Gimme Some Ed’acatin’

(a month? really?  wow, I gotta do this blog thing a little more often)

So the education is over.

For now.

In March, 2008, I began working on my Master’s.  As of a few days ago, I finished it.  Three and a half years, twelve classes, one thesis, and something like 1800 written pages later, I’m all smart.

I feel smart, too.  Witty and wise.

And I’m sure the world is now at my feet.  I’m sure I’ll get a gigantic raise and promotion, that young officers will flock to me to take advantage of my experience and knowledge.


Oh, stop, you’re making my side hurt.

I will get nothing practical out of this education and believe it or not, that’s perfectly okay.  I love education for the sake of education.  If I could, I’d be enrolled in one class or another every day for the rest of my life.  And if I learned anything useful, great.  If not, that’s fine, too.

Here’s the thing: while I make fun of having gotten a degree in a place that will never, ever reward me for that extra education, I do believe education is the silver bullet.  I believe, without reservation, that education can solve most, if not all, of this country’s problems.

I don’t care if the education comes from an Ivy League university, a state college, a for profit place like Kaplan, or a technical school.  Any place that puts knowledge in someone’s hands can only be a good thing.  Any institution that teaches people how to think critically can only be a good thing.

A friend of mine recently finished snatching up an associate’s degree.  She managed to do it while in a house with a husband, three youngish kids, three dogs, and a pile of other animals.  She grew up in a tough household and wanted to move beyond her formative experiences.  She took the hard road and managed to complete her education in spite of all kinds of people – including people close to her – telling her it was a waste of time or money or both.  Now she’ll get a job in her chosen field and eventually will move far beyond those formative experiences.

Education is the silver bullet.

And I can’t figure out why there are people who disagree.  I can’t figure out why there are people who think education is simply a waste of time…or money…or both.

Had a supervisor once.  I asked him if I could go to a training class, one that was specific to my job and that would yield results within days.  He looked me dead in the face and said, “I’m tired of people taking time off for training.”

I remember standing there, stunned speechless, and staring at him.  He dared me to say something and then didn’t give me the days off.

At the other end of the spectrum is some training I’ve got coming up in Houston.  The sheriff found something he thought I’d enjoy and would be good at, and he’s basically ordering me to go.  It’s going to be amazing and interesting and I can’t wait to jump head first into it, though it makes me nervous because it’s a whole new set of skills; something I’ve never ever done before.

Something I’ve never done before is good.  Paths not only not taken, but unknown to me until recently, are the most interesting paths.  Find me the darkest forest…one with no trail, no light, no map at all.  Then get the fuck outta the way because that’s where I’m going.  I’ll find the trail and I’ll figure out the light. I’ll bring a flashlight or a box of matches.  Or I’ll make some matches, or set a woodland creature on fire or something.

But that place where I’ve never been is where I’m going.

And hey, right now, that place I’ve never been is hiding down in Houston, where I have been.  But Houston in February has got to be better – and much warmer – than Illinois in February, right?

Plus, it’s Texas!  Barbeque…Tex-Mex…pick-up trucks with gun racks in the windows….  Ah, my homeland.