Two exciting milestones occurred today ... this is my 200th post since starting the blog in July 2005, and the blog reached 20,000 hits a couple of hours ago! Cool bananas. In case you're wondering, the two posts on wattalapam (the recipe here, and more musings here) still get far more hits than anything else. Together they account for about for about half the traffic the blog has ever had! Anyway ... on to today's thoughts ...
Growing up in a series of small towns in New Zealand, I didn't have many educated role models. My teachers had degrees of course, but I was too shy to speak to them about the future. Maybe some of my friends' parents had degrees too. In any case, no one in my immediate world had even completed high school, and my parents were hostile to the idea of me doing so. 'You don't want to end up a perpetual student', my dad said, circling job vacancies for unskilled school leavers. The thing was, I did want to become a perpetual student. I just didn't know it then, and didn't know that one person's 'perpetual student' is another person's 'lifelong learner'. Lifelong learning sounds much more positive, don't you think?
Anyway, I was an obedient child and left school at 16 to start an office job, as I had no other visible options. (Well, single motherhood was a popular choice among my high school cohort ...) Fortunately, I was accepted into a part time correspondence course at a university and achieved my undergraduate degree over seven years while working full time. Phew. Several more university qualifications have followed ... I guess education is addictive.
In the almost thirty years since leaving school I've also done dozens of shorter courses. From driving (yet another skill my parents chose not to impart to their daughters); to pottery, silver jewellery making, sewing and woodworking (reminding me how inartistic I am); to anthropology, French, Bahasa Indonesia, chemistry and forensics; to various courses in food hygiene, cooking and cheese making. Guess I'm officially a course junkie! One of the blogs I follow recently had a lovely article on how and why to become a lifelong learner, which lists lots of good reasons we should all keep learning. Apparently it makes us more interesting, independent, healthy and satisfied. The article also has some great links to free online course providers.
Three cheers for lifelong learning.