I am in love with The School of One. A girl from Cleveland, who graduated from university in 2001, has decided that in the face of a shitty economy and lack of inspiring prospects, she will spend her time learning about all the things she never had a chance to during her formal education. As a way of formalizing the process and sticking to her plan, she's created a syllabus, the above schedule and a blog to document her experiences and help her keep on track.
I think it's a beautiful idea and it makes me realize that maybe I should try to formalize some of the little projects and interests I'm cultivating during this year of travel. For so many people, the response to joblessness is to go back to school and spend a crap load more money. But it seems to me that the success of the endeavor really depends on what you're trying to get out of it. If the intention is to follow your interests and explore the world with curiosity, you don't need a professor or a piece of paper at the end; a library card, an Internet connection and a comfortable pair of shoes can be enough. The concept is totally non-elitist and it elevates a personal investment in learning into something tangible and meaningful. Creating and scheduling time for something makes it a priority, not just another hobby.
Formal education can be a wonderful thing if you are able to afford it, and it can provide the basis for a great community of people who are interested in similar subjects. But unless you have a specific vocation in mind that requires a certificate to prove your knowledge, I wonder if the bureaucracy of 'School' really feeds the desire to know and learn or whether it just stifles and tricks us into thinking that there's only one right way to understand the world, one 'valued' way of accumulating knowledge.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer. But I am already working on my own syllabus. :)
Image Credit: The School of One
You've Been Schooled