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February 5, 2004
 Student View

 


Lifetime of learning

Katie Norman
Katie Norman

As a child, elementary school was wonderful. Attending a small school meant that the principal knew everyone’s siblings and parents. This provided me with an early sense of community. I also enjoyed attending school with my cousins, performing in the Christmas Suite, and participating in “buddy reading” with younger students. Yet the best part of the school year was Education Week. It was our spirit week, our winter carnival. There was a song to which everyone had to learn all the words so they could sing it in the assemblies throughout the week. There were guest speakers, fun classroom exercises and usually some sort of fair to end of the week. As I got older Education Week gave me an opportunity to attend the opening ceremonies and cover them for SchoolNet News. I learned a lot during those weeks.

We are never too old or too young to advance our education.

These memories are the first things I think of when I hear the word education. Some people might think university or their degree program but I think of that week in March. Elementary school was a time in my life when I thought I could sing, act, paint, write the best poetry, solve any math or science problem and still have no homework on the weekends.

It is strange that as some people grow up, their confidence seems to deteriorate. This isn’t a rant on self-esteem. I just realized that learning, the type I did in grade three, could continue throughout my entire life. This learning must be accompanied with an attitude of acceptance. I cannot always be the best or even in the top 10 in every subject but that shouldn’t be the reason why I do not pursue something.

One day a few weeks ago, I opened my mailbox and inside was a brochure from Memorial’s Division of Lifelong Learning. There were courses for every interest possible: wine, American Sign Language, singing, designing garden, conflict resolution … and the list goes on. I thought about taking a course but decided against it, worried that it might burden my heavy course load even further. I wish I were not blessed with that logic. The opportunity to explore a topic within an academic environment that wasn’t a degree requirement – with a format something like: midterm, research paper, final – would have been nice. Fortunately I will be able to take these courses in the future when my wallet and schoolwork load are more capable of such an endeavour.

This is the idea of lifelong learning, and I do not just mean the section of MUN that goes by that title. The idea is that we can learn at any age. We are never too old or too young to advance our education. I remember speaking with a lady in one of my classes last year and she was taking the course on her lunch break because German was something she always wanted to learn. That is one of the most positive attitudes I have run across here at Memorial. The idea that even one you have a degree, diploma, certificate or even if you don’t have one, learning can still be a part of your life.

Often I look to my older friends who are graduating this April and I wish that I too were donning the cap and gown. Please remember that this mostly occurs when I have some huge term paper due in two days, or an exam to cram for. When I tell people I am jealous that they are graduating, I often get the reply, “You need to be in school, you love it.” As a general rule that is true, I have never disliked school. Yet school is not the only way you can learn, and I plan to continue learning for a long time. I want to take a cooking course, because my culinary skills end at the microwave. I’d also like to take some photography courses to refine my interest in that area. There are a lot of things that I’d like to learn more about.

I am beginning to research graduate schools and my different options. Even that research reveals a person who does not want to limit herself. Not only does my list include 14 different schools; there are also nine different degree programs on my list. Obviously, this is not entirely logical but I decided that I can have many varied interests and that is perfectly fine. It is almost like that proverb, the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know. The more I think about graduating the more choices I begin to recognize. That little girl inside of me who dreamed big is rearing her head. I can do anything. I’m not yet sure what I will do, and that is half of the excitement.


 


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Next issue: February 19, 2003

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