Saturday, December 14, 2013

Student

I was always one of the kids who loved school. Even when I got bad grades, didn't have friends, and had low self-confidence, I loved school. I took pride in being a good student who paid attention, did her homework, and asked questions. This attitude no doubt came from my parents. My father is a college professor in the sciences. My mother is a writer. Both are wonderfully creative, nurturing, intelligent people who can make the everyday into a fantastic wonder to be learned from. 

I have always taken that attitude to heart, so school, even when difficult, was something I enjoyed. 

Until it wasn't.



As I went through my college education, I experienced something completely unexpected. I was tired of school. Tired of class. Granted, college was rough road for me, but that is a story for another day. Despite personal setbacks, class had always been a constant for me. A good thing. Yet here I was, dreading the walk, and later, the drive, to campus. I stopped doing readings. I skipped when I felt the need. I disregarded homework that seemed pointless. I am one of those people, so this behavior didn't jeopardize my GPA or graduation at all. What it did do was waste a great deal of time and money. 

You see, I lost the student in myself. Instead of a wonderful learning experience, college became just another hurdle on my way to a degree, a job, and adulthood. Even my thesis was anti-climactic, because I was required to focus on my state's history, rather than my area of specialty. Everything became so much paperwork. 

I forgot how to learn.

Life began, ever so surely, to stagnate. I became depressed. I felt like a fraud. After all, here was my degree, but what had I actually learned? Not much, and how could I have? I spent hundreds of dollars on books I never read. I spent two years learning Japanese like I'd always dreamed, but when after I transferred to the university at home, I never once studied my nihongo again. I was no student. 

If I could do it all over again, how different it might be. I'd never leave my home state. I'd take that free ride scholarship, and work to keep it. I'd read every sentence my professors suggested, so I could contribute in class. I'd be proudly bilingual. 

I can't do it all over again though. That doesn't mean I can't move forward. One thing I have learned about life is that you don't always get a second chance, but you do get another chance. I am reviving the student in me, and learning independently now. The end of college is not the end of learning. Humans should never stop learning. When we cease to explore our world, we cease living. Being a member of the walking dead is no fun. When we stop trying to learn, we get too wrapped up inside of ourselves and our thoughts. Without fresh input, our thoughts can only decay. 

Don't let your mind decay. Do not, for a second, think you have missed your chance to learn. You can always be a student of the world. And you will find you aren't alone. There are many of us here, in the global classroom, and we are waiting to welcome you back to the land of the living. Get learning.  

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