I remember when I finished nursing school and worked as an RN. I told people that I would never take classes again. Ever. I was done with exams and lectures. Well, I think that lasted almost a year before I was looking at courses that I could take.
I took courses most of my life, but they were on my time and for personal interest. Sometimes they were athletic classes. Other times they were academic classes. And oftentimes, they were just classes that piqued my interest.
This was a time when I worked and had a husband and three young sons, so my time was very limited; somehow I found an hour each week to save for myself. I would indulge in my interests at the time. I didn’t have to ace the course, but could learn as much as I wanted.
The first course I took was in 100 level psychology. I still remember some elements of that course to this day. I took first-year English for fun. As I was “slightly” older than the average student, I was able to read the Olde English of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and others, and felt I could better appreciate it than when I read it in high school.
One of my best friends took a first-year statistics course. Are you kidding me? She took it when she didn’t have to. She loved maths and got 100% on her final. The thing is, arithmetic is what she loved and that is why she took the course. It took me a long time to come to the realization that we should follow the motto: You do you and I’ll do me; or in French: À chacun son goût.
I enrolled in a philosophy course at the local college once. It was interesting to listen to 18 and 19 year olds discuss these weighty philosophical ideas without any life experience. I was only 10 or 11 years older than they were at that time. Imagine being in that class now? I would have to dye my hair blue and get a nose piercing!
Over the years I have taken courses in fencing, painting, bridge, stretch-n-sew, cooking, running, and numerous other fields of inquiry.
The most unusual and instructional course I ever took was a six-week hobby farming course. It was at the end of January. I bought this class as a gift for my husband’s birthday, and we took it as a couple. There were six other couples and everybody else had a hobby farm except us.
We froze our butts off in a cold, drafty barn. We thought it would be fun and romantic. My mother, who had been raised on a small farm, said “Yes it can be fun, but mostly it is damn hard work.”
Of course she was right, and while we enjoyed the course, the best thing about it was that we learned that we would never be hobby farmers. Ever!
Sometimes we can learn things we did not expect. I know I will never be a hobby farmer, but I have also learned a few things about writing. While taking writing classes this last year, I am learning that it is not as easy as I thought and I am forced to write things I did not expect to write.
Poetry for example. I love writing for Chalkboard. They have a form of poetry that involves writing only 30 words to express an idea. Who knew that would be something that I would come to study, work on, and enjoy.
A couple of years ago, I listened to an astronomer on TV and was enthralled with the thought of being able to see the night sky so much better than I normally could. I bought a second-hand telescope, but really didn’t understand much about the heavens.
This summer, I brought my telescope on a road trip to Winnipeg. My son’s father-in-law is a big astronomy buff and helped me to understand how to use my telescope. I can’t wait for a clear night to try it out, maybe even for my husband and me to travel outside the city to gaze through its lens upon the night sky.
These courses have helped me become more well rounded and allowed me to dream of other options in my life I would not have otherwise considered. And I bring something to each class that only I can bring, my life experiences.
Taking courses is not so you would become an expert at something, although you might. It’s so you can be a student and have the opportunity to learn from an expert. You will meet new people, and learn new things. It is for the fun and excitement that it can bring to you. So…what are you waiting for?