Years ago a family member said to me, “You just want to be a professional student!” He didn’t say it in a complimentary way.
While I have an idea why the person said that (getting a formal education costs a lot, and you can never be sure you’ll get a job that makes that education worthwhile) his statement still hurt my feelings. The person was right, though. I enjoy learning facts—can’t help it. When I was eight or nine years old I used to sit and leaf through a book from our big set of encyclopedias, or even get lost in the dictionary. Now I sit in front of a computer and take online courses in writing; I get lost on the internet reading articles on diverse subjects such as Niagara Falls, the story behind the 1997 movie “Titanic”, and service dogs. It’s all good, and it’s all fun for me. It makes the little gray cells in my brain jump up and down for joy.
My family member’s comment aside, writing and other activities in life show me it’s valuable to have the mindset of a “professional student”. I need to be humble enough to be teachable. I need discipline to keep myself learning. I don’t think it’s possible to improve in writing, or in a lot of other endeavors, without that type of mindset. I’ve found an unexpected benefit of such a mindset is it adds richness to life. You get to see how the process of learning affects you, you figure out ways to learn things you need to know that you may not be naturally proficient at, and you see how facts are intertwined. Yes, being a professional student costs, but the rewards are without measure!