It’s the beginning of summer and while most people are headed off on vacations, I have signed up for a couple of university classes instead. Technically, I’m pursuing a degree, but I already have one and I work for a university, so my real reason for summer school isn’t to finish college, it’s to take advantage of the free tuition I get and learn a few things along the way. This summer I will be taking continuation courses in music theory and piano, and a history class. That might sound like a horrible way to spend a summer, but I love learning new things, and I wasn’t really paying attention when I first went to college. In fact, it took me two decades to finish my degree and it is in graphic design, something that wasn’t even on my radar when I started college.
My interests through the years have evolved tremendously. I started college as a music major, studying vocal performance, with the hope that I might transfer in a couple of years to study musical theatre. But then, I switched my major to theatre and I fell in love with acting. Music was always my first love, but theatre became my true love. At the time, I was minoring in video production and had started working for a local television station, when my trajectory took a turn. A friend of a friend bought an old dinner theatre in the area and was starting a theatre company and did I want to join? Hell yes, I did. So I dropped out of college and moved into the communal theatre, beginning one of the coolest chapters of my life.
I hadn’t given up on the idea of getting a college degree, though. I took classes here and there and even ended up in a BFA Acting program for a few years at one point. But I never finished my degree in music, theatre, or even video production–I was too busy doing those things (and later, I was too busy drinking myself into rehab, but that’s a story for another day). Years later, as I worked as a graphic designer, I pursued and finished my degree in graphic design.
So the classes I’m taking this summer are mostly things I want to know about. Yes, the history class is one of those core classes you have to take, but I’m excited to take it, honestly. I always hated history in high school, but the older I get, the more interested in it I become. And I’m curious to see what they teach vs. what I’ve learned over the years, because I’ve gone down some rabbit holes and I’m not convinced that universities are teaching the whole story.
I may regret signing up for these classes because these next few weeks are going to be incredibly busy, but hopefully I can manage it. I’m excited to learn more about music theory and really excited to get back to learning piano. Practicing piano has become less drudgery as I get older.
Whether I’m taking classes or reading a ton of books, I’m always trying to learn something new. I’m insatiably curious, always have been. As Socrates said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”