- Written by Jeff Summers Jeff Summers
I always find it interesting to hear how education is defined in a person's life. There are those who feel education can only occur in the halls of higher learning. There are others that feel it comes from books and lectures. Still others define education as the experiences life bestows upon a person.
I tend to take a broader view. Instead of placing boundaries upon education, I try to expand the definition. To me, we are eternal beings who lived well before our lives on earth and will live well past our time of death. Our entire journey along the pathway of time is filled with opportunity.
How we interact with these opportunities will determine our education. For every choice we have ever made or ever will make is part of our education. At times we learn from positive decisions at others we learn from the negative. Regardless of the outcome, we have learned and that is what is most important.
I grew up in Idaho Falls Idaho and I attended A.H. Bush elementary school. Although at the time I believed PE was my favorite subject, my most lasting memories are of math classes. I was thoroughly engulfed in learning math terms and how they related to the various aspects of my life.
As a young boy, the classroom alone was not enough to hold my attention. I was involved in all sporting events playing football when in fourth grade and playing baseball beginning in the first grade all through elementary school on various Tee Ball teams and then at the age of 9 Little League. I was also very interested in track, running the 50 yard dash in the all-city track meet as a sixth grader.
That track meet would hold special meaning for the rest of my life although I did not know it. For at that meet, my future wife Trina was also competing. She and I did not know each other nor would we meet until several years later but we each won our events - hers the high jump, mine the 50 yard dash in record heights and times.
The year before I was to begin junior high school, the school burned to the ground causing us to have to attend split sessions with another junior high for my seventh and eighth grade years. Our school would start at noon and our school day would end at 6:15 PM.
It was actually a blessing since we could have basketball and track practice in the mornings before school. On those days where we had no practice, I was free to work at Deckers with my father.
I once again found that I was drawn to the math classes more than any other. I was blessed to have some very good teachers who challenged me and allowed me to work at my own pace. In the seventh grade I finished the math text book within the first 5 weeks of school and was allowed to take Algebra for the remainder of the school year.
When I reached the ninth grade, our new school opened with a new name, Eagle Rock Junior High. I was busy my Freshman year playing football, basketball and running track. I was all-conference setting school records in all of these sports. My education was enhanced with the addition of advanced math and sciences.
I attended Skyline High School in Idaho Falls Idaho graduating in 1979. My high school years were less than stellar. I found myself bored at many stages and tended to be lackadaisical in my approach to school. My father explained to me that I could not drive unless I kept a "B" average so that is exactly what I had.
The highlight of my high school experience happened when I was a Sophomore. While running track, I was introduced to Trina Jensen who was also on the track team. We began dating and found we were soul mates, our spirits complementing each other. I knew from the moment I first saw her that I wanted her as my eternal companion.
After graduation, Trina went to Ricks College on a full-ride basketball scholarship. I on the other hand was looking for quick relieve from formal education and decided to attend Stevens Henager College of Business. It took me one semester to determine that I had made a mistake. I left Provo and went back to Idaho where I spent the remainder of the year working for my father.
The next fall, I went to Ricks, partly for an education partly but mostly to be with Trina. She had been in school a year but I determined I would graduate with her. I tested out of most of my Freshman year and took 27 credits per semester to graduate from Ricks College in April 1981 with Trina.
That summer we were married before moving back to Provo for me to finish my education. Given my experiences at Ricks, and not wanting to burden Trina to provide for us while I went to school, I again took 30 credits a semester and concentrated my efforts to graduate from Brigham Young University in a year. This I accomplished in August 1982 exactly a year from when I started. Although my degree is in accounting, I have three minors in business management, managerial economics and computer science.
Since graduating from BYU, I have toyed with the idea of getting a masters degree. I have begun 4 programs in earnest but found myself quickly bored with the traditional classroom environment. I continue to strive to learn each and every day, I am merely looking for a different form of education to enhance my capabilities and challenge my mind.