Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Would You Learn if You Could?

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Sometimes, I think about school and how I spent so many years trying to get out of it. When they say youth is wasted on the young, it always makes me think of school. I spent most days completely miserable being there, and--especially high school--it was such a tumultuous time in my life that I was more worried about the emotional roller coaster going on inside my skull than I was about the deeper meanings of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

That isn't to say that I wasn't interested in learning. I made good grades--A’s and B’s consistently--and I loved English class. But there are so many things that I wish I’d spent more concentrating on. I took Spanish in high school and college, and I still have virtually no ability to speak it. My math skills are pretty bad. And I’m borked when it comes to a basic understanding of the sciences.

I keep a wishlist of things that I can’t afford to buy now, but would like to get someday. On that list are a couple of textbooks for algebra, biology, physical science because someday I’d really like to get the time to brush up on those subjects. I just feel everyone should be well informed in the basic subjects.

However, that got me to thinking about what I’d like to learn if I could go back to school and just study whatever.

I’d love to take some survey courses over specific topics. In college I took some survey classes on Edgar Allan Poe, Mythology, and slavery, but I’d love to take some classes heavy on, say, just the Reconstruction period of the US with a focus on the racial politics. I’d love to take a class over the suffrage movement and really get into some details about other suffragettes than Susan B. Anthony. I’d also love to take a class that examines gender classifications in different cultures throughout history. I know not every culture was as binary as we are currently. Even the Greeks had gray areas here and there. I’d love to learn more about that.

In addition, and assuming that I was able to brush up on my sciences some, I’d like to take classes on astronomy and quantum physics. I know that would be a huge jump, especially quantum physics, but that’s what really gets my nerd brain pumping. Concepts like multiple dimensions bumping causing the Big Bang, what existed before time...that stuff sounds so damn cool!

Finally, I’d love to learn some languages. German would be great to help me understand and appreciate English. Spanish is practical where I live, and at this point it just feels disrespectful not learning it. But I’d also love to learn Hindi, as there are tons of people from India or of Indian descent that live in my area.

I try to learn stuff as often as I can. The more informed you are, it seems like the better choices you can make. And the more I learn about other cultures and other people, the better I can relate to them and empathize. Which hopefully makes me a better person, and probably a better writer. Mind you, that last part would just be an added bonus, not my soul reasoning.

What would you learn if you had the opportunity, assuming time and money were not constraints?