Most of us have heard it at some time, usually from disgruntled family members or judgmental friends: “Oh, she’ll never be done with that or anything else. She’s a perpetual student!”
Always the comment is pejorative, in intent if not in tone. The disapproval hangs in the air, the opinion being that the scorned individual will forever be a leech on society instead of a giver, living off the hard work and/or the largesse of others – in most cases.
At times we may even have found ourselves actually thinking, “Aargh! I’m gonna be a perpetual student at the rate things are going.”
As long as we truly are not living out of someone else’s pocket for decades, what is so wrong with being a perpetual student? Everyone’s circumstances are different and the best laid plans get screwed up by life’s common events, and sometimes by the pure malice, envy or inferiority complexes of others.
It may take 8 or 10 years to earn that bachelor’s degree before we can go after our teaching credential. This is due to the demands of family or the pure need to work and survive in this often heartless world. Police departments all over the U.S. repeatedly find themselves chasing criminals and having to try various ways to stop them. We, on the other hand, racing toward worthwhile goals instead of away from criminal or dumb acts, have to contend with the spike strips that the devil himself throws down in the shadows ahead of us. Satan, of course, is the vilest form of jerk, and sometimes, he punctures our tires.
I’ll be the first to admit we are surrounded by incredible beauty of landscape, seascape, and often soaring architecture and scientific breakthroughs. Much of what we’re so privileged to wonder at literally takes our breath away. Yet everything has its opposition on this Earth, so there is ugliness and evil as well. And we learn to navigate through all of it, coming out on the other side broken and bruised for a while.
We don’t give up completely when life or an enemy has slammed us into a wall. Instead, like my husband often had to do, we slowly crawl on our hands and knees down the hallway till we find something to grab and then carefully stand upright again.
Should it be any different because time is passing? Are you planning for anything next week at all? Do you have Faith that the sun will come up tomorrow? Then you can and should continue to learn as much as possible about as many things as possible. Resources are everywhere, so absent serious illness, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we stop learning. Everyone should be and can be a perpetual student.