I "graduated" yesterday, with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin. I say "graduated" because I actually still have to take (and pass) a summer class. But that won't be a problem.
So, the question is, what did I learn?
Well, lots of things. So I'm going to take a little time and go into some detail. Literally class by class, over the next couple weeks.
To start, we go back to the fall semester of 2006. My friend JD, works on campus, had put the idea in my head of taking a class or two for something to do. I was always looking for new, interesting "diversions" so I thought, why not?
I went in, found the right person to talk to and got admitted as a "visiting student." One class, take my pick. I was a full time bartender then and Mr. C., a high school math teacher and frequent visitor suggested political science was my logical starting point. So I looked there first and found ...
Political Science 104: Introduction to American Government and Politics. Perfect! So, what did I learn from that class?
First and foremost I learned that I liked being back in school, more than I ever had when I was younger. Second, I learned that I could handle college level course work, but that it would require my best effort.
From the class itself I learned how our government works, in theory anyway. We spent the first three weeks on the Constitution, including reading the whole thing, start to finish (a first for me). Then we moved on to the different branches of government, how they work, where their powers overlap and where they serve as checks on each other. Then elections. Then parties. Finally, the role of the press.
But the biggest thing I learned, long overdue, was (starting the process, anyway) how to read critically. Who wrote the piece? What is his bias? What does somebody else say? Which one do I believe? And why? Because he fed my bias or because he was more "credible," somehow? Or did he just present his case better, and what are the implications of that? Is there any "truth" or does it just come down to who is more persuasive?
More to come.