Monday, November 17, 2014

Life-Long Learning

            Last Saturday was a busy day for most of us here in the State Officer house. And, when I say most of us that includes everyone except me. I found myself home alone, and without much to do. I didn’t really want to sit alone and watch a movie. I wasn’t hungry. I had already been running earlier that day, and I was tired of working on scholarship applications. So I decided I would kill the rest of the afternoon by paying a visit to the Trafalgar Library. I walked in with my backpack containing all the devices I might need to get some work done should the notion come over me. However, as I found a quiet spot near a window, I didn’t feel like doing any work at all. I set my things down and started wandering aimlessly through the shelves of books. I made my way through the low canyons of books, carelessly skimming the titles as I strode past. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but eventually I found a book that grasped my interest. It was about life in medieval England. Standing there surrounded by countless books, this particular one stood out to me as I thought about the fact that I knew very little about life in medieval England. Satisfied, I grabbed the book, and returned to my seat. For the next hour or so, I skimmed through the book picking up random bits of information on everything from the diet to the social order to the role of the Christian Church in eleventh century England. Later that afternoon, after reading a fair amount of that random book, I left the library feeling satisfied that I knew more than I did when I entered.
 I don’t feel like I know everything about everything. Honestly, I don’t feel like I know everything about anything, but I love the feeling of knowing more than I did previously.  I must admit, I have a habit of going to libraries and picking up random books. Sometimes it’s a book about tax law, or Greek architecture, or renaissance painters, or Islam, or forms of Government around the world. The subject of the book isn’t so important, as long as it provides the opportunity to learn something new. The reason I’m telling you all this isn’t to clue you in on one of my many odd quirks, but to express the idea of being a life-long learner. Being someone who has completed high school, I can state that high school will not teach you everything. There is still a lot out there to learn.
That is why I have created a challenge for myself, and I am now extending it to anyone who reads this. Recently, I have challenged myself to find fifteen minutes every day to get on the internet or open a book, and learn something new. Some days I spend that fifteen minutes browsing the New York Times leaning about current events. Some days I come up with a random question like: what was Julius Caesar’s childhood like? Then I google it, and try to come up with an answer. Some days that fifteen minutes is much more than fifteen minutes, and it is spent in a library looking for books on topics that I don’t know much about. Regardless of how you spend those fifteen minutes, I simply challenge you to find them, utilize them, and learn. Try to learn something every day, and become a true life-long learner. 

Jacob Mueller
2014-2015 Southern Region Vice President

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