Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
If you don’t recognize the title of this blog post, it is a lyric from Talking Heads’s song, Life During Wartime, the music video that played on heavy rotation on MTV when the station launched in 1980. I watched it over and over and over that summer, between videos of Men at Work, Eddy Grant, Madness, Duran Duran, and The Fixx. Later in high school, I saw Talking Heads play at UVA and the Hampton Coliseum.
Now, you may ask yourself, why am I referencing Talking Heads on a blog devoted to educational technology at Virginia’s Community Colleges (You may also ask yourself, How do I work this)? Because this link to a Community College Times headline scrolled by on my Twitter feed and rekindled my New Wave nostalgia and connected it to my current work for community colleges. The article profiled Steve Scales, a percussionist for the Talking Heads who toured with the band and appeared in the concert film Stop Making Sense. Scales, a veteran, returned to school after a successful musical career to earn an associate degree in Human Services from Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. From the CCT:
Scales is working toward an associate degree in human services with a goal of being a counselor. He plans to eventually transfer to get a bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s degree. Scales, a Vietnam-era veteran, hopes to use his education to help other veterans.
“I watch the news and see that there are a lot of veterans coming home with a lot of problems,” Scales said. “If I could get a degree in counseling, they would talk to me because I could relate to them.”
Getting used to school life has been a bit of an adjustment for the former “king of clubbing,” he admitted. Recently, he received an invitation to a birthday party for a friend—a well-known photographer. When deciding whether to go to the party, Scales had to take into account his class schedule—he has an 8 a.m. class on Thursdays.
Here are the Talking Heads performing live with a younger Scales on percussion.