Seventeen years ago, I began a master’s in English Education. Fifteen years ago, after a change of heart, I stopped pursuing my degree to join the corporate world. Nine years ago, I started my family.
This past December, I started studying to “recertify” the hours I’d taken so many years ago. I’m amazed at just how differently I learn after been immersed in reality. Although I’m admittedly still distracted by household things, much like I was in my earlier college years, I’m so much more focused than I was at age 25.
It was also striking to see how deeply committed I’ve become to seeking out more information about the authors so I might suppose what formed their styles. I longed to climb into their minds. With a raging fire in the woodstove and a laptop propped in front of my book, I devoured poet after poet, joyfully this time, rather than painstakingly as I did when I was an undergrad. It was made so much simpler by not having to brave a colossal library to answer the million questions.
During a recertification exam, one of the professors and I remarked about how different grad school would look if every student was required to take 10 years off to first “be” in the world. (She suggested more like 30!)
Some students experience incredible learning the first time around. I wasn’t one of those. I’m sure I had some wonderful instructors, but for me learning required either a connection of some kind or an evident application. Not many struck that chord.
I wasn’t ripe, fertile soil ready to take in their knowledge and grow with what they were planting at the time.
As the snow melts from the fields and my brain, I’m excited to see what happens next.