On lifelong learning

I’ve spent a great deal of the last four years desperately missing the classroom. I know. I’m  one of them.

I loved school. I love discovering and learning. But my favorite thing about learning is research. I’ve always loved browsing journals, searching for the thread that will help me sew my ideas into a neat little thesis. I’ve actually already written about this subject in a blog post four years ago:

It’s that magic moment, at least that’s what I call it. If you’ve ever spent time researching and researching and researching for what seems like forever, you may be questioning my sanity in saying that I enjoy that. While research is interesting, what I truly enjoy, what makes me happy and feel as though all my cares have fallen away, is that moment when everything clicks, when I suddenly discover what I’ve been searching for. It’s that electrifying feeling of eureka. It’s that moment that makes all of it worth it. After that moment, I’m on my way to having a solid thesis and paper that explores something that I am interested in or passionate about. But that first moment of understanding, that’s magic.

At the time I had been out of school barely three months and I couldn’t stand it. In fact, I actually rewrote three research papers from previous semesters that summer. My university ID still gave me access to my school’s library, so I found better research and used that to beef up ideas that I was too inexperienced to really research when I wrote about them. But I still wasn’t on the right path. Instead I was struggling to succeed in a field that didn’t excite me anymore.

I did this in many ways. Beyond learning all I could while on the job, I signed up for a lot of online courses and webinars. I was hungry for knowledge and I had lots of resources to feed that hunger.

Thinking about it now, I feel I subconsciously realized that I had no place in journalism, but the gobs of information I was soaking up – at work and online – was satisfying enough to cover up the truth.

That truth was and is that I’m a lifelong learner. That is, I am voluntarily committed to the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. It’s why I’ve always been a good student and why I am predisposed to the field of library science. It’s also why, even though I’ll be starting school in three weeks, I signed up for a three-week introduction to GIS course that starts this week (more on that to come). Well, I also signed up for the class because, as my husband says, I’m a little crazy, but mostly it’s because I couldn’t wait to start learning again.

It’s also the reason that when my textbooks arrived for my first semester of library school, I did a happy dance on the front porch, in full view of my neighbor’s 10-year-old son. I never said I wasn’t a little bit insane, but I hear all librarians are, so I’m taking it as a compliment.

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4 thoughts on “On lifelong learning

  1. I don’t understand people who DON’T want to learn things. Why not soak up knowledge when and where you can? I don’t know, maybe most people aren’t as into tucking away knowledge for a rainy day as I am. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO CROP UP IN A GAME OF TRIVIAL PURSUIT, PEOPLE. Anyway, I think the constant desire to learn and grow is a really noble one.

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