Life is filled with crossroads. I am at one of those crossroads right now as I put the finishing touches on my thesis and prepare for graduation in April.
What should I do once school is over? Do I plunge myself into a weak economy with fewer and fewer jobs? Nah, I think to myself. That doesn't sound like fun.
Instead, I've decided to go for more schooling, this time at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, provided I get accepted.
If you've been following the frustrating experience of my thesis, you may be wondering why I would ever get back into the system once I'm finally free of it. That's a good question.
For starters, I don't feel like I'm finished with schooling. That is, I don't feel like it's time to stop just yet. There are greater things for me just over the horizon.
Additionally, if you've been following this blog you know that I'm really into Samoa and its people and language and culture and food. I don't know that I've ever specifically mentioned it in any of my posts but Samoans (and Pacific islanders in general) are quite susceptible to the chronic diseases associated with a Westernized diet and lifestyle. I'd like to gain the education and experience necessary to be able to do something about this in ways that are harmonious with indigenous cultures.
Furthermore, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, a man I consider to have been a prophet, repeatedly taught that we should get all the education we can get.
“Get all of the education you can possibly get. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity, and the Lord has laid upon you the responsibility to secure an education.” (Source)
“Be smart. The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. I repeat, you will bring honor to the Church and you will be generously blessed because of that training.
“There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again.” (Source)
My wife has to continually remind me that there are many good interpretations of the phrase get all the education you can, that it isn't referring to a one-size-fits-all, PhDs-for-everyone kind of plan. I know she is right, of course. She is my wife, after all, and a wise one at that.
But as we have counseled with each other, Deb and I both feel good, that this plan to go to Hawaii, provided they accept me, is a good plan.
And so, despite the difficulties I've faced with my thesis and the inevitable hardships of a PhD, I feel great at the prospect of continuing my education, especially if it will make me more able to serve my fellow brothers and sisters in the great human family.
(Photo: My Hawaiian bruddah, Josh, and me on the Big Island of Hawaii, May 2005. Great times!)