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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why I Like College

A primary reason I like college is my view of myself which is kind of like being a sponge.  I want to absorb my surroundings.  Therefore I felt the need early on to choose my surroundings intentionally.  Even during times in which I was not a good student, I was surrounded by an environment that was involved in research and study.  There was a nod to disciplined intellectual pursuits.  I have found this disciplined atmosphere on all campuses I have attended.  There are always assignments that are demanding of thought as well as tests of character.  Do I have what it takes to get the work done—the persistence, the optimism, the realism, the ingenuity and inventiveness, the love of adventure, the stamina, the willingness to overcome false starts and setbacks?  And of course there is the communal nature of the enterprise.  There are peers and instructors studying the subject, but also revealing much about themselves.  I have never found the university to be an ivory tower—cloistered from the world.  Even when dealing with abstractions, the objective was always to better cope with reality.  This goes for all the subjects I have studied.  With online universities the question arises if the days of the campus are numbered?  As inefficient and expensive as the campus experience is, I think there is no substitute for it.  Even extracurricular activities can be extremely valuable—I think of my experience with the Wesley Foundation for example.  Now I occasionally take courses at a community college—Saint Petersburg College.  It is a fine college with exceptional teachers and courageous, bright students.  I think of it like other colleges I have attended—it provides an unabashed sacred and disciplined pursuit of truth, a very practical humility before the vast known and unknown complexities that confront us.  The energy and effort required to insightfully simplify are grounded in deep commitment and faith.

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