There is a healthy chaos taking place in my brain right now. The chaos springs from the experience of being back in school, and adjusting to the habits and dispositions of student life; drinking lots of coffee, studying in libraries, reading and highlighting, attending lectures, meeting new students, etc. I haven’t done many of these things– at least in a committed, immersive way– since attending grad school for literature, and even that felt part time and partial compared to studying full time at Columbia’s Klingenstein Center.
Back to the chaos. Even though my schedule is fairly structured; four courses, and a day devoted to field work, the diversity, range, and rigor of the course work–coming from all sides–has forced me to organize, plan, assemble, synthesize, understand, contemplate, and apply a whole new set of concepts, theories, and ideas– all related to education, but all exciting and demanding in their own ways. But the chaos is so rewarding; it’s leading to profound and concentrated mental stimulation, the type I rarely experienced as a Principal. Just today alone, I read an article on the economic consequences of declining high school (and college) graduation rates, sat through a fascinating lecture in my law and ed class at the Law School, and started work on a fundraising campaign for a strategic marketing class. This morning I re-read Laches, a Socratic dialogue focusing on the meaning of knowledge, and explored “cognitive cuing” in a leadership lab course. I’m writing this post from a little casual reading nook at Columbia’s Library for Science and Engineering, surrounded by students studying electromagnetic circuitry and thermonuclear aeronautics (I made that up).
My mind hasn’t been this engaged in quite some time. It hasn’t been easy transitioning from the mundane and slightly conventional routines of the working world, but it feels healthy, even if my brain is slightly discombobulated (and I’ll go into debt). But it’s the best kind of discombobulation, and I’m eager for more.