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Higher Education

Strangely, I find myself spending quite a bit of time on college campuses these days.  This endeavor, next to hanging around with teenagers, has become one of my favorite trips when I want to leave the real world for a bit.  You would think Bill was speaking to my teenage grandkids: 

Excerpts from Bill Gates’ speech to Mount Whitney High School, Visalia, California: 

Rule  1 – Life is not fair; get used to it…

Rule  4 – If you think your teacher is tough; wait ’til you get a boss…

Rule  7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule  8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life…

Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.   

Ah yes, nerds.  We find lots of them on campuses – have for years.  They have made technology advances I could not even have dreamed of.  Of course, they are highly educated; just ask Daniel Joseph Boorstin: 

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know. 

Thankfully in our world today, some of the brightest technology minds of modern society had “a little extra time” in between classes to come to know what we didn’t know.  And then they established the powerhouse brands we have all come to rely on – Dell PCs; Windows; Facebook; to name a few. 

And how brilliant was Steve Jobs?  Without his ability to combine vision + technology innovation + attention to the most minute detail, who knows how we would be accessing digital music; watching movies with astounding, computer-generated special effects, or even updating Facebook.  How many are reading this post from your iPad?  Wow!  Here’s a salute to one terrific nerd! 

So there I am a few times each month now, attending a MeetUp for Writers that gathers on Regis University’s campus; driving to Colorado Springs to attend an Air Force Academy football game; returning to my alma mater Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois – the birthplace of Carl Sandburg, a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  In fact, I’ve spent more time in the Knox College library during these annual weekend visits than I spent me entire four years of undergraduate enrollment.  (That’s why I think I’m working for a nerd today!) 

But education, continuing education, is not only important to our professional pursuits; to me, it is personally gratifying.  And, my passion for learning might be catching – I’m proud to say my 35 year old son has decided a college degree is a good idea after all.  He’s finishing his sophomore studies in pursuit of an electrical engineering degree. 

And although this man from my profession is not renowned for his technology skills (nor would you think of him as a nerd) we can all benefit from the words of the master sales teacher and motivator, Zig Ziglar:

 It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.                              

GAP 

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