Learning Conundrum

(If you’re looking for an update about climbing, this isn’t it. Currently, I’m only qualified to speak about climbing in the gym, which doesn’t lend itself to a very intriguing story. Instead, you can read about school, which may or may not be of greater interest than climbing in the gym. You can let me know.)

I’ve always really enjoyed school. I love learning about the world and I love being challenged. I also thought I loved being busy, until I was actually busy. Then I learned my personality just lends itself well to being busy because I like to feel productive. I see two themes emerging here, business and learning, so let’s roll with those.

For entertainment value, here’s me learning to canoe

This semester, I’m struggling to find motivation for school. This might seem typical considering a)I’m a senior (or should be) and b) I’d like to have more time to climb/travel/sleep, just like everyone else. Despite these truths, I can’t blame my lack of motivation on “senioritis”. In fact, I would love to stay in school. For a long time. School is great because you get about five months of built in breaks and the entire purpose of your day to day life is to learn as much as you can about everything around you. To me, that’s fun.

What I can blame my lack of motivation on is that I don’t find my area of study inspiring. I’m a marketing student in the Business School at CU, and to be blunt, I don’t think I was cut out to be a sales person. Or an accountant. Or a CEO. A few years ago I struggled to find something in which I was truly interested. For lack of other direction, I chose to transfer to the business school with the thought that a business degree is applicable to many areas and industries, and is a good basic background to have. I still believe this, and I’m glad I made the choice I did, because it’s taught me a few things about myself.

First, my problem isn’t that I can’t find anything in which I’m interested. Contrarily, I’m interested in so many things that I can’t narrow it down. I like math, a lot. And I like anatomy, also a lot. Philosophy was one of the best courses I’ve ever taken at CU. Spanish was always fun. Literature courses also topped the list. If I could make my own degree,  based on these courses, I would call it “Chaos, for the indecisive, over spirited student who would like to remain a student forever but never actually focus on one discipline”. I’m typically a very focused person, so I feel okay about not being able to narrow down my efforts in one part of my life. Unfortunately, it had to be the part where some direction and specific decision making is actually helpful.

Second, I’ve come to a lot of conclusions about what is and is not important in my life. For example, it doesn’t matter how many figures are in my paycheck, if my career doesn’t contribute joy to my life, it’s not worth it. I think most people in the climbing community can relate to this in some form. Unfortunately, many business students cannot. Finally, I’ve learned what I don’t want to do, which is sometimes just as important as learning what you do want to do.

I still like being busy. But I miss having time to neurotically vacuum my house. Or bake three batches of cookies, a birthday cake, and a sweet potato pie in one afternoon. Or work on the 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle I made the mistake of starting in the middle of midterms. However, I still love school, or at least the idea of school, and know that even once I graduate, I will certainly be back for more at some point. Between times, there are plenty of other ways I can learn about the world, like traveling. But since traveling isn’t an option at this exact time, I will continue to browse through photos of my travels. This fun activity allows me to both procrastinate on my studies and build up motivation to work hard so that I can finish school and go climb, or travel, or go back to school. A cycle, if you will. Regardless of what I decide, I will undoubtedly learn a lot along the way, and that is what I truly care about.

As for the photos, check out what happens when you mix Gabe Rogel with the Marmot team in Teton National Park, Wyoming! More to come on the Marmot site in Spring 2012!

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