"When you stop learning, you cease to grow, and subconsciously tell the universe you've done it all--nothing new for you. So why are you here?" (Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure, p. 212)

From a young age I have been a learner with an active imagination and a well-developed sense of curiosity. I spent many happy childhood hours surfing the World Book Encyclopedia the way I surf the Web today.

I hadn't been at Metro State very long before the subject of "What next?" came up. When the topic of my return to higher education came up in conversation, people's first response was often a surprised "You mean you don't have a degree?" As the conversation continued, it often progressed to "So once you have your bachelor's degree, you're going to go on to get a Master's or PhD, right?"

Since I kept hearing this, I decided to give it some thought. But a Master's or PhD in--what, exactly? And for what purpose? If I were twenty or thirty years younger, a postgraduate degree might make more sense. But, I thought, does a postgraduate degree make sense when I have only five, ten or fifteen years before retirement?

So far I have investigated MFA and doctoral degrees in writing, design, advertising and branding. I even considered divinity school. None of these options struck me as a particularly good fit.

Throughout all this investigation I tried to keep in mind that the most important thing to do right now was to focus on getting my Bachelor's degree. Maybe, I thought, by the time I get my Bachelor's degree I will have attained clarity on what, if any, postgraduate degree I should pursue. Well, I'm almost at the point of getting the Bachelor's degree, and so far, there's still no clarity as far as a postgraduate degree is concerned.

If cost, time, age and earning a living were not considerations, I would pursue postgraduate study to become a playwright, lyricist, composer or all of the above, because I am a big fan of Broadway musicals and the Great American Songbook. I have been studying them since I was a tiny tot; if I could formulate an independent Master's or Doctorate in Musical Theater, and base it on prior learning, I would be all set. Perhaps I can do that to keep busy after I retire.

In the meantime, while the experience of earning my BA degree has enabled me to fill in many gaps in my learning, it also has shown me how much more there is to learn out there in the big, wide world, and in the universe beyond. And whether or not I pursue a postgraduate degree, I realize I don't need to be pursuing a degree in order to keep learning.

I take as an example of synchronicity the fact that a friend, Race Bannon, just published a book called The Art of Self-Education. Race is the gentleman who, when I told him I was thinking about writing a book, encouraged me to consider self-publishing it. That was great advice, and his new book is full of more great advice for me, and for anyone else, who is interested in continuing their education for the rest of their lives, whether or not they are pursuing an advanced degree.