The Shadow Curriculum

As an unemployed college graduate, I have a lot of knowledge in my head, and a lot of time on my hands. There is an irony inherent in this. In college, I wished for an hour to nap. I wished that I wouldn’t have to go to bed after 3:00 AM, just one night. I wished, you guessed it, that I had more free time. An adage comes to my mind…but I can’t remember all of it…something about being careful about what you…

Well, you get it. But it is a rather painful situation that college grads are met with. One moment we are immersed in this collegiate environment that hands us knowledge, daily, and gives us the means to express ourselves. We have peers with which to hold lofty conversations about our studies with, but mostly we just talk about our favorite movies and books (which can be just as stimulating.) We sample different cultures and cuisines, even on our limited budget. We are constantly being bombarded with new things, and eternally maturing and growing.

And then we graduate. And it’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. Or is it?

Because those of us who can’t get a job right out of college (we are the majority), take a hiatus from learning. We no longer drag ourselves out of bed so that we can practice a new skill or theory. We are lucky if we get out of bed at all.

I’m unwilling to succumb to this routine. I’m a perpetual student, and I firmly believe that not all learning happens inside the classroom, but that it is also augmented by the study habits and diligence of the pupil.

So, I had an idea. Actually, Jerry Spinelli had an idea in my second favorite book of all time Love, Stargirl. (My favorite book of all time? It’s Stargirl.) In this novel, the quirky main character is home-schooled, but has a “shadow curriculum.” So, she learns her math, science, and history. And then she learns meditation, learns about ladybugs, takes field trips, or anything she wants.

I was one of the rare people in college who never wanted class or my education to end, not really. And now, with my own shadow curriculum, it won’t. But in general, I think we all need to incorporate more of what we love into our daily lives. I hope it inspires you to create your own!

Monday-Meditation
-Do yoga. Read about meditation. Take time to erase yourself.

Tuesday-Novel Writing
-Learn how to write a novel. Write that novel.

Wednesday-Poetry
-Read or write poetry. Discover a new poet.

Thursday-DJing
-Mix a new playlist. Learn about a new artist.

Friday-Drawing
-Draw a doodle. Paint something. Just create.

Look out for my shadow curriculum blogging in the future!

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