What is Wisdom?

2 03 2013

“Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences” – Norman Cousins

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Four months away from having a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature conferred upon me by a reputable institution of higher learning, I ponder the definition of wisdom.

Many of the quotations I found while searching for something that partnered well with my post inferred that wisdom was directly related to asking questions. I really thought that would be knowledge, so I went to the dictionary for a clear definition.

Dictionary.com says that wisdom is “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” In my own words, I’d say wisdom means knowing the right thing to do and doing it. Additionally, I believe wisdom understands there is a “best way” for these actions to be completed and performs them accordingly.

Several days ago, I posted on my church blog about a wise woman from the Bible named Abigail. Her life, filled with unpleasantness at the hands of her churl of a husband, wouldn’t seem one that would lend itself to finding wisdom. However, that wasn’t the case at all.

Some Americans in this era act as if higher education is the path to wisdom. If you don’t have a college degree, you’re doomed to mediocrity and probably believe everything you hear on TV.

Education is the path to knowledge. Wisdom is the path of experience. After eight weeks of reading Shakespeare, I can safely say I’m not an expert in anything having to do with The Bard. In fact, by increasing my knowledge and experiencing more of his writing first hand, my ignorance was illuminated. However, the path to wisdom isn’t by thorough knowledge of Shakespeare.

Wisdom graces our everyday life with enlightened decision making. Exercising problem solving skills and higher reasoning, anyone can live wisely. The key is to think before you act (or speak) and recognize when you don’t have enough information to accurately judge what the best course of action would be.

In that moment, a wise person asks questions. They seek knowledge to inform their decisions. So, I suppose all those quotes that saw a correlation between wisdom and asking questions were insightful, after all.

Wisdom: no college degree required. In fact, a college degree might give some people a false sense of confidence.

I hope and pray I’ll be wiser in four months. I’ll be exercising decision-making skills every day until then. In the meantime, I’ll remember that “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).

I hope I’m wise enough to keep my mouth shut.

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Counting Down

5 12 2012

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Petition to graduate successfully completed? Check. Registrar concurs that only six more classes are required (after this term) to garner enough credits for a degree? Correct.

My husband doesn’t remember having to petition Oregon Institute of Technology for his degree back in 1988. Of course, he probably couldn’t tell you what he had for breakfast yesterday either.

What is the reasoning behind completing such formalities (or do I mean forms?) in the larger picture of life? Perhaps it’s a means for collecting additional fees. After all, isn’t that what a building permit from the city is all about?http://marygrovecampusnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/graduation-cap-and-diploma.jpg

I see that it accomplished several things; some of them were even beneficial to me.

  1. It verified for both the school and me that I am taking the correct courses required to complete my desired degree program.
  2. The Registrar now has all the official information needed to accurately complete my diploma.
  3. The college can add me into the “head count” for people they need to accommodate (and clothe in a delightful gown) at the ceremony in May 2013.
  4. By spelling out exactly the courses I must take and showing when I’m taking them, a finish line was marked in the sand road. Just like an Olympic runner (oh, yeah, I’m so NOT like an Olympic athlete), I’m inspired to keep moving forward now that I can see the finish line.

What’s your take on this whole process of petitioning to graduate? Can you think of other purposes it serves? What are other ways people “count down” to important events?





What Does a College Degree Mean?

24 10 2012

My stress level rises. Sleep eludes me while essay topics dance through my head, not in the least as enticing as sugar plums. I have no life outside of work and school.

Is getting a college degree worth all this and more?

By more, I mean thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. Sleeplessness and weight gain and periods of despondency are all byproducts of pursuing this piece of paper.

What does having a college degree mean? Will it mean I’m smarter? Well, I will be, provided I don’t lose my mind in the process. Will it mean I deserve a better paying job? I hope to get one, so I hope so.

In a recent interview, the husband of my colleague said, “Some of the smartest people I’ve met don’t have college educations.”

It can probably be inferred that some of the most socially inept people I’ve met have advanced or multiple college degrees. They might be brainiacs but they wouldn’t survive for ten minutes on the street.

What does having a college degree mean to you? Complete my poll and comment if you have more insight to share.





Why Can’t Anything Be Easy?

19 09 2012

Celebrate the accomplishment!

If you’re like me, you hear these words (or some semblance of them) multiple times in a day. After all, we live in a society where we can “talk” to anyone in the world with a few button pushes of our smart phone. We’re all about “convenience” as proven by the cookbook “Dinner in 5 Minutes.”

I keep thinking that at some point this whole juggling act I’ve been trying to maintain for the past two years will get easier. I’ll be able to snap off a few feature stories without exerting too much extra effort. After all, I’ve done plenty of research and interviewing for past classes, and that should be up for “re-gifting” in this course. I’ve got important personal writing goals to meet!

I keep learning that things aren’t easy. As my mother always said, “If it’s worth having, it’s worth working hard for.” Yes, those words are accurate, astute and wise. But just this once…

No, that isn’t what I really want. I’m tired (of school and work, not to mention just physically in need of sleep). I’ve been so excited to finally be writing a novel again, and now I’ll have to sacrifice some of that time to spend doing research and interviews for these feature stories.

Do I really want this college degree to be easy? (Okay, you know I just had to put my hand over my mouth because I was blurting, “YES” and that doesn’t fit into the thesis of this post.) When I finally finish these classes (and the 7 more to follow) and receive a college diploma, life is going to feel sweet. It will be an epic attainment because it’s been a Mt. Everest ordeal.

Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours later, this college degree means many things to me. If it could be acquired easily, would it be as valuable? Remember the movie Blood Diamonds? Apparently, diamonds aren’t nearly as rare and hard to find as the owners of those diamond mines want us to believe. That’s why they keep billions of dollars’ worth of diamonds locked in a vault and only sprinkle the market with a small portion of them. If they were all available at once, they wouldn’t be worth very much.

Blood, sweat, tears – brain cells, stress hormones, savings accounts: these things lend value to my college degree.

What do you think? Have you easily attained something and then later found it worthless? Do you think some things aren’t worth the struggle? Your opinions matter to me.








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