If I could start over…
I’ve had this post cooking for a while…thinking about where I started my professional life and where I am now….and what I would do differently if I could start over. Well…first, coming from a very provincial and isolated part of the southern US, to say that my options were rather limited at the time I began my undergraduate career would be an understatement. At the time (and I am REALLY dating myself here) women could be teachers or nurses. A few mavericks might pursue different options, but such a path was not easy to follow. So….I chose something conventional – the path of least resistance and all, certainly NOT feeling very rebellious at the time and not ever considering that there might be other things out there.
As I have continued my life in higher education, and in my most recent graduate school adventures….I am increasingly convinced that the “mother” discipline is rhetoric (defined in my mind and for my purposes here as the deep understanding of and facile use of language). In fact, it is the fountain from which all other understandings and worldviews spring (or are at least firmly rooted). Yep, I mean the “hard sciences” as well. There is absolutely no escape from the harness of text & the narrative. The proficient use of language (which ever one is born to or learns later or as a part of cultural upbringing) is critical to make possible understanding and being understood – and thus under girds much of what we call learning. And as I become increasingly more rooted in social media enabled through technology I am daily struck by the extent to which text mediates our interactions. Think of bloggers, twitterers, text messaging, instant messaging, Wikipedia, all of the web in all of its glory.
Okay, before the remixers and mashup experts are all over me, I recognize that much on the web is now embellished and illustrated with rich media. I certainly do not discount that. But for me, the text is key. There it is, what I would study if I could.
Wait a minute….I can study and understand this rhetoric NOW! Through the rich media available through my ever-expanding personal learning network (more about that later).
I have much more to say about this, the ideas are still cooking. I am not sure where it might take me. But what would I do if I could start over? I’d study language and rhetoric.