I went to the Open House at my son’s high school last night, and I am jealous. They get to debate basic constitutional principles in APUSH (the odd acronym for AP US History) and there is a course called End of the World and Dystopian Literature in English class, with a reading list that went from Atwood to HG Wells and films like Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Add to that the beauty of physics and calculus. Every class sounded fascinating (okay, maybe not French grammar) and I wanted to go back to school!
It seems like such a wonderful luxury to read and study, to be challenged to stretch your mind every day. I wonder, now, whether I should have become a teacher, but teaching the same class over and over is not the same as being a student. When you get older you have to specialize. That’s the problem. Maybe that is why I shift from job to job. Even as a lawyer I avoided specializing by acting as Corporate Counsel, where each new problem required gaining enough expertise to monitor and oversee the specialists or handle it myself. Then on to the next challenge
I’ve also avoided specializing by writing, although now that I’m finally acquainting myself with marketing I see the value of ‘brand’. I’ve gone from short stories to ‘creative nonfiction’ family history to novels and each required becoming an expert- and then I moved on. So it’s satisfying but not with the same variety or, frankly, the camaraderie of being in an academic environment or even an office environment. For pure intellectual stimulation there is probably no better moment in life than when you are a student at a good high school or university.
Am I being nostalgic for something that never was? Is this all a rosy picture that denies the thorns?
Maybe. But I’m starting on the reading list for that literature class, tomorrow!