I was at St. Catherine’s last Saturday, taking part in a Toastmasters Leadership Institute. I wasn’t familiar with the campus, and it took me a little while to find the correct building. I thought I was being clever by simply following the line of cars pulling into one of the parking lots, until I found out they were there for a volleyball tournament, not the Toastmasters program.

It was a bit of a distance to the building I actually needed to be in, but I decided to walk and get some exercise instead of getting back in my car and driving there. As I did, I thought about how long it’s been since I’ve been on a college campus, and how much I enjoy it. Well, not the part about it being 7:30 on a Saturday morning in below-freezing weather, but still…

Later, during a break in our program, I saw one of our members out in the hall, looking at a bulletin board that had information about the school’s Psychology program.

“Thinking of enrolling?” I asked him. I was kidding, of course, especially since St. Kate’s is a women’s college. Still, we had a nice chat about education in general. He said he was well past his “school days,” but considered himself to be a life-long learner. I consider myself one of those, too.

The Leadership Institute was on the same day my son and daughter-in-law were moving into their new home, so I drove straight from St. Kate’s to their house. I got there just as the moving truck was arriving, along with my husband and other friends and family members who were helping with the move. While others did the heavy lifting, I spent most of the time in my favorite room of the house – the kitchen – unpacking dishes, appliances, and pots and pans. Everything about the move was well-organized, and the work went quickly. When we finished, we all sat down around the kitchen table sharing pizza – the standard moving-day meal – and conversation.

Our son, his wife, and their friends are 30-ish, and a few of them are currently pursuing advanced degrees. One has just finished his classes, and said how good it felt to finally have a bit of free time. His wife has a full load of classes right now, and is pretty much studying non-stop. Someone else was just finishing up a break in her schooling, and getting ready to start her next round of classes.

Because I often read about the diminishing number of people who even crack open a book after they’ve completed their basic education, let alone go on to further studies once they get out in the “real world,” it was refreshing and reassuring to spend the day with people who value education so highly. Whether on a college campus or at a kitchen table, I love to listen and learn, to compare notes and knowledge with people who are working to gain the skills and information that will improve their own lives and the lives of others.

It was a long and busy day, but also an enriching and rewarding one. I guess you could say it was one for the books. And one I enjoyed immensely.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 2, 2017.
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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