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Lifelong Learning for the Independent Scholar

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by BobinKy, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. BobinKy

    BobinKy New Member

    Aug 6, 2010
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    40 years ago I received the paper (B.A. Degree). Was it worth the time and money investment four decades ago. Well--sorta, but not in the way one would think. The return on my investment were doors opened because I had the paper--not in the knowledge I carried around.

    Right after receiving my degree, I pursued a business career. I made several attempts at graduate school and seminary. However, each time I had to withdraw during the first semester because of family issues, geographical locations, faculty prejudices, and time pressures. When online education came on the scene, I gave that a try. However, I found the time pressures did not give me consistent blocks of time to do the online work beyond one or two classes.

    About ten years after receiving the paper degree, I read a book that changed my approach: The Independent Scholar's Handbook by Ronald Gross. As I read this book I realized I was an independent scholar. I began lifelong learning in several learning areas--my friends and families called these hobbies and personal interests since I was not receiving credit for my time and money spent. However, I considered my investment, then and now, to be just as serious as someone receiving credit and more paper degrees.

    One learning strategy I adopted was the keeping of several notebooks. Today, I have shelves of notebooks where I have recorded my independent learning: quotations, reflections, questions for research, reference sections, etc. For a while I did my notebooks on my computer through Microsoft Word and other software programs. However, I have now settled upon 7x5 spiral paper notebooks as the ideal format for my purposes. I also maintain 8.5 x 11 binders with sheet protectors for retaining all those important copies from online and library resources.

    I still believe in educational facilities. However, I see them more as centers and depositories of learning than distributors of degrees. I love to visit and browse through all kinds of public and academic libraries. Like many in my situation, I think higher education has given in to the "publish or perish" expectation, and much of what is published is not worth much.

    I also think online forums, such as this one, are great gathering and exchange places for independent scholars. However, a lot of time can be wasted online. I usually pick two or three online forums and hangout for a few years and then move on.

    Now in retirement, I have more time to give to my learning pursuits. I take advantage of the physical learning centers and depositories, as well as online forums. But, like other independent scholars, I am not interested in receiving any paper degrees for my efforts. But one thing that is important in these days, that was not an issue for me earlier in my life, is learning keeps my mind active as I age. This return is definitely worthwhile as I dodge the memory disease (Alzheimer's).

    Therefore, unless you have a need to produce educational credentials for a career, I suggest you think about the advantages of lifelong learning as an independent scholar.

  2. Old Union Brother

    Old Union Brother New Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    I like to think of myself as a life long learner. If we are not learning daily thaen we may grow stale.
  3. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 12, 2008
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    Brother, you are right. We are either learning or we are forgetting, progressing or regressing. Learning is for life.