Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another semester has come and gone. In the beginning it sure as hell felt like it would last forever yet in the last couple of weeks, the time flew. Where did it go?

I earned an "A" in my Economics class. It was a rather fascinating course covering Supply and Demand, International Trade, the Fed, Investments, Inflation, Unemployment, and a host of other topics that were insightful and fascinating. I will say it has been one of the most valuable courses I've ever taken because we see and hear about these topics every day. I took the course so I could learn to apply the theory. Mankiw's textbook was outstanding with short and well-written chapters. Anyone out there who thinks it's not necessary to have an understanding of how the economy works is nuts. If you want to understand WHY what is happening in our economy is happening, I highly recommend it. There's no way you can understand what's going on in the US today without having some Economics in your curriculum.

As to my second course, US & German Exceptionalism, that was a tough course with five textbooks, and not all of them as fascinating as Mankiw's one book. This was an experimental course, as Dr. B had never taught it before but being an expert on Germany and European History he wanted to throw it out there and see how it worked. Overall I think it was a success. We learned a lot about the nature of nationalism and exceptionalism in the US and Germany. We learned quite a bit about the relationship of the Puritan mission in the early colonies to the concept of Manifest Destiny as well as the roots of German nationalism, its rise and fall. My final paper was actually about the "Rise, Fall, and Legacy of German Exceptionalism in the 20th Century". All in all there was no midterm, no final and three papers. I'd say that was right up my alley. I waited till the week prior to the due dates to do the papers but only because I seem to thrive under pressure. Don't ask why, but I have plenty of time but no...I just wait till the last minute. But I completed it and for my hard work I earned the grade of "A-" fair enough for me. My overall GPA is now 3.58, I'm happy with that.

It took me four years to get my Associates degree because I had to take classes after hours. I took two classes per term including summer, and two terms I took three classes just to get done earlier. I moved on to the University in spring 2009, one of a few hundred transfer students (out of thousands that applied) accepted due to budget cuts. I don't take classes over summer because I really need a break. Spring and fall overwhelm me and I need some down time. I'm going to have to do summer classes next year and the year after. If I play my cards right I can finish my BA in August 2012 and begin graduate school that semester. Let's try and forget the fact that I will be 42 when I finish in 2012 and let's forget the fact that every other person I know asks me:

"So what are you going to do with this degree? Are you getting it just to have a degree?"

Are you kidding? I'm 40 years old competing in a classroom full of young people who were born two years before Clinton became President--the first time. I am not running myself ragged, exhausting myself day and night with work and studying just to hang a piece of paper in a frame on my wall. No way. I really plan to do something great with it and you know what? I'm not quite sure what it will be. As I was telling a coworker today, I would love to write, teach high school, work in a museum, research for documentaries, I mean the possibilities are endless if you get the MOST out of the education.

Done right, a liberal arts education can be a great thing. So what if many of the professors are liberal? So what if the institution itself has a liberal slant? So what if the majority of the students in my classes are young enough to be my own children in college? So what? In America today if we can get an education, then we should do it. It seems a waste of my brain NOT to get my education. And so I'm doing it. I used to obsess about the age thing but a smart friend told me that whether I do it or not, I'm still going to be a year older every year regardless so might as well just do it.

Damn I wish I could remember who told me that.

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