Collegiate Endeavors.


To say that I am a bit “seasoned” to be back in school is a bit of an understatement. As it turns out, I seem to be on the “Twenty Year Plan”.

As I have mentioned before here, on this hallowed blog, I am what is referred to as a “Returning Student”. It’s a very nice way of  saying “Late Bloomer”.
Better to be late to the dance, than to have never cut a rug at all.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am actually quite glad that I decided to return to school. This is for several reasons.

First, things have really, REALLY changed from when I last fumbled for a number 2 pencil, and a scantron sheet that never seemed to be remembered before an exam. Now, people are taking notes on iPads, and shooting video of the lecture/demonstrations with their Samsung Galaxy’s. All administrative gyrations, admissions, tuition payments, class selection, etc. is all done online now. Strange days indeed, most peculiar mama.

But for as much as things have changed, the one comforting thing I experience is how much wood working has stayed wonderfully the same.
Sure, there are new toys to be played with in the shop, and thankfully, Red Rocks Community College has seen fit to provide for the changes and improvements in tooling and technique.

The other thing that makes me grateful both to have discovered this program and also to have been cajoled by my lovely wife to enroll, is that I seem to have been able to find a course of study that suits me to a tee.

Over the years, especially early on in my professional woodworking career, I considered a number of different avenues to further my education beyond my initial apprenticeship, and tedious on the job training. A bold move of note on my part, if I do say so, was to whip off a letter of introduction, and request for consideration for employment at the Thomas Moser Cabinetmaker’s company in Maine. Much to my delighted surprise, I received a phone call from their Human Resources department inviting me to come out and interview with them. They were to fly me out, and put me up, and…and … and it was decided that my then new wife and I, would stay in Denver, and that was that.
I had also considered classes at The Rhode Island School of Design, The College of the Red Woods,  and several other well known schools, but finances, and logistics always made the pursuit of my wood working education quite out of reach.

I have to stop here and admit to you, dear reader, that I was insanely remiss in not being the slightest bit aware that Red Rocks Community College even had a Fine Woodworking program at all, let alone one held in such high esteem. It was not until much later in life that I was made aware. This newfound awareness was quickly forgotten again until discussions with my wife brought the fact back to my consciousness. A little nudging from her, and I made the leap back into both woodworking and into academia. So far, a decision I have yet to regret, and one I dearly hope results in a bit of alphabet soup at the end of my name, even if it is as an associate rather than a bachelor.

One last reason I am glad to have waited until now to go after higher education is that I have matured to a degree, and am able to engage more fully in the entire academic experience. It really is a lot like going all the way back to that last year in high school when I took wood shop as a lark. Then, like now, I was graced with an exceptional teacher who genuinely cared about those select students that seemed to show real interest at a minimum, or potential talent at the outside. I can honestly say, that out of nearly 12 years of schooling at that point, I can not point to a single class I had ever taken, forced to or not, that kept me interested any further than to see if there were any pretty girls in the class that semester.

As it stands now, I look forward to continuing to fill my metaphorical quiver with more woodworking arrows. I enjoy the hope that I may soon include myself among the small number of successful craftsmen who work wood not just to earn a living, but also because they love the effort.

Like me on Facebook @ Madcapwoodwright
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