What College Means to Me

 

What does Meramec Community College mean to me?

 

Having survived my first year at Meramec Community College I am anxious to return this fall to experience the myriad opportunities to learn.

I can hear my detractors now, “Dude, you can only take so many classes each semester.” They’re right but, I said myriad opportunities to learn not myriad classes to take.

When I started at Meramec as a full time “Freshman” (Love that term.) in the fall of 2013 I was under the impression that all learning takes place in the classroom and only professional instructors, teachers, professors and lecturers were qualified to teach. No disrespect to the instructional staff but damn, I was naïve!

From the very second I set foot on campus I started to learn. I learned I wasn’t as smart as I thought and yet more intelligent than I knew. Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it?

Let me explain, I think I had a bit of the dreaded teenage invincibly disease. I felt my years (number 71 in progress), had taught me all the wisdom one might ever need and I know I was bursting with knowledge, experience and sage advice. I was so very right and equally so very wrong. Confused yet? It gets better.

Driving to school I learned how early I need to leave home, the fastest route, the most convenient parking spot and how to find my classroom – I learned all by myself – proud of me? If I can do that, why do I need to go to class to learn? It took a combination of knowledge and skills to get me to my classroom on time. Did I come by these skills naturally or was I taught some, if not all? Unless I was driving illegally, which I wasn’t, someone had to help me learn to drive a car plus a third party had to test my driving knowledge and skills, right?

For me, going to college is the same. We all have knowledge and skills to bring together as a student body. We need to share those with others and, here comes the biggie, we need to learn from those same others as much as we learn from our professors.

Two things you weren’t hear from me now are:

1. I’m too old to learn.

2: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Moose feathers! My opinion, unless you’re dead you ARE learning every nano second of every day of your life! But what you may not be doing is processing all that information.

May I have a tympani here please?

Enter Professor Perspective, Choreographic Architect.

Years ago, I taught Emergency Medical Technician Courses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. If, as an instructor I learned anything it was this: The best teacher has to be the best student in the classroom.

A good professor is one who is constantly assessing the skills and talents of a student through observation and interaction. The professor will choreograph that student to assist her/him in such a way as to bring forth hidden knowledge and skills that may be applied to current and future relationships, education, employment and so forth.

The best students in the class will share their knowledge with their peers and, through sharing in class, the professor.

I don’t if I can count the number of times I’ve left a lecture hall, gone to the cafeteria for coffee and met classmates who will start talking about the lecture and how it affected them. I wanted to shout out, HEY DUDES, YOU’RE TEACHING! But being the shy and withdrawn man I am, I didn’t.

 

I’m learning that wisdom knows no age, nor gender, nor race, nor sexual identity, nor nationality, nor IQ, nor any of the other archaic barriers society once established.

For me, wisdom is the willingness to learn, the determination to improve myself, the humility to learn from life and the eagerness to share my knowledge with those willing to listen.

Like every other creature on this campus, I am a student and I am a teacher for I am learning wisdom as I share it.

 

Papa Nyk

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