Is Higher Learning Enough?

You know as well as I do that we are confronted with many contradictory circumstances throughout our lives. Many of which we have no prior experience in. 

Our struggles handling these circumstances after we graduate from formal education merit this question almost always: Is higher learning enough?

Is higher learning enough?

I started my college education my junior year of high school through a credits-in-escrow program through my college, which was 15 minutes away from home.

I envied those who got ahead in life. 

Truly college education should be desired.  It meant a thorough career in your area of study. It meant that my creative dreams would come true. But I did not see the danger in this way of thinking until later. I simply bought what society sold without questions. Now I am learning the other side.

My dreams of accomplishment in art had little to do with a college education, but some of the experiences could not have happened anywhere else.

Within the academic system

Here you will see some brief observations of the best of what academia has to offer. Most of my examples come from college, but could also come from primary and secondary education. There is often little difference in format these days.

  1. Teachers who are knowledgeable about the subject/topic that they teach
  2. Students from a variety of backgrounds
  3. Potential for one-on-one tutoring as a part of the system
  4. Liberal arts help you have a broader scope of learning
  5. Isolated learning experience
  6. Great social melting pot
  7. Higher potential for achievement
  8. Ability to work with other students and be exposed to their learning styles and experiences

Workforce training

Post graduation from high school or college you have to learn a lot of things. 

Most of which you cannot learn under your parents or even independently in a college experience. A majority of these can be learned inside of the academic system, but I would argue that it is neither encouraged nor ideal to do so during that time. Some people get both worlds at once, but many still do not.

  1. Interviewing skills
  2. Money management
  3. Networking
  4. How to adjust to demands of different jobs
  5. Empowerment to pursue your great dreams
  6. How to quit in the right context
  7. How to plan for the future
  8. Change and growth is inevitable
  9. Personal habits can cause conflicts
  10. Quality of life matters more than quantity of experiences
  11. Relationships are often the difference between success or failure
  12. Control over certain variables in life makes life easier
  13. You cannot control everything
By following these links: Quitter by Jon Acuff and The Dip by Seth Godin, you will learn about alternative ways of thinking about your career. Both of these books provide a framework for personal challenges in pursuing a different careers. 


Important Formation

Rock Formation, detail
At the end of the summer of 2005 I considered my dreams smashed and my life more or less a failure. I had to scramble to find somewhere to live and look for a job, again. Life was spelled RISK.

For months I walked to my new job in a call center dreaming of the country air and the mysterious forests. I dreamed of autonomy, trust, and creativity. All of which seemed to be robbed from me after the end of my summer camp job. I wanted to go back every day for almost 2 full years. Then the dreaming started to fade.

My life became a navel staring contest with those just as depressed as myself who longed for more than what a stable 9-5 job meant. The loss of confidence in what I was capable of was deteriorated by what I thought I could be based on my circumstances.

This was true in regard to my career, but God started a new work on me shortly thereafter. He gave me a comic project that has almost directly coincided with leadership in the arts ministry. The important formation began at that time and has continued to grow my hope and smash my fears.

This weekend my new found hope in my calling was changed by a self-initiated trip to Hock Hills in Southern Ohio. There, I explored and found a new site and a picture of my future. RISK now gives way to ADVENTURE. Out of this trip I saw the possibility of what life can become. I am not always directed by the winds of other people's choices. Rather I have freedom to pursue the adventures that I deem worthy. And out of this freedom will I venture into new mistories and experience life as God intends.

Click here to see the full sized image: Rock Formation


The Anxiety Machine

We do not always get what we choose. We do not always get an actual choice. Contrary to what many people believe, others often will choose for us without our permission.

The Anxiety Machine was built as a way to solve that problem. Rube Goldberg had a little to do with it, but so did motivational speakers and pastors.

What do we do when someone chooses for us?
Old Tree By The River
1. Move on
2. Be productive in some way we choose
3. Choose to forgive
4. Rest
5. Pray
6. Learn how to be constructive in spite of the situation
7. Live
8. Refuse to make the same choice if in a similar situation
9. Be compassionate

1. Slander the other party
2. Get revenge
3. Hold a grudge
4. Fight
5. Try to forget that it ever happened
6. Destroy something
7. Hurt someone

The choice is yours. 
Which way will you pull the lever?