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An Old Friend Unexpectedly Meets My Needs Again
By Aneladee Milne
I have been a student at George Wythe University since 2001. Yes, I have been a student for a long time. After graduating in 2005, a year later I enrolled as a master’s student, took a break, and today I’m back once again. Educational odysseys are always personal but they oftentimes share much in common with others. Perhaps a few twists in mine will sound familiar.
I first was attracted George Wythe because I was looking to get a real education. I was not interested in job training from a typical university; I already had that. And after many years working in a profession that I loved, I’d received the best on-the-job training the industry had to offer. But I wanted to really know something—to become something of use to mankind. I yearned to understand the world around me. I was looking for what Allan Bloom described in his book The Closing of the American Mind when he wrote, “Education must constantly try to look toward the goal of human completeness.” That is what I found myself yearning for.
Of course Bloom was expressly referring to a liberal education, a specific type of which I had never heard. In all my years, no one ever had suggested such a thing existed. As a result, the college experience of my youth was empty and unfulfilling. So I eventually left university life and became a mother and a professional costume designer. I was content in my chosen career and life, yet I sensed a void and I still wondered if I would ever really “know” the world at a deeper level.
Meanwhile, I was not looking for a school because I had come to believe that a college education had little to offer me, so it was quite by accident that I found George Wythe University. What struck me in particular was how my own desire to learn expanded so quickly, which was a new experience entirely. When I began to attend, my thirst to learn became unstoppable. It felt like finding an oasis after being stranded in the desert. That is why I have been a student for so long. I want to drink from the well for as long as I can.
I worked hard in my undergraduate program and the personal rewards were rich. Administration was rough around the edges in those days, glitches were common and I have to admit that at times it was troublesome . But I was so thirsty for the knowledge that it was easy to forgive the school’s growing pains. After all, in this contagious learning culture, we had all caught fire the same way--discovering that our educations are entirely up to us. Ultimately, I completed the core curriculum and I was contented.
But things changed when I entered the graduate program. I began to wonder if George Wythe was the right place for my next degree, so I spent a year looking at different colleges and their masters of education curricula. But having experienced a classical liberal arts education, nothing else appealed to me. I longed to continue the pursuit of the kind education that would complement my mission in life. At the end of that year, I decided to consider George Wythe once again.
I called the school and spoke with the director of admissions who at that time was Gary Arnell. He took me to the new website and helped me navigate around. I was thrilled to discover that I felt at home once again, and frankly surprised at how much I liked the new online system. I logged into my personal information page and found all the classes that I had already taken listed in front of me. I could see everything needed to chart my path to graduation. It was so easy, concise and clear but the most exciting thing is that I will now be attending live courses from the convenience of my home in Bountiful, Utah.
I have fond memories of my early years at George Wythe, even with those bumpy administrative annoyances that seemed almost weekly back then. What I’m delighted to see remaining, though, is the rigor and passion for learning that first inspired me—only now in streamlined technology that can deliver classes anywhere. I admit being skeptical at first, but what I’ve discovered is an improved, even higher quality classroom experience instead of the compromise I expected. That is a rare combination. Online classrooms may not be for everyone, but for a busy mom like me it’s perfect for my needs.
Yes, I’ve been at GWU a long time and it looks like I’ll be in school for another year and a half. As both my family and home business grow, time is more precious than ever. I am confident, though, that as my journey continues this will be time well spent.
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