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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Don't Know Much Geography

I didn't get much geography education in school, but then I couldn't see why I needed to memorize state capitols anyway. Who cares, right? Somehow I ended up with a fairly decent idea of geography despite this and it ended up being a good thing when I went to work for an airline. I'm still not perfect, especially on the continents that we don't fly to--but I have a general idea of what's where. And that's what I thought geography was.

This summer, I downloaded a class from iTunes U (free!) called Cultural Geography from Stanford. I didn't expect it to be too interesting--it was geography--but I was surprised. It was fascinating. The first half of the course looked at linguistics and geography and country borders in relationship to language. I learned a lot about some places of the world that I didn't realize before and I was riveted while I was learning--two really important things for me. I love to learn new stuff, but I want to be entertained, too. I was.

The second half of the 10 week class was on religion and geography. I wasn't quite as into this part, but it was still interesting and gave me a different, more knowledgeable perspective on the world. I was actually disappointed when we finished up the course and I wanted more. Off I headed to iTunes U and found the same professor had another geography class up--Geopolitics. The more amazing thing is that I already had 9 of the 10 weeks on my iPod. I downloaded the final week and the third geography class that was about geography and the elections. I started the geopolitics class this week.

Nerdiness--I have it. But I think this is part of what attracted me to writing--my interest in learning new things and finding the quirkiest things fascinating. Not that geography is that strange, but I did flip on an hour show on The Discovery Channel about container ships and watched the whole thing, riveted. :-)

I have always been like this even as far back as junior high school when I checked out every book the library had on sharks and read them one after the other. Or in college when the journalism school abetted my eclectic range of interests by setting up a program that required we take classes across the university. Makes sense since a journalist never knows what they'll be assigned to cover and a little bit of knowledge helps, but it had me flitting all over the system. I graduated with 240 credits and I only needed 180. No minor. No second major. I was just that scattered in my course selection and I loved it! Astronomy, theater, political science, economics, American history, philosophy, you name it, I probably had it--unless it involved math. :-)

This is why iTunes U is such a wonderful thing for me. Now I can continue taking university classes without 1. spending money or 2. having to take tests. Yea!