Hey, glad to make your acquaintance. My name is Ben, Ben Fleagle and I am a junior here at UAF. My associate’s degree done back in 2008 after a twenty year effort, I took a break for a few years to catch up with my family and career. Now I am setting about getting the rest wrapped up and am majoring in History for my BA. I am an avid consumer of history. Juggling this pursuit along with raising my younger children, the job and paycheck is certainly a challenge, but as I am very familiar with the life of younger college students, I know that their burden is no less heavy. I started taking college classes while in the U.S. Marines. The Marines made going to school cheap, and then gave you very little time to actually do it. So it was a great deal of time before I completed my two-year. I have been a firefighter for going on twenty-two years. I started out in Orange County Fire in California, and after marrying a wonderful woman, we decided to pursue my degree in a small college town, away from the California craziness. A decision we have never regretted. In 2001, just after 9/11, I was hired into University Fire, here at UAF. It has been a great job and an honor to train, teach and lead such fine young men and women!
My older daughters are busy living lives of their own, one is down in America, a trained horse wrangler and show rider. That is her passion, but she also has to make a living. The eldest has had a fine career here at UAF, and is completing her degree too, she is passionate about working with the young folks and will be going down that road soon. My son and I just returned from a successful waterfowl hunt and my littlest angel and I might sneak in a camper trip before the snow flies. She is a little artist.
I’m taking this particular class because its a requirement of sorts. Wrapping up the core is a chore, however, it can also be a significant learning experience. I suffered a great deal in Philosophy last semester, that class made my head hurt. Managing to walk away alive and with a new understanding of the difference between describing and explaining was a feat. Two very different things. So I expect I will learn things in this class as well. You should embrace learning, even if you do not want to embrace the topic. I love history, but am not enamored with “classics” as they are often very long winded. However, flipping through the text, I think much of it will be interesting and I am not one to shy away from a good read. A little cool wind, a good cup o’ Joe and you can get far in life. We study many different core subjects, not so much for the topic itself, but with the discipline they bring us. That being said, my hope is to walk a way with a good grade, a better understanding of the world that was and just maybe, I will have contributed a small something. But as I said, it will not be easy, I will be on duty often, not able to read or write until the firehouse is quiet and the calls stop ringing in. Last semester I was up late reading a required book on my bunk, when within minutes we were working a fire down in the city, doing what we are paid to do, at -40 below. So I will need to rely heavily on spell check, as the brain begins to fog. I leave this with a favorite quote I first saw in a good Irish pub. I’ve carried it with me ever since;
“May you have the hindsight to know where you have been, the foresight to know where you are going and the insight to know when you are going to far.”
See you in class,