Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yes, I'm A Nerd

"It is not enough just to live, just to survive.  It is incumbent on each of us to equip ourselves to do something worthwhile in society -- to acquire more and more light, so that our personal light can help illuminate a darkened world.  And this is made possible through learning, through educating ourselves, through progressing and growing in both mind and spirit." - Gordon B. Hinckley

I have been reading in Gordon B. Hinckley's book, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.  Before I began reading the book, I glanced at the Table of Contents and, for some reason, I was surprised to find "learning" among the 10 virtues listed.  I've always known that getting an education was important but I guess I had never really considered it a virtue.  After finishing the chapter, however, I was struck with how necessary it is for each of us to obtain an education, to stretch our minds and use our knowledge and experience to progress and help others to grow as well.

Along with this little epiphany came the realization that I really don't know all that much.  I always did fairly well in school but I think I would be pushing the line into dishonesty if I said I remembered half of what I was taught.  Heck, I'd be lucky if I remembered a third of it.  And because I was so focused on my History, English, and Music classes throughout my college career, I never took the time to enjoy any elective classes that covered other subjects I was interested in.

I graduated from BYU about eight months ago with a Bachelor's Degree in History and Minors in English and Music.  It may sound crazy but I really miss school!  I miss the routine, the busy schedule, and, surprisingly, the constant presence of people around me.  But most of all, I miss the flow of information and the training that was provided to help me make my way in the world.  I miss the feeling of doing something productive.  In short, I miss learning.

So what did I do to remedy this situation?  First, I wrote down my learning goals:
  • Learn how to sew.
  • Learn everything there is to know about the Revolutionary War.  (As a History Major, I emphasized American history but the Revolutionary War was my primary focus.  However, I am far from being an expert and I'd like to change that.) 
  • Learn more about astronomy and how the universe works.  (Astronomy has always been fascinating to me.)
  • Learn more about physiology and how the body works.  (I really like science just not science classes.)
  • Learn a foreign language.  (I took six years of Spanish before college but I don't remember much of it.)
  • Learn more about statistics.  (I LOVED my Stats class!  It was so interesting!)
  • Learn more about the classic novels and expand your vocabulary.  (I never want there to be a moment in my life where I'm not in the middle of some novel.)
  • Learn how to be more proficient in mathematics.  (I did well in my math classes until I took Calculus in college.  I hit a wall in that class.  My goal is to push past that wall.)
  • Learn to be more self-reliant.  (I want to be able to manage my finances, research insurance companies, know when something is a rip-off, etc.)
  • Learn to use more computer programs and master the ones I already know.  (After years and years of having to use computers, I can still be pretty computer illiterate at times.)
After I wrote my goals down, I wanted to put my plans into action.  I went to the Provo City Library today and checked out a College Algebra book, a book on Pre-Calculus, and two astronomy books. My roommate, Faith, was flabbergasted when she saw me on the couch this afternoon doing math problems...for fun!  She told me I could do her Physics homework for her but I thought that might be taking this "learning thing" a little bit too far. ;)

So yes, I think I can officially classify myself as a nerd...but you know what?  I DON'T CARE!  I feel better about myself despite my nerd-status.  Maybe, just maybe, my "personal light can help illuminate a darkened world." 


Cait said...

I've always wanted to do that too! Have an hour of some foreign language, an hour of math, an hour of art, etc...reminds me of Thomas Jefferson. :) Way to go!

Shauntelle said...

This is awesome! Good for you for making a list and actually trying to accomplish the goals you put on it. :)

The Christensens said...

A renaissance woman! Go, baby!