11.08.2009

Musings on An Education


This weekend I saw the film An Education by director Lone Scherfig (thank you Rose for the recommendation!). This film really moved me. I loved it and highly recommend it- but this is not a review, as I don’t wish to give anything away about the film (just go see it!). What I want to do, however, is discuss the key question that encapsulates the movie- which, for me, is:

What constitutes an education?

Is it schooling, textbooks and exams? The gathering of information in one’s mind with the wistful hope that one day you will put that information and knowledge to good use?

Or is the ultimate education gained through experiences? Meeting people, leading an exciting life, traveling… living.

I suppose, for me, it was a combination of the two. Even though I am no longer at university, I still believe that my education continues. Yes, I studied English literature, Latin and French- Science and Math (not so good at the last two) and for the most part enjoyed my ‘classroom education’. But it has largely been through my travels and meeting interesting people that I have gained the biggest education- about myself- about life.

Living in Paris, of course, played a massive part in this. The culture, the fashion, the people the champagne (!) the lack of inhibition… That experience and those feelings are carried with me every single day of my life.

And yet while I appreciate all of the cosmopolitan moments in my life- past, present and (hopefully) future, I don’t think I could appreciate them fully without the levelheadedness that I learned in the classroom setting (after all, without dark, how can one appreciate the light?)

Yes, for me it has very much so been a delicate balance of the two…


So… I would love to know... what has constituted as an education in your life?


Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard are pictured above in a scene from An Education.

16 comments:

tina said...

I'm so looking forward to seeing this film...obviously, there's no way this one will be in cinemas in our country, but still.
the idea of "life-education" sounds very familiar, now, when i've left the university :)

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I can't wait to see this one. Travel is definitely high on my list and also when I stopped nursing and enrolled in a BFA majoring in painting at art school. This was a very big education and very transformative for me. xx

Rose said...

Hello- thanks for the mention and I'm so glad you liked the film as much a I did. It's a really interesting question about education. Ultimately life is the best education but there is no doubt in my mind I would be different if I hadn't gone to University- not so much for what I studied but for the people I met and I suppose that priceless experience of having 3 years to learn and grow- and drink and eat and go to the theatre and so on. The friends I made there are friends I treasure because we are so alike I think.

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour! I'll have to put this on ly list of things to see! I think the best education comes from just living life! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such sweet comments on my blog!

M.Lane said...

I think that if we are given appropriate examples when young we are then allowed [and we allow ourselves] to be "educated" by everything that comes our way as we continue down life's path. I have found my schooling [like you, I loved school but math not so much], travel, religion/philosophy, and the company of interesting and mentally diverse people very educational! Being married and being a father are probably more educational than anything else!

What disturbs me is that I see lots of people that place all the value on schooling in terms of "meaningful" education to the exclusion of anything else which they lump into the "leisure" or "hobby" categories. Pity.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Alan Burnett said...

As always, you are right - it is a delicate balance between formal education and raw experience. And they are interdependent : without some experience of life the need for formal education isn't so obvious (and this is a problem with so much of our education system) and without some formal education you will never distill the lessons real life has to offer. How's that for not answering your question!

Michael Rivers said...

I keep hearing good about this film. I'll have to see it.

Rebecca said...

I totally agree with you about education being a combination of schooling and life experiences. Since I'm no longer at university, I am surprised that I sometimes miss the structure that being in school entailed, so different than the structure of a career...I do find myself taking a lot of classes here and there and appreciating them more these days. Thank you for the food for thought and the film recommendation!

Nozomi said...

Hi!
I agree...life is a journey of all kinds of experiences and feeling them, enjoying them and growing with them...I loved reading the post...made me to stop and think:) Which I should do more often!

And I should try to go see that movie, too!!

La Belette Rouge said...

Ooh, this looks like a required film and not an elective.;-)

Travel and psychotherapy have been as important to my education as my undergrad and grad degrees.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Tina- I hope they do bring this film to your country- it is sooo good. xo

Josephine- I think in the right mindset anything can provide an education- even bad experiences! You have had such a rich background with nursing and painting... I'm sure both of those things have contributed to who you are today!

Rose- I totally agree. I can't imagine not going to University. It was one of the best times in my life. Half academic and half partying (oops!) but I learned equal amounts from both :)

Bonjour Romance- I hope you enjoy it xo

M. Lane- I couldn't agree more. What our parent's teach us is soooo valuable in how we view what constitutes an education. Your future rockstar is lucky to have a dad like you!

Alan- LOL! Come to think of it- my post didn't really answer my own question either. I mean in a way it's pretty obvious that we all can learn from everything- it just took me a long time to realize that :)

Michael- I hope you enjoy it!

Rebecca- you are so right. Univeristy provides structure and motivation (usually). It's hard to keep oneself interested when those things (and a huge tuition) aren't involved!

Nozomi- Thank you! I love your blog- just discovered it ;)

Belette- lol- yes this film is not an elective :) I think you'll really enjoy it xoxo

Bonjour Madame said...

I will have to see this film. Thanks for the recommendation! I think I have learned far more through life experiences than any classroom. This becomes more clear the older I get. I think other people may feel differently though. I guess it depends on the person.

P.S. I'm glad you liked the brownie pink lipstick!

ParisBreakfasts said...

Merci for the nudge-I must see this too. Certainly travel has been my biggest catelyst in changing my life - it's such a personal experience and so full of surprises. After that certain inspiring teachers...
Lots of food for thought...

The Coastal Chicster said...

I noticed this film listed on the calendar for December for a local independent theater we have here in Norfolk, and it piqued my interest. I used to go see movies there all the time when I worked in Norfolk, and I think I will have to find someone to take a trip out there to see it with me! (Also, I found a play to go see finally! It's a small production - only two actors - and it's supposed to be pretty funy. It's called A Tuna Christmas. I cant wait. :)

Des said...

I'd have to say life experiences are the most important education. I say this because I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend universities and meet some brilliant people. But ultimately, the people who have always impressed me the most were those who had the most life experiences. They seem to be grounded and, more importantly, have better common sense. It is shocking how some of the most brilliant people can posses a complete lack of common sense.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

It is ongoing. I've been out of school for a couple of decades, but I still keep reading, learning, traveling, absorbing. I'm amazed at the aesthetic education that waits on so many "amateur" blogs.

 
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