The World is Your Classroom…Take A Front Seat
I just came across this article on the Huffington Post called The Rise of College Alternatives and it was yet another reminder and comfort to me about the choices I have made in the last decade of my life.
I am a student of life, but in a different sense.
I didn’t make the list of students graduating summa cum laude . I was farrr from it. But that didn’t mean I lacked a thirst for learning. I just didn’t focus on ‘making the grade’.
When I was a sophomore in high school, you would’ve seen me in the library perusing many different sections or flipping through the pages of thick poetry books, looking up words I’d circled in Vogue articles, or reading about the life of Black Panther founder, Huey Newton.
I was simply curious…about everything that interested me.
You would never have imagined that I was nearly failing my chemistry class, even though I adored my teacher who resembled Elmer Fudd. But his adorableness wasn’t enough to get me to pay enough attention to protons and everything else that proved to be a foreign language to my ears and eyes in that class. I just wasn’t into it and knew I wouldn’t pursue it in life.
I wasn’t the best student when it came to what was always required of me, but I still never questioned my need for an education, for a degree.
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t able to ask my parents to borrow money to go to school (I’m still laughing about that one, Mitt) nor did I have a concrete plan for college. I was completely on my own when it came to that, but there was never a doubt that I would go or that I would finish. I was American and having the opportunity of a college education was ingrained in me.
I ended up getting guidance from a fellow college friend who walked the campus barefoot just to prove that he could. He helped me register and schedule my classes – interestingly enough, we had two classes together and he wanted to keep that pattern going the following semester because of his feelings for me, but his revolutionary ideas weren’t impressing me anymore.
Where he saw being bold in the face of authority or disdain for anyone’s upward movement in life, I saw limitations and struggle surrounding him and the life he was leading. That was not how I wanted to feel in my own life, so I eventually changed the company I was keeping.
When I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Finance, one thing I was grateful for was to declare myself debt-free from that experience. I worked in Banking and found a company that paid 100% of my college fees. I’m talking, they covered tuition, books, and even my cap and gown. It was a fantastic deal plus I was getting real world experience in the Finance world while educating myself.
There are always trade offs, though. I can’t look back on my college days and recant stories of me yelling in the lunch cafeteria “Food fight!!” or going to thriller parties with my nerd boyfriend from Lambda Lambda Lambda. I was too busy mixing and mingling from 9 to 5 like Melanie Griffith once did…as a total “working girl.”
I didn’t have the dorm life, the roommate you either love or hate, the parties, the football games, but when I left college, I LEFT it behind me…no debt, no creditors, no loans, and had a degree to call my own.
The choices YOU make in life shape YOU and determining the path right for you is all in your hands.
After getting my Bachelors degree from UT Dallas, I went back in to pursue a Masters in Aesthetic Studies- which is pretty much like an interdisciplinary studies degree where you curate the curriculum of your choice in the Arts. It was a whole other world and I knew UT Dallas was not known for its liberal arts program, or for much of anything liberal arts-related; it was a commuter school primarily for working folks and best known for its computer science and business programs. So I canceled that higher education plan out. I wasn’t willing to move forward, because I didn’t feel it was the best route to take.
So I went alternative and threw myself into the world. I went to Mexico and mingled with published authors, returned to Dallas to work alongside magazine editors at the best city news magazine in town, then went entrepreneurial and started my own personal concierge service, then got into the blogging scene. Who knows where I’ll go next, but that’s the beauty of life…it always changes and I am more than willing to go with that kind of flow.
Many routes that I’ve taken have actually felt more like detours, leading me down paths that have brought me knowledge about life and myself that no college education, professor, or former boss ever offered me.
Experiencing my life, making unconventional choices, becoming a mother, writing my first book, and trusting in the unknown and my own intuition have been my best forms of education.
I highly recommend you pay more attention to what you want to learn, what calls your interest, what attracts you, who speaks to you, and follow that pathway. This is the very concept of living that I discuss in my book ‘Convivial | A Quest for the Masterpiece Within‘. Have you gotten your hands on a copy yet?
College degrees are a great accomplishment, but they don’t solve everything and they don’t entirely bring you the knowledge you need to live a convivial life.
This is truly a different economy. You’ve got to adapt to it. Your curiosity for learning, for delving into new environments, for connecting and building relationships with others, your willingness to adopt new habits and outlooks, your desire for continual improvement, your openness to criticism, your ability to be proactive and creative, and your courage to face your fears is what will take you through life successfully.
Determine how you best learn.
Declare the world your classroom.
Take your seat up front.
Pay attention to the lessons.
Choose the best teachers…
Life, Love, and your very own heart.Tweet