One of my roommates in college taught me the perfect cure for menstrual cramps. She would sip a Slurpee, letting all that sugary frozenness coat her insides, while she used a heating pad on her back. The contrast between the heat and the cold worked miracles on our seemingly punitive reproductive systems and made living in an apartment full of females much easier.
I learned lots of things in college.
I learned how to teach double digit multiplication to reluctant fourth graders in a myriad of ways, none of which I remember now. I was taught about modern American poetry and fell in love with the work of John Berryman. I took a class in 19th century British literature and fell in love with Jane Austen. I signed up for a class entitled “Computers in the Classroom,” failed miserably, and I’ve hated all things technological since.
In college, I learned about the French Revolution, musical theater, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, physics, the symbolism in the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and introductory phonics.
I took classes on Shakespeare and classroom psychology and children’s literature. I spent time in the library on campus and in the art museum and the bookstore.
All in all, despite not officially receiving a degree, I would call myself an educated woman.
But at the end of the day, when taking stock of everything I learned in college, the most helpful and used bit of knowledge I learned will always be on how to cure menstrual cramps.
I’m not exactly sure what that means. Have I not utilized my education to its highest potential? Did I squander my time in college, given my current role as a stay-at-home mother and my lack of a degree? Or did all this higher education help me to make an enlightened decision to stay among the people I love best, rather than a career outside the home?
I don’t know.
But, as I sit here slowly nursing a lemonade slushie while using the heating pad and re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the four hundredth time, I find myself oddly content. Perhaps the best education comes from cobbling together bits and pieces, some practical and others theoretical, from every corner of our lives.