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What is the real importance of Education?

I began my college education at PSU way back in 1975. I had just been released from the Navy and I wanted to begin my education as soon as possible. I felt as though I was now four years behind my contemporaries– as if achieving an education was some kind of race. But as fate would have it, I also got married as soon as I was discharged. Two wonderful children later, a house mortgage, going to school at night, and working a full-time for the U.S. Veterans Administration, left me exhausted. I left PSU in spring of 1980 as a junior.

Twenty-seven years later, retiring early, both children adults (more or less) and having moved out of the house, I decide to take another look at that degree I had begun so long ago. I had always regretted not finishing that General Business degree but now things were different. I no longer needed that degree…I wanted that degree. Tamping down my fears of inadequacy and wondering how I would look to the younger generation, I met with my PSU advisor, Robert Mercer, and together we forged a path for me to follow. But as my needs have changed since 1980 so have my priorities. No longer am I after that General Business degree. Now I am finally figuring out just who I really am…and it is not a businessman, it is a writer.

My worth is not measured for me in what I have accomplished in life so much as what I attempt in life.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great first article, Mike!

    October 2, 2012
  2. Mike Briggs #

    Thank you Charles and for all of the others who chose to comment on my facebook page. Writing is not merely to see your own words or thoughts in print–it is to reach out, to touch others by your written word, to have those people think, feel and to communicate with them. In my mind, the single most important aspect of being human is to be social with our own–to mix, to feel, to reach out. Man was not meant to live alone. Writing helps people come closer to one another. Writing is one way we are humans and not merely thinking animals.

    October 3, 2012
  3. Janet Anderson #

    Your story provides inspiration to other older students who may be having the same doubts.

    October 3, 2012
  4. Norm Haller #

    Great article Mike.

    October 4, 2012
  5. nhendrix #

    Congrats, Mike, on following this new path of being a writer. Seeing that you and I went to high school together and that my nineteen year old daughter is also attending PSU (and coincidentally blogging for PSU Chronicles), I’m subscribing right now! It should be interesting comparing the shared insights and the contrasts. Keep on writing, Mike!

    October 5, 2012
  6. Mike Briggs #

    Ah, you’re a great guy Nick and I’m sure a wonderful father. Haley is a very talented and joyous person. PSU and the Chronicles are lucky to have her. Thanks for your compliments. I hope to write even more as time travels on.

    October 5, 2012
  7. I began my college education in 1969 – I’ll let you do the math. Life has a habit of side-tracking you, and the old “7-careers-in-a-lifetime” adage disturbingly applies to us all. When I was in my early twenties I decided to become a professional actor, and with one year left to complete my Bachelor’s Degree I was fortunate enough to get a paying job in the theatre. I won’t tell you how much, it would be too embarrassing. Sufficeth to say, I had to find other work to supplement my addiction to the stage. That addiction, to something I love dearly, has always forced me to reinvent myself career-wise. In the arts it simply comes with the territory. In fact, I believe artists single-handedly keep drug companies afloat with anti-depressant prescriptions. Now, there are some that would consider this type of insecurity to be daunting. After all, I’ve always had to keep a day job while simultaneously working the equivalent of a full-time job as actor, director, writer, and acting instructor. I have begun and ran two theatres, had to learn accounting, marketing, human resources, fundraising, and technical skills that seemed way beyond my expertise. I have had jobs ranging from limo driver to computer consultant, and I still can’t get out of the habit of looking at everyone I meet and wondering if they would know of a good job for me. However, for me it all became a blessing in disguise. I learned how to learn. My life experiences fed me as an artist and my art gave me a means of expressing my life experiences. As I expanded the breadth of my theatre experience, I branched into directing and then writing. All of which demanded knowledge, but far more important, a means of interpreting that knowledge for an audience. After all, art is about enlightenment. And so, at 53, I decided to go back to school and get a degree. For me it was about my own enlightenment – because my education has never stopped, and never will. Because I have had to reinvent myself throughout my life – and because, in a sense, I think we all do on a daily basis. As I said, I began college in the 60s and our motto was “question authority.” Not to destroy, but to build – to better our lives and, hopefully, the world with it.

    October 9, 2012
    • Mike Briggs #

      Dear Shel, you write, ” For me it was about my own enlightenment…”.

      This comment says it all for me. This is precisely why I go to classes at PSU now. I do not “need” a degree…I want this degree.

      I remember sitting for the first time in your acting class at Clark College and wondering what you were about, what acting was about, (and if I would enjoy this class). You taught me, among many things, “…acting is nothing more than being who you are but looking through the eyes of your character–acting is life”.

      You are one of the finer humans I have come across on this planet Shel. Thanks for taking your time to become part of our PSU Chronicles blog. You are welcome any time.

      All my very best to you-

      October 10, 2012

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