By MARK SHECHTMAN [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

My Shifting Values of Higher Education and Dream-Job-Chasing

I recently became a fan of Marty Nemko, and it was the video at the bottom of this page that did it. There is a man who has consumed a lot of higher education and also worked for and in such institutions (both teaching and evaluating, at Berkley), yet he says higher degrees are often unnecessary and indeed a bad choice for many individuals.

This is no new idea; really, it’s very folksy wisdom in some ways.  America is obsessed with chasing dreams (a great thing), and we’re all about “finding one’s passion in life.” There a plenty of business podcasts and tweets telling us to quit our jobs and start our dream coffee shop. To an older generation, though, perhaps this sounds ridiculous.

After all, how many accountants ever had a burning desire to do accounting?

I’m not saying people should keep a job they’re miserable with, but I do say:

Finding a job you’re passionate about might not be as important as finding a way to be passionate about your work.

Some say it’s not what you do that matters but how you do it. Perhaps that oversimplifyies things a bit, but you get the point. A recent podcast from The Art of Manliness (Brett McKay) interviewed Cal Newport. Cal and Brett mentioned the research he found for Cal’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. I listened during breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can find it here.

Here’s why I care:

I was in college for two or three years (it’s hard to keep count, considering how long I was there), and I had no major. After finally choosing Global Studies, I decided I wanted something more–practical. I wanted to teach, so I changed my major to English, with a minor in Secondary Ed and kept Global Studies as a second minor. By the way, this was after the two photography classes I took that went towards no part of my degree. I then proceeded to accept a scholarship to study Chinese for a year in Hangzhou, which counted nothing toward my degree but was an awesome experience that changed my life. I married my wife there; in fact, she’s one of the main reasons I applied. :)

I now study at Harding School of Theology for a Masters of Divinity and love every class. Nonetheless, I’m 26 years old and married, so I spend much time thinking about work and school. For me, I have to balance the two, and the ratio is always an area I debate in my head: should I work more? Should I study more and finish sooner?  Do I need this big degree or should I go for a shorter M.A.? I can only answer for myself and not for you.

That being said, here’s my two cents:

One shouldn’t go to college just because it’s the next “logical” step for a high school student with good or decent grades. If one does go, unsure of what to study, I recommend choosing a narrow degree in business (if engineering or another topic isn’t clearly calling to you), and sticking with it: Get in, get out. Then, if you realize you want to do something else, pursue a master’s in that field.

If you really are passionate about something that doesn’t make lots of money, pursue it. But ask yourself if you need a degree to start doing that kind of work. If you want to be a writer, I’d suggest you just start writing and save your work. Build a portfolio and present yourself in front of the person you want to work for.

If you decide to go to college, though, spend some serious time studying careers before you start. Don’t lolly-gag. Look at the United States Department of Labor’s free Occupational Outlook Handbook online, and you can find estimates on specific careers (that you’ve never even considered, perhaps!): projected growth rates/demand, salaries,  required training, et cetera. An entire branch of government is dedicated to this research. Take advantage of it.

Watch Marty Nemko’s video. I like his observation that community colleges might be a great value! That’s great news for folks in McMinnville, Tennessee and just about anywhere. Watch the video to hear his thoughts based on experience and researching and working in that field. His job, after all, is to assess these things. Give him a listen and see what you think. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

This has little to do with intelligence and much more to do with pragmatism. Of course continuing learning is good for everyone, but bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are not the only route to a smart, successful, and happy lives. Experience, seminars, internships, apprenticeships, certificate programs, trade schools, and community colleges are valuable options for continuing education.

What Colleges and Graduate Students Don’t Want You to Know:

 

Additional Resources: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/03/24/is-college-for-everyone-part-ii-the-pros-and-cons-of-attending-a-4-year-college/

Chinese New Year Expressions: 新年快乐

Line Dictionary’s List of Chinese New Year Sayings : 新年快乐.

I found this during my study this morning (for a sermon in Chinese, Sunday), and I thought some of you other Chinese students might benefit from it as well.

Example (but Line’s site has audio):

祝新年快乐,新年幸福。

Zhù jiérì kuàilè, xīnnián xìngfú.

Wishing you happiness during the holidays and throughout the New Year.

Happy New Year!

The Auld Triangle

The Auld Triangle,” is an beautiful Irish song about a man in prison. The old triangle, made of metal, rang every morning to wake the inmates. The song was written for a play about a prisoner in Mountjoy prison and occurred in the play just moments before the prisoner’s impending execution.

Here, some of Ireland’s best singer-songwriters sing together with a great crowd in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Enjoy (or as they might say, “cheers.”)

 

Hope from Isaiah 32:1-8

See, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule with justice.
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed,
and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.
The minds of the rash will have good judgment,
and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.
A fool will no longer be called noble,
nor a villain said to be honorable.
For fools speak folly,
and their minds plot iniquity:
to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the LORD,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
The villainies of villains are evil;
they devise wicked devices
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.
But those who are noble plan noble things,
and by noble things they stand.

(Isaiah 32:1-8)

Whatever needs you have–and we all have them–Christ Jesus can fill them. Many among us are poor, weary, and thirsty. He gives them drink and shade. Some are so tense or nervous they can’t speak a coherent thought. Christ relieves them and sets them at ease–gives them rest. Liars plant trip-wires and false accusations, but justice will flow like a mighty river at the feet of King Jesus.

God is good. Christ is King. Some submit but others rebel. So he asks us, “what about you? Who do you say I am?” (Matt 16:15)

 

Two Quotes from Jerome

On the benefit of obeying Jesus’ words to the rich young man in Matthew 19:

“It is an act of apostolic perfection and of perfect virtue to sell all one has and to give to the poor—thus becoming weightless and unimpeded and flying up with Christ toward heavenly delights.”-Jerome, in Bonaventure, Defense of the Mecidants, ch.7.

And on preaching what we ourselves have not done:

“I exalt virginity to heaven, not because it is mine, but because I more greatly admire what I do not have. Preaching to others a quality lacking in oneself, this indeed amounts to a frank and embarrassing confession. But if I am held down to earth by the weight of my body, is this reason enough not to admire the flight of birds?” (Jerome in letter to Pammachius, qtd in Bonaventure ch.7, p.141)

Source: Bonaventure, Defense of the Mendicants, in The Works of Bonaventure,
trans. José de Vinck, v. 4: Defense of the Mendicants.

Batman and the Joker as the Apollo/Dionysius Archetypes

Clint R. Boyd:

Awesome.

Originally posted on Jay's Analysis:

The Apollonian/Dionysian Dialectical Dichotomy

Contributing writer David Shankle gives yet another angle on Batman: Dark Knight 

 
After revisiting Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, viewing the juxtaposition between Batman and The Joker in a Nietzschean context made a lot more sense.

Nietzsche, in The Birth of Tragedy, used the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy from Ancient Greece to explain the constant struggle between Apollo’s order (law, beauty, reason) and Dionysos’ chaos (hedonistic appetites, drunkenness, sexual urges, primal instinct). The light side and the dark side. Thus, as this reasoning goes, to totally repress the darkness would be to remain ignorant, and thus misunderstand reality as it as only understood in the Apollonian context. So Nietzsche proposed that these two elements were not opposing, but rather complementary.

Batman, the Dark Knight, represents Apollo. He operates on vitruous principles and seeks law, order and justice above all things. The Joker represents Dionysos: he seeks chaos…

View original 650 more words

Origen on Windows in Scripture

“And as for the apostolic epistles, what man who is skilled in literary interpretation would think them to be plain and easily understood, when even in them there are thousands of passages that provide, as if through a window, a narrow opening leading to multitudes of the deepest thoughts?”
-Origen,  On First Principles

Love (III): “Know you not,” says Love, “Who bore the blame?”

Jim McGuiggan introduced to me a poem by George Herbert, called “Love (III).” I might’ve read some Herbert briefly in an English Lit class in college, but none of it stuck with me the way it did after hearing McGuiggan read it in his audio message, “God and Timid Sinners.”

I downloaded that file and listened to McGuiggan many times during daily commutes in Hangzhou.

“If you like religious poetry, you may not like George Herbert’s work, but if you love it, you’ll devour his material…about timid sinners too conscious of their sin to be fully aware of the profound, fathomless love of God toward us.

So please do not let the word “sinners” deter you from savoring this sweet poem. Oh yes, we have sin, and that’s the point: some of it is all too real for some of us, and we never forget our moral failures. Something might be said of the benefit of remember our sin. Absolutely. However,  the point of this poem, I think is to invite those who can’t forgive themselves, to accept the healing and salvation God offers.

***English-to-English translation note: The poem itself is in italics to stand apart from my words on this page. However, I’ve removed italics for emphasis, actually (which is risky behavior, since its reversed as per usual). I added quotation marks to help clarify the discussion taking place in the poem and emboldened (really, blog-ified) two lines that tell–in a way only poems can–of God’s scandalous and matchless will to forgive us (you!): perfectly displayed in the death, burial, and resurrection of His son Jesus the Messiah, our Lord and King.

Without further ado:

Love (III)

by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             from my first entrance in,
drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             if I lacked any thing.
 
“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here:”
                             Love said, “You shall be he.”
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             “Who made the eyes but I?”
 
“Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.”
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                            “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat”:
                             So I did sit and eat.