We never really stop learning. It's a funny thing about life. There's more of it out there. There are more things to learn every day. Don't believe me? Wait for the next upgrade for your smart-phone...or that software package your place of business uses. We learn new stuff all the time. It's how we live, move, and have our being. Every now and again, however, in the midst of all this learning something surprising happens...someone becomes a student.
Someone embraces the practice of study.
Now, I don't want to make too much of the difference, but it's there. We all live and learn, as the attage goes, but there are only brief times in our lives when we are students. Most American children are students. Many don't embrace it, of course. Lord knows I surely didn't. I hated school in so many ways. The problem was that I didn't know how to be a student. People kept putting me in "learning environments" (as if the world weren't a learning environment all on its own) and expecting me to become a student. It didn't really happen. Not the way people had hoped.
Now, here I am in my 40's and I am in school again...this time as a student as opposed to one stuck in a "learning environment." I am a student. It's so strange and so challenging. I'm learning how to be a better and better student all the time. I'm learning skills including those of a teacher that are all helping me to be a better student. I'm finding tools and mentors and ideas and conjunctions to help me through.
So, in this first week of the last semester I embrace the mantle of "student." It's my job. It's what I'm going to be for some time to come even if/when I finish this Ph.D. May I never stop being a student.
Upon books, pour out your grace, O God.
Upon computers and data bases, pour out your grace, O Spirit.
Upon the minds of all who live and learn, pour out your grace, O Christ.
May such grace be upon us,
Mildly and gently.