Saturday, December 16, 2006

Book TV and Education....

Khon Kaen University

One of my favorite activities on the weekends is to turn on Book TV, get a cup of something hot and watch the authors discuss their books. It is like sitting in a college classroom, hearing a talk by someone knowledgeable on a particular topic.

I loved school. Not primary school, not middle school and not high school. I liked none of those because the emphasis was not on learning. It was on socialization. And being a part of that was wretchedly uncomfortable and painful.

But, oh ghod, how I loved college! With enthusiasm and passion, I took classes on nearly any topic that even remotely interested me. The process of studying and discovery was a pleasure rather than a duty.

I'm a glutton for knowledge. Narrowing that down to one or two fields of study was very difficult. I had a major but it was just an excuse to stay on campus. I really wanted to take everything, a little bit of this and a little bit of that! In true dilettante fashion, nothing was off-limits. Asking me to declare a major and choose just one thing was like asking me to wear shoes that are too small.

Many people in the last few years of middle age look back and think "what should I have done differently?" This isn't the navel-gazing of the soul ~ but more a practical examination of how our intellectual pieces fit together, how we make choices and create an external identity.

There are two paths I could have gone, quite happily.

I would have made an awesome nurse. Taking care of people and learning about health-related things is a delicious fascination. Not being an innovator, nor a trailblazer, my place would have been as a floor nurse, comforting and caring for people who are ill. It would have been fulfilling and satisfying ~ and right up my natural alley.

My other choice would have been to become a professor of Cultural Anthropology with a secondary focus on historical context. There is no doubt that I would have traveled and written long, pedantic tomes on the topic. Learning about other cultures and how they become an integral part of personal and national identity is something that has fascinated me since the brain cells started firing. I chose my culture very deliberately and for some very specific reasons ~ ones I've not even begun to discuss in this venue. (I do believe we can choose culture ~ but a big part of that is the willingness to adapt to it, not picking and choosing in smorgasbord fashion. It is all integral. Culture doesn't develope compartmentally. :)

Anyway, Book TV takes me back to the academic world for a few hours each weekend. It is an opportunity to learn something new or get further clarification on something old. The topics covered are on history, psychology, comparative religion and current events. All the work featured is non-fiction. There is an opportunity to learn about the lives of influential people from many cultures and countries, religions, backgrounds and political persuasions. It is a truly satisfying way to spend time.

If you would like to check it out, it is usually on C-SPAN. It may be C-SPAN II in some areas. Give it a try!




Ginnie said...

Thanks, Chani: this sounds right up my alley. I had never heard of Book TV but do get C-span so will try to see if I can get it here.
(It seems to be easier to get in on comments now...maybe Blogger got enough complaints.)

jen said...

i love that you watch Book TV. I can't sit still long enough. I never would have made it as a literary anything.

but a nurse...yep, me too....the path not chosen.

Mick Brady said...

Chani: I'm so glad you mentioned this. I'm right there with you; I too always had an insatiable curiosity about almost anything.

By the way, every weekend I set my tivo to record all of the Book TV shows I want, then watch them at my leisure all week long, sometimes 2 or 3 times. Life is good. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

I was a significant underachiever until university, and even then I could have done better. That's my regret. I could have enjoyed school all of the way through. I should have enjoyed learning and achieving but I didn't know it at the time.

KC said...

I can totally see you as a professor of anthropology.

Unfortunately nurses these days are often too overworked with the ever cost-cutting administrators, which results in nurses not being able to spend the time and effort that each patient is due.

I talk with so many floor nurses who are so frustrated because they want to help patients but when you have nine other patients to care for, it just isn't possible to attend to everything and everyone.

I'll have to check out Book TV!

Thailand Gal said...

Ginnie, It really is a great way to get the crib notes on a variety of subjects ~ then follow through if it is of more interest. I wish it was on all the time! :)


Jen, if the topic isn't interesting enough to hold my attention, I generally walk away. Otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't be able to just sit there. On the other hand, I'm getting old. We can "just sit" for long periods of time, staring at the wall. :)


Mick, TiVo... now there's an idea! Ahead of my time but a good idea! (I only recently bought a cheap DVD player.. LOL)


Anvil, I am probably what would be considered an "under-achiever".. knowledge for knowledge's own sake is sometimes enough. In my observation, the ones who were "achievers" in the high school arena were usually just good at politics.


KC, I've heard the same thing from nurses. It wouldn't have been a viable option here, probably. Being a nurse in the Peace Corp or something would have been awesome though.


Thanks, all :)