My wife and I are moving to Utah. Did I mention that? I want to learn how to be a cabinetmaker and I found a cabinetry program at a university there. Upon telling people about the move, here are some of the most common reactions I get:
"Utah? But you live in Florida. Why not just build cabinets in Florida? Plenty of trees down there, right? Why uproot? You know they don't drink in Utah? Haven't you ever seen Big Love? Building cabinets is dangerous. Why abandon your history credits? You'll lose them!"
And on and on. The way I see things is that I attended my classes to study and learn. I have succeeded to that end in great measure and satisfied myself with what I have learned. At this point in the conversation, I tap the side of my head and tell whoever I am talking to that I haven't "lost" anything. I am only ready to learn new things.
The attitudes I am encountering shed unique light on how education is regarded by some people in the United States. To me, having an education means understanding life's many dimensions. It means being aware of different issues and different perspectives. This awareness accumulates over time through focused efforts and experiences. It is a process that always continues. It cannot be quantified. To others, it seems that education is a collection of marks that are to be redeemed for a ticket. In other words, education has become a commodity. It has a price, and it can be used as a form of currency. I disagree with this notion, and so my education continues.
I figure that things in Utah will be remarkably different from the way they are in Florida. Except for snow and a closer proximity to California, I don't really know what to expect. But I don't buy stereotypes. I feel like an alien in my home state of Florida, and I am not afraid of feeling like an alien somewhere else.