A life-long learning experience can be yours!
Today’s stream-of-consciousness blog post by Gerard concerns my experience in adult education.
Now, I’ve been an adult for a number of years. I cannot tell you exactly when I realized that this happened, and I’m still unsure of my status. I recently turned 55, yet I feel like I’m probably around 32 or so. I never really had a career to speak of except for one constant in my life, which is playing, performing and recording music. I resigned to the fact that I would not make a living doing so many years ago. While I would love to make it my “job”, it’s not a possibility for the majority of musicians in the world. But I keep doing it.
Another constant has been education. In 1984 I returned to school after leaving UWEC in 1981. I enrolled at the U of M and took courses in Polish, Logic, Botany, Early British History and a few others I can’t recall right now. It was fun.. I rode my motorcycle to the pretty campus, hung out at Coffman union, felt like the old guy even back then. That lasted a couple of years. Then early on in the days of the internet, I got a job doing web design. To augment my self-taught skills I enrolled at MCTC for their web and graphic design program. First class I had to take was “keyboarding”. Yes, at 40 years old I still never had learned to type. What a pleasure that was, within a couple-three months I was typing like a typist. No more hunt ‘n peck. The classes were very good, I again was older than everyone else in them, but at least the instructors were older than me. I enjoyed learning new software, learning about type and fonts and the old methods of design such as marker rendering, copying type and printing it with pen and ink.
Then in I think 2004, having been laid off again (another constant in my life.. I have been laid off from various businesses, never for any fault or reason of my own, probably 6 times within 12 years.) I was able to enroll in the Displaced Worker Program. I enrolled in a Summer program at Hennepin County Tech in Eden Prairie for their Recording/Pro Tools course. Though I had experience with recording, it was great to learn from another professional. It got me started at my new career, which I thought would be my job until I decided to move up to the woods, which we are intending to do someday. The recording studio job was my longest-lasting employment, just about 7 years. Well, that didn’t work out so well as my once-friend and employer freaked out and there I was again, looking for work.
I figured I was done with school. Too old, I thought.. maybe I would learn something like jewelry making or some craft for fun. Had enough school. Don’t want no more school. Enough Adult Education. Look where it got me. Laid off again. Dang it. The hell with it. But then another Reemployment Seminar came along and Hey! Free School! Why not? I tested and had to get transcripts from high school (!) (Spooner High School Class of ’76.. they still had my records, unbelievable!) but I got everything, I got in and decided to learn me up more stuff. And now that we are reaching the end, I’m really glad I did. And I no longer think that I won’t go to any more classes. I like learning, being around new people, challenging my aging brain. I’m glad some of you stuck it out too.. let’s all get some jobs already. GJB