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Deb Peterson

What Inspires You to Learn?

By December 9, 2008

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I ran across a Lincoln buff today in my continuing search for amazing non-traditional students. Did you know that the bi-centennial of Lincoln's birth is February 12, 2009? Why does it matter? It was what inspired Ann Tracy Mueller, a lifelong Lincoln enthusiast, to cancel a liability claims practices course in favor of a class that moved her toward a secret dream: to become a Lincoln scholar.

As so often happens, in addition to learning loads about Lincoln, she also learned how much more she has to learn, which serves as more inspiration. Even more importantly, in her words:

What I do know is that I had an opportunity of a lifetime and I shared it with some incredible people. The class was open to the public, either for credit or for enrichment. Students ran the gamut from some really cool, really bright traditional college students to a husband and wife team, a mother and daughter, a retiree with several degrees and others in between. Each of them brought their own unique perspective to the class, and I learned from all of them.
Ann expressed so eloquently why many of us return to the classroom time and time again. Curiosity about a subject may ignite the spark, but the burning joy of learning is fed by the remarkable human interactions that take place when we join others.

What inspires you to learn? Share your passion with us either here or on the Continuing Education Message Boards.


December 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm
(1) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

It seems to me as soon as we think we know something is when we shut the door on learning. When we are in the learning mode we realize how much more there is to yet be learned.

December 10, 2008 at 7:56 am
(2) Ann Tracy Mueller says:


Thanks for your very nice post about my passion for Lincoln, for learning and for the growth through my fellow students. It’s important to note that although I did not take the claims course in the fall as planned, I will be taking it in the spring. This completes my sixth professional designation, most of which consist of three or four courses each. So, learning more for my current career is just as important to me as learning the fun stuff – even though the professional desginations were optional, not required. I encourage all to NEVER stop learning.


December 16, 2008 at 7:26 am
(3) Deb Peterson says:

Hi Ann,
I’m so glad you stopped by. Thanks for clarifying that. It makes such a big difference in a person’s career whether or not they keep learning, doesn’t it? I think some people don’t realize that the more they learn, the more valuable they are to their employer. Thanks for pointing that out, and being a great role model for others.

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