Monday, October 13, 2014

Back to School

I am 54 years old now. I guess that is about as 'Fifty-Something' as I can get. And I am starting many new things. Probably one of the most exciting is going back to college!

I graduated from high school with a full scholarship to Cal State. My scholarship was in engineering. I had taken mechanical drafting all through school and then architectural drafting in my senior year. I was in the 'Honor Society', which meant at least 3.5 GPA. Mine was 4.0 until I joined a rock band in my Junior year. I wrote an essay about my qualification and need on the last day the scholarships took application. But I didn't really want to be an engineer.  I enrolled near my home at Cal State San Bernardino to stay close to my girl Jodi Nance.

Once in school I realized I did not care for math. I could do it, but did not enjoy it. What I loved was philosophy and music. My philosophy professor promised me a graduate scholarship for a Masters degree at Edinburgh Scotland. Wow! I sang in a Performance Choir directed by Vincent Persichetti, head of the Juilliard School of Music in NY City. I asked my scholarship provider if I could change majors and keep the scholarship. Nope.

So I left college after completing my freshman year, giving up a scholarship to perform in a rock band being paid for by my good friend David, whose dad is a gastrointestinal doctor at Stanford. He had setup a 'Life Fund' of $250,000 for his son to seek out what he loved as a career when he turned 21. Much of that paid for drugs, sadly. But hey $250k is a good deal.

When I left college I was determined to: 1. Learn something new every day. 2. Never stop reading and learning. 3. Follow my heart - learn what really interested me. I have followed that 'education plan' for 25 years now. It has paid in big ways. I was talking at a formal dinner one evening in Saigon. The chairman of UNESCO Vietnam, Dr. Pham Nguyen took me aside and asked me for a lift to his hotel. We talked for several hours more! He was sure, after hearing me talk at dinner, that I must have a degree in Vietnamese History! No, but I had read close to 300 volumes on Vietnam!! He became my 'cultural mentor' and took me places a foreign visitor could never go, to Ho Chi Minh's cave near the Chinese border! I loved him.

So in 1989 we were asked to lead SEARCH - the Southeast Asia Research Center. A guy with a high school diploma ran a research center whose two previous leaders were working on Missions Doctorates at Oxford, England. Why, because I loved research. Not the kind with big words that make us sound good. No, I love research that provides great ideas for moving the Kingdom of God forward, serving mission-focused folks who practice so involved, that they don't have time for research. We are doing that again.

So I have enrolled in EdX, a free online college being offered by Harvard and MIT. The long term goal is to have the entire curriculum of both schools online, free, for anyone with English and internet can get a Harvard-qualified degree certificate! I am enrolled in 'Ancient Chinese Thought'. I am putting together a tailored degree plan, perfect for a missions research director. I will take one 8 week course at a time.

Check out EdX - if nothing else have fun studying with a very real Harvard or MIT professor. Cool!

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