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Thursday, October 21, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 43

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There's a college education, and then there's 'ejeekashin'

Normand Theriault

Another week, another chance to write something of nominal interest. Go figure.

Before I go any further, I would like to thank all of those people who sent me e-mails in response to my column of several weeks ago. It has been truly enlightening.

Now that I have your attention, I don't think it will be necessary to splash this newspaper with sensational, Jerry Springer-esque critiques of old-hand issues such as abortion and the death penalty.

I will merely continue to provide you with something to think about, rather than something to which you "react." 

With that said, I will never expect another e-mail from anyone ever again.

And now that I have that out of the way, I must quickly serve up some intellectual stimulation for you. What is left after we take away the easy targets for our opinions?

Last week I was thinking I should chuck this column and become a movie reviewer. At least I would have something concrete to dissect and my ideas could flow freely.

I wouldn't have to confine them to some sort of "reality" or "applicability to the general population."

Then I thought ... no! That's too easy. The allure of writing opinion pieces is that your ideas must have relevance.

If they don't, then why would anyone else care? Why would you care, for that matter?

So here I am, trying to make things relevant for myself and the rest of the student body. I'm failing miserably, aren't I? And yet, there is hope!

Do you ever wonder why you're in college? I'm sure you've questioned your motives for attending this university at least once during your residence, though you may or may not have voiced it.

I'm starting to wonder that very thing myself. I love learning for some unknown reason.

I guess I was cursed by God. I want to know things about an insane number of diverse subjects.

One minute I think I'm an English major and the next I'm considering philosophy and computer science.

My questioning, however, makes me wonder. Do I need college to fulfill this need for education?

Of course I need a college education if I am to be anywhere near successful in getting a job after school is out. But is that really what I'm looking for, Job market salability?

If only money did grow on trees. Then, perhaps, I could be left to discover in peace, rather than have to answer to the gods of capitalism and be stuck somewhere between a rock and a hard place.

Don't get me wrong. I have been fortunate to have the professors I have had.

I have been fortunate to meet some very good friends and make some connections that never would have happened if I had not come to UH.

The truth is, however, that these benefits are overshadowed by the fact that in attending such an institution, I am aiming for a goal that I was never sure that I wanted in the first place.

It has always been my dream to write. Write anything and everything. Articles, essays, novels, poetry, and a plethora of memories kept in journals of varying length.

The desire to write came not from education, but from books.

You may say to yourself, "But aren't books equivalent to education? I've read books in nearly every class I've ever taken."

While this is true, the fact remains that books are inherently different from formal education. When you read for yourself you can learn more than you would ever hope to learn in a regular course on the same subject.

The reason for this is that when you struggle to understand for yourself, you are making sure that these ideas stay with you and pervade your thought processes long after you have read them.

With course work, you forget those ideas after the final.

Question your motives. When you want to learn, do it for yourself and by yourself. Then we can all be more relevant.
 

Theriault, a junior English and philosophy major,
can be reached at phdynamic@iname.com.
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