There’s more to education

For the past few days we’ve been treated to unseasonably warm temperatures and the leaves have hit their peak. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want to climb on my bike and ride up the Delaware branch of the Delaware & Raritan Canal to Lambertville and stand in the middle of the free bridge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and look at the tree colors slope up the valley away from the river.

But at school, it being the beginning on November (getting close to the middle of November now), stress is reaching its peak as well. We’re all getting down in the flood, and instead of spending this beautiful Sunday afternoon riding up the river, or exploring Mercer County Park’s 2,500-plus acres, or hitting up the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my friends, I am sitting in front of my television watching LaDainian Tomlinson make fools out of the Jets and trying to catch up on work.

I’ve felt like this for a while now, this sense of great weight.

There’s so much I want to do, there are so many projects I want to work on. I wish that every time I walk into a bookstore – like yesterday as I perused Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels with my friend Josh – I could buy a book knowing that I had enough time to read it. I wish I could take two or three days and drive to Vermont.

Can you even imagine what Vermont must look like right now? It must look like the mountains are on fire.

I want to finish the short story that I started over the summer, I want to chase down all the news stories I think of, I want to follow all the poetic lines that occur to me when I can’t sleep at night to their natural conclusions.

The College’s mission statement says it seeks to prepare students “to create, preserve and transmit knowledge, arts and wisdom.” Through its liberal learning requirements, it hopes to create well-rounded students.

It seems to me, however, that the roundest students – for everyone is a student, whether or not they are matriculated at an accredited school or not – are ones who are naturally curious and self-motivated, the ones who go out into the great wide world to seek opportunities to learn, who are able to see the opportunity to learn that exists innately in each moment.

The best education does not come from reading a textbook, or writing papers to fulfill meaningless requirements. It comes from investigating those things that you are passionate about.

But, of course, I will continue to soldier my way through my schoolwork like I always have, I will maintain my respectable grade point average, I will stay in good academic standing. But, before the shit really hits the fan this semester, before I really get in over my head, I just wanted to get this all out of me.

Life is far too important to take it all so seriously.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go ride my bike.

– Matthew Fair, Editor in Chief, Nov. 6, 2005