Monday, 18 August 2014

You learn. . .

Alanis Morissette was a huge influence in my younger years, at a time in my life when I was just starting to feel and understand what rebellion was - especially with the first release of You Oughta Know.  Alanis' transition from bubblegum pop to alternative rock coincided with my first year at college *sigh*.  The time for following the rules and doing what you were told because you had to respect authority was all thrown out the window, being taught how to think critically, knowing all the rules so that you knew how to break them and even questioning authority.  Student protests were on a weekly basis; there was always some cause that was worth fighting for - we felt the unjustness of it all at the time - because those people making all the rules in the seat of power - were making us pay for our tertiary education - while they studied FOR FREE.

So what are the greatest lessons that I've learned from studying at university?
Some of the greatest lessons were not taught to me - but I had to experience failure to know success.
This is why I love this particular track - You Learn.

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (like a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles. . .

The lessons are still ongoing - as I am in my first year as a doctoral candidate.
We have been told that even though this degree is the 'final frontier' for all degrees that you will ever study at university - it is only the beginning of your academic journey, where you must prove yourself in the research landscape of your chosen field - and publish articles that will make a difference, make some impact, put into practice all of the things that you had lofty aspirations of achieving as a lowly undergraduate student.

I recommend biting off more than you chew to anyone I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

The academic pathway I have chosen has not been a straight one.
There have been people and things that have been obstacles in my journey - I have even blocked my own progress on some occasions, because I was too afraid to believe what my mentors in high school said that I could do.  Could I really play classical trumpet in an orchestra?  Could I really be a soprano and study voice abroad?  I was afraid to be the first because I am certain that there were others before me that had suffered the same fate - they too were afraid to be the first - so there were no role models for me to latch onto.

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

A woman who my family had to say goodbye to on Saturday was Aiono Dr Fanaafi Le Tagaloa.
A distinguished Samoan scholar and educator who received a state funeral in Samoa.
Her passion for Samoan language and intolerance for low standards were her trademarks.
Aiono Fanaafi set the benchmark for her descendants, for her kin, for all Samoans who valued what Samoans should value - identity, language and culture.  Her shoes will be hard shoes to fill.
She has been a role model that my father has instilled in me to aspire to - the mark and measure of a woman who was not afraid to challenge, not afraid to be the first.

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

I credit my parents, my teachers and everybody who has been willing to share pieces of themselves with me - for helping me to appreciate and articulate my love for learning.

I hope that I never stop learning.
As an educator, as a consultant, as a student - heck, as a human being.
I know that if I lose the desire to learn - then my time on earth is over.

When you think about your own life - what do you need to learn?