to think about how I would have turned out without studying science and Shakespeare and Seurat and just about everything else I got to study.
I need to keep this in perspective. I was asked if I was planning a party, but I replied that this was ultimately just a degree in education, and not really a cause to celebrate too much.
Winter Break starts at the end of the week. It is going to be a weird one this time. After a few particulars, I am devoting a lot of time to cleaning my condo (it still looks like a storage bin, and has since late August). Because Scott and Pepper have different schedules with their respective spouses, I will not be doing much of anything on Christmas this year (we are getting together on early January for our family Christmas), and we will have our annual January 1 get together to commemorate dad and now mom. I had thought about raveling this Winter Break, but I have too much work to do, and have been far too busy to plan anything.
I should close here by saying a hearty “Thank you” to everyone who put up with me being unavailable or putting things off because of my focus on this degree program. If all goes well, I will never use it … but the way things are going right now in education, one never knows.
Merry Christmas (Happy belated Hanukkah for at least one of you), and a very Blessed New Year to you all and your families (make sure to give the kid sand your spouses and kids a hug from me).