I have had many experiences in my life that have contributed to my life as a learner. Being a non-traditional college student, I would guess that I have encountered different learning experiences than many of my peers.
It was a cold morning. I was very nervous and about to head out on my first deer hunt as an of-age hunter. I had been watching a deer through my rifle scope for twenty minutes before it came into range. The sun was just starting to crest the horizon. It was well past legal shooting light. I tried as hard as I could to control my breathing, then I shot and killed the deer. When I went to retrieve the deer, I learned what a valuable role hunters play in the ecosystem. It was in that moment that I knew I would be a hunter for life.
Growing up in the Catholic Church, I always knew what a role faith had played in my family’s values. I knew that it was something I wanted to continue for the rest of my life. I was 18 years old when I was confirmed into the Catholic Church. This was one of the first “adult” choices I made in my life. I always knew that having faith was important, I just didn’t know how important until I packed my things and moved from New Mexico to Nebraska to go to college. Quickly I learned that when things are not going your way, you always have an extra set of ears listening to your prayers.
My first big college exam was an essay format exam for a history class. I spent a lot of extra time and effort studying for this exam. I ended up earning an A on the exam and was very proud. I learned from that experience that whatever you put into something is what you will get out of it.
Becoming a father was probably the single-most incredible event to ever happen to me. It was truly an amazing experience to be gifted a life that I am responsible for loving and caring and for showing the way of the world. From this life experience, I have truly learned what unconditional love is.
Finally, we come to the thing I have learned most recently. Last September, I was surprised when I was let go from a job I had been at for 8.5 years when the company I was working for did some corporate restructuring. I had been making fairly decent money and had never really thought about going back to school to get my degree. When the layoffs happened, I still wasn’t thinking about it. I ended up getting another job within the company, but I just didn’t have the passion for it anymore. I had been coaching my boys in their sporting events since they were very small and absolutely loved teaching them. My wife and I had a discussion about where we should go from there…and now here I am. I’m going back to college to finish my degree. The one thing that I learned from this life-changing experience is that one door closes, another one always opens.