Greetings my readers! As you are aware, I have a forthcoming book slated for the Spring. Since I announced the book last month, there has been some interest in seeing an excerpt. That is what this post is. I am choosing to share with you a portion of the first essay in the book. The “title track” if you will indulge my musical comparison. Enjoy!
Everything to Learn, Nothing to Teach
Finding a way to navigate through life and discover your life’s mission is no small undertaking. In our ever-increasingly, fast-paced, interconnected, hyper-informed world, discovering what one wants to do with one’s life is a yearning that is all too familiar as we move through this existence.
In these tough times, figuring out what you are meant to do has become an industry all to its own. The seminars, conferences, and advice can be endless, which would probably explain why there are so many self-help books and life coaches. There is a wealth of advice out there for those who improve their lives. Having the necessary footing to make a wise decision is crucial in these times of uncertainty. However, despite the plethora of information, all of us must ultimately make our own decision as to where we would like our lives to go.
As a person with an academic background, I have chosen education as my means to move forward in life. It is my greatest strength and what I am known for. I have chosen how far I want to go and figured exactly how much I am willing to apply in this stage of my life.
As a published writer, it’s vital that one must be precise in explanation. The title of this essay emerged from a blog post written a few years ago concerning my plans for the future, specifically, my decision not to enter into a doctoral program. After so many years in school, and with a life with differing pressures and responsibilities, I publicly announced that I would not pursue a PhD. I made my own decision, and so far, it feels as though I have made the right one.
I also got the title of this book from a phrase in that same blog post. In discussing my intention not to enroll into a PhD program, I ran down a list of solid reasons why I would not embark on it. I mentioned life reasons, debt, and rediscovering my own creativity. I also mentioned what over-schooling can do to a person. “Besides, these degree programs at times can make you feel like you have everything to learn, but nothing to teach.” Let’s explore that a bit more.
The reason I chose this title is because I am certain that there are many people out there who feel the same way I do. So many people of my age bracket, the tail end of Generation X -have gone to school, got our undergraduate degrees, went on to graduate school, and completed that as well. In today’s economy, it just seems as if that is not enough. Why is my lived experience less valuable than what can be researched endlessly?
The responses I received from the piece made me think of the broader view in society on education and its stated purpose. At times, it looks as though people are going to school just to be going to school. Yes; there are people out there who wish to dodge the horrid economy by being in college for a myriad of years. Then again, there are also those who genuinely like the regimentation that goes along with being in a degree program.
But what does it do to the person? Does it build confidence in the individual of being able to learn on his own? Or does it make one feel as though one must do everything that is scholastically required in order to have a fair shot at anything, especially a “bright future”?
Be on the lookout for the second book from yours truly, Everything To Learn, Nothing To Teach out Spring 2015