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Archive for August 19th, 2009

Downloaded.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to revisit my old college campus.  It still boggles my mind that I have been gone from there for over 20 years now.  You leave a place like that expecting it to remain frozen in time, so that when you return 20 years later everything is as you remember.  But time has a way of marching on, unfrozen, and the landscape tends to change.  Buildings disappear, or are reworked.  Professors retire.  The faces get younger. 

My alma mater is undergoing some hefty renovation these days.  Entire buildings are be-scaffolded and fenced off with orange safety fence.  Where once there was an open field there are entire complexes of named buildings and their attendant parking structures.  Streets are unfamiliar, and in some cases, rerouted. 

And still, I could see the bones of the place I once knew.  At the pinnacle of the campus the statue of the university founder still stands.  The building that contains the English department remains largely unaltered.  My old dorm still squats at the bottom of the hill.  And though my sorority chapter no longer exists at the university, the sorority house is still there, now a private residence.  Can’t say the same for the frat house that used to stand across the alley, a victim of fire. 

When we turned onto the main drag through campus, I felt a little bounce in my heart.  I could not stop the grin or the excitement as I recognized my old haunts.  Those years were undoubtedly some of the best times in my life. 

I suppose I am one of those people who enjoy school.  I enjoy learning new things, discovering, reading, writing, thinking.  The university experience, especially, was wonderful for me.  Sure, I had times I didn’t think I was going to make it, but overall I would go back and do it all over if I could. 

I still have not given up the idea of getting a master’s degree, though I remain on the fence as to subject matter.  The way my emotions soared as we cruised through campus reinforced for me my desire to go a little further.  And though the practical side of me feels like there should be a goal for such an endeavor (ie., a job), the very idea of going back to school is a reason unto itself.

I have noticed, however, that learning is not as organic for me as it used to be.  Part of this is because my life is refocused on a thousand other things, chief among them raising my child and paying my bills.  I’m long out of the habit of studying.  It would be very nice if I could just download the necessary information into my brain, the same way you download a program onto a computer. 

Of all the technological advances the world has made over the years, it would seem that someone somewhere would have a theory as to how this could be done. 

Think of it — I could fulfill my long-held desire to learn Italian.  And then, when I am finally in Italy, living in Umbria, I could just access those files and off we’d go. 

Gives a whole new meaning to “artificial intelligence.” 

 

— Mox

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