Utne Reader

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Sue's Utne Reader response

-- Anonymous, November 11, 1998


The article I chose to read was "How I got my DUY Degree... at the University of Planet Earth". This article was written by William Upski Wimsatt who had experienced his life in order to dicover what he considered to be the most beneficial education he could have received. He did not attend the traditional college, but rather turned to life to draw his education from and to utilize his experiences to create a life which is well rounded and beneficial to his purpose.

He initially started on the path that many of us take, going to high school and attending college. He soon realized that the courses that interested him most were not offered and those were courses on topics of life such as; sex, friendships, raising money, building an organization, etc. In this time of self discovery he decided to embark on his own type of learning by living life. He and several others, who have since joined his philosophy on life, believe it is because of this type of learning that they are now true to themselves and have made decisions that have brought them to a better place in life then they thaught they would be.

This article was very interesting to me both as a professional and an individual. It is applicable as a teacher when looking at students who flounder in school, yet feel that their only chance for success in life is to follow that traditional path of high school, college, work force. I believe it is these students who would benefit greatly in all aspects of life if they were allowed to self explore and make good decisions based on life experiences rather than life expectations. I have often thought of my own experiences and do realize that the times I was most successful was when I knew exactly what it was that I needed and wanted. In other word, true to myself and my desires.

I think that what the author was saying was very interesting in that there are many ways to educate yourself. His concept of education is not traditional, but valuable just the same. I respect his opinion and his ability to see what he needed to maximize his potential for a happy, healthy life. I hope that I would do the same if the opportunities presented themselves.

-- Anonymous, November 11, 1998

I agree that life is where you take your greatest lessons. School taught me the basics of life. I learned how to add and subtract so I could do my checkbook. I learned how to read and write so I could function in society.

Personal experiences in my life taught me how to live. Seeing tragedy made me appreciate people more. Other life events such as falling in love, having a child and watching declining educated me on how precious life is. The lessons learned from real life have been more impressionable because they were obviously more traumatic and poignant.

Although active learning derived from real life has affected me more, it is necessary in our society to fulfill other obligation in order to succeed. Only through the combination of the two will an individual be considered personally and professionally successful in society.

-- Anonymous, November 16, 1998

Sue, I read the article you read and I have to admit I didn't think of it the way you did. To me, the guy came off as flighty and somewhat irresponsible. I didn't think he should be advocating this style of life for others just because he found it so good. I think I might have felt different if I were 19 years old and was just getting started. The thought of living in a different city each year might have been appealing.

My son Ben is 20 and that is exactly what he wanted to do. All I could imagine was him eating out of garbage cans as he wanted to make a start in each new town. It takes money to travel and even more money to set up a place of residence. Ben made it to San Diego for 6 months and has since moved back home. With his parents' help he has an apartment and now he is working. He really wants to go back to school but is going to have a tough time of it. He had a free and easy attitude the first time out and is paying for it now.

For most people the best time for a formal education is after high school. Why can't we get the informal lessons from the real world at the same time we pursue a means with which to support ourselves?

-- Anonymous, November 16, 1998

I also read this article about education on the road. I look back at my college years as years I needed to get through (TIME to grow up). I was not ready for work and I was not sure of what I wanted to do as a career. I was immature at 18. I think I would have regretted not listening to my parents and finishing college. I do feel travel is an invaluable learning experience for people. When I was 20, a friend and I traveled for three months across Europe spending about a week in each city. We had the best of life learning experiences. So I do understand how Wimsatt felt about travel and learning about life. But I just think it is important to do both.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 1999

I agree that a lot can be learned through experience but I also think that it takes some amount of discipline to really educate yourself through experience. Some do not have this type of discipline.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 1999

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