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In which John is both delighted and a bit intimidated to be once again seeking college credit. Other topics discussed include tuberculosis (of course) and the unwarranted confidence of a parent watching seven-year-olds play soccer.
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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday.

I had, like, the best weekend ever watching the Football First in London and then in Wales, and now I am home and jet lagged a-and I guess going back to college? So when my children were younger, and I watched their soccer games, I would sometimes think, "If you let me out onto that field right now, I would destroy those 7-year-olds." Like I'm an exceptionally poor soccer player, but 45-year-old me could score a lot of goals in 7-year-old soccer. Like I don't know how to say this generously, but even the quote unquote "good" 7-year-old soccer players are, in fact, terrible.

Anyway, this is kind of how I have imagined going back to college, like, I have less free time now than I did when I was 19, but I am so much more capable and prepared. I was just never a good student. I sorta felt like school was the price you had to pay in order to live life, which wasn't about history or literature, but was about friendships and obsessive crushes and binge drinking. For whatever reason, I never quite understood that the point of school is not actually to get a degree or fulfill expectations or whatever. The point of school is to better understand the universe and your place in it.

But then after I got out of school, I did fall in love with learning. Like over the last year, I have read a ridiculous number of books about tuberculosis, even though learning about TB is in no way my job.

Like, and this is not the point of the video, but did you know that in 2022, more people died of tuberculosis than died of homicide, war, malaria, typhoid, and cholera combined? Tuberculosis, a disease that is almost always curable, nonetheless kills a million and a half people per year. Why did I grow up thinking that TB was primarily a disease of 19th century poets? Why is the world not on fire with the injustice of tuberculosis? These are very interesting questions to me, and I am exploring them in my free time Which would have been very difficult to explain to my 19-year-old self.

Also, I'm just like much more capable and confident than I was back then. Like in 1999 it required a significant outlay of energy for me to write a 3-page paper, but now I can do that. I mean, I write a 3-page paper every Tuesday. But all that noted, I am of course romanticizing the collegiate learning experience. Right? Like when I fantasize about going back to college, I only think about taking courses that fit my interests and talents, which is not college as most people experience it. Like at most universities, college is not made up entirely of classes called like, "The Captain of All These Men of Death Toward a Social History of Tuberculosis." You also have to take classes called, like uh, math. 

So Hank, you've just announced Study Hall, a partnership between Complexly, Arizona State University, and Google, to offer a pipeline from educational YouTube video to actual college credit. And I just think it's brilliant, like you pay $25 to sign up and take a course, and then only after you've finished and received a grade do you decide if you wanna pay for college credit. This can lower the overall cost of college education in the U.S., but critically, it also means that you don't have to take on a bunch of loans before you even start and find out if a program's approach to learning is right for you.

I'm so overwhelmed by how awesome it is that I've signed up to take two classes starting in March. One is a course that aligns with my romantic notion of going back to college, a class in American history up to 1865. I feel like I should do okay in that one. But the other, Hank, is a terrifying specter on the horizon: Math. I'm in favor of math. I know that it's beautiful when people who love math talk to me about how and why they love it. I feel their enthusiasm and wonder, but it is so hard for me. I just barely got out of high school math with C's and D's. Can I pass college math? We'll find out starting in March. If you want to learn more about study hall, there are links in the doobly-doo to in the Study Hall YouTube channel. 

Hank, I continue to be astonished by the stuff you helped bring into the world. I will see you on Friday.