I walked past a poster for New York University in the subway the other day, and a couple of the slogans for their Adult Undergraduate Degree Program caught my eye: ‘Academic Goals’, ‘Dedicated’ and ‘Motivated Adults’. True, true and true. But what else could we add to the list: ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Huge Time Commitment’ and ‘An Understanding Family’. The latter is particularly true and I am sure that it resonates with us all.
What I have found from my own studying adventure is that it really takes over every aspect of your life. For the last five years I’ve ate, slept and lived classics because the more I am able to do to supplement my course study materials the greater understanding and better results I’ve gotten. Practically this means I’ve scoured iTunes U for relevant lectures that I could then listen to on my commute to work, I’ve read around subjects as much as possible, and kept an eye out for exhibitions, lectures and productions of Greek drama. I know that this has turned me into a little bit of an obsessive compulsive. Whenever I travel I always research the local art museums to see what they have going on. I went to Chicago last year for an event my husband’s company was organizing and I found out that the Chicago Art Institute was having a lecture on Hadrian. Once on a work trip to Toronto I unexpectedly found myself with a free two hours and I abandoned my colleagues to check out the Royal Ontario Museum. In my defense I was working over a weekend, and no collection of Greek vases, however small, should ever be overlooked.
My family is incredibly understanding, and supportive. They may not have originally wanted to learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans but when you are a mature student there is no escape for those around you. It’s educational friendly fire. I’ve co-opted my annual holiday with my husband so that “we” visit archaeological sites (if the Roman empire didn’t get there I am not interested), and my mum accepts that I plan my visits back to the United Kingdom based on the events calendar of the British Museum.
What I am trying to say is that continuing education is as much about what you are able to do outside of the (virtual) classroom as it is reading through course materials and textbooks, and in the same way you carve out time to study make sure you set some aside for those around you. I know that my husband is just thrilled that for our date night this weekend we’ll be watching Centurion.