While enjoying a post-workout glass of wine and some sweets this afternoon, the conversation among my fellow couchsurfers (there are six of us here) turned to education. Javier, a kind young Argentinian, suggested we watch Sir Ken Robinson’s related TED talk.
It has absolutely nothing to do with NZ, but a lot to do with why we’re here. It’s also bit long (20 minutes), and a bit old (2006), but it’s filled with hilarious jokes, amusing anecdotes and, of course, inspiring and eloquent speech. Highly recommended:
Personally, I’m just now starting to realize what I want to “be.” I certainly wasn’t ready to make that decision as a freshman in college, as most American students are encouraged to do. So I bounced from one course of study to another, and another again, and finally just settled on something that would get me that piece of paper in a reasonable amount of time. And I’ve never used the material I studied since.
During our recent move into storage/massive purge of old things, I was finally able to throw out my old econometrics and public policy tomes. This was cathartic — I could finally admit to myself that no, I am not and will never be a professional economist or politician. Thank god(s). It’s not that college was useless, I learned some critical thinking and social skills. Oh, and I met my beautiful and wonderful-in-every-way girlfriend. So I think of her every month when I’m sending in that student loan check.
But I didn’t make the most of college because I didn’t have any direction. I wish I’d taken creative writing, foreign language, and public speaking courses. Of course it’s easy to say that now, but if I wasn’t forced into a track, any track, and rather encouraged to take a general course of study I would have inevitably hit a few of those by chance. Sure, I had some elective options, but I was so burnt out by heavy academic courses that I took bullshit like Human Sexuality and Sacred Music because they didn’t sound difficult and fit into my drinking schedule.
Back to Robinson’s point, I was never a particularly creative kid. In fact, I rebelled against art and music classes because I thought they were a waste of time. Why did I think they were a waste of time? Because they weren’t given the same importance as math or science. So I don’t think that early education killed my creativity, but I do wish that I wasn’t allowed to ignore it. I excelled in what they told me to excel in, but let the rest fall by the wayside because I could. It was a rational decision, there are limited hours in the day and I concentrated my efforts in places where I’d see results. Wait, maybe I am an economist at heart?
Finally, this is why we travel. It’s these conversations with strangers from far away lands that end up inspiring a rambling blog post. Serendipity is a wonderful and fickle mistress. Grab her by the neck when you can.
Now, it’s happy hour. Things are good. If you can believe it, winter in Auckland is 60 degrees and sunny. Gin and tonics all around!