Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dilemma of Every Student: Learning to Learn

We go to school being expected to learn what they've got to teach, but nobody actually teach us first how to learn.

Eventually we wonder to ourselves, Where to learn How to learn?

About four years ago while in my second year doing my diploma, I had an academic breakdown. There's nothing to hide or be embarrassed about it. Back then at that particular stage of my life I realised I've been working as a student by studying for way too long without a solid core to guide me on how to actually study.

I would primarily do with what my friends did and generally perform fair. Not the top of the lot, neither am I the bottom. All of this I had actually anticipated even before coming to Singapore to continue my studies because my whole life prior to higher studies, I've been relying greatly on tuition centers to polish me up, as everyone knows the public school standards are always up to standard here.

I had thought by going to Singapore to study, I would have no education assistance whatsoever and things might get nasty. Amazingly for the first year I've manage to keep it at bay and got good grades. It here refers to the inevitable, and inevitable is what it is unfortunately.

After returning from my year end break and entering year 2, I've lost momentum and surely enough the grades dropped. I was having the worst time of my life to date then. I didn't know
How to study.

Should I read everything the school give? Possible yet impractical if we have a hectic lifestyle from many subjects. We'll probably just drop dead one day from overstudying. And besides, there's more to life than just studying right?

Should I just pay full attention in class and read it every now and then prior to the exams? Possible but yet impractical again if our daily class timetable are long and torturing. I found out by the 3rd 2-hours class of the day I would be mentally drained and can't fuckin accept anymore knowledge.

Should I just play backdoor? Study the answers of questions tipped to come out and ignore the rest? Risky. Not a good gameplan.

Should I do group studies? It's known to be really good but personally I think it's a waste of time. But, how else can I spend my time studying since I don't have a primary way of studying?

Instead of debating which of the above, I should make use of my time and study efficiently. But which is the most efficient way?

And then there's the different study method for different kind of subjects. I've realised over the years they come in a few main category.

Types of Study Method Required

1. The theories- Read read read and remember. Like Concrete Technology.

2. The thinking calculations- Put our brains on our pen and think as we try to do it. Like Maths.

3. The doing calculations- Basically it's just alot of numbers and steps to get an answer without really cracking any brain other than using plain memory. The more we do, the easier it comes naturally, they say. Like Concrete Design.

4. The thinking subjects. We use our brains to analyze and reason out an answer. Like Economics.

5. A mix of the above.

Eventually I picked myself back up and really push harder than ever before to grind out the grades lost during my year 2 endeavors in year 3, but I never really manage to pull the CGPA back up like in year 1 again. That caused me to lose out on a spot at their local uni and went back to my country to continue my studies.

The academic impact on my grades are there for all to see but the story behind it is hardly told. But I've always like to think the lesson learned from it is invaluable. Sometimes we fall once, pick ourselves back up and devise a fall proof plan which went on to become our core and fundamental guideline in this life, and better still our solid platform to jump to greatness. Like they say, failure brings us closer to success.

Roll the years and now I'm here in my room studying Economics. I have no previous education background in this and it's all new to me. I'm finding Economics very interesting, but I've found something about it more interesting: the way I'm studying.

Years later.. the evolution of studying

1. Go to class and listen 100% on what the lecturer have got to say.

2. Write whatever deemed important down on the book. Highlight it to make it nicer looking.

3. Go home and read though briefly what have been taught in class. The information might have been forgotten but the concept learned has become part of my thinking. Relearning the information would be easier.

4. Reading up in advance the chapters ahead of class.

5. Any term/concept can always be further research upon thanks to Google and the Internet. Everything is online. I was searching Monetary Policy then to Central Bank then to Fiat Money and Commodity Money. it's amazing how much we can learn nowadays if we want.

All in all this is just life's lesson of teaching us how to live and though I'm no beginner to it already, I've still a long way to go.

We all do too.

Because learning is a lifelong process. The answers to all our problems are inside us, we just need to find it with the help of questioning situations.


Jing said...

I am very bad at studying or preparing for exams too. I can only do well if I push myself extremely hard. But that's just so miserable. I am glad I don't need to do those exams anymore. Uhahaha.

Jordan said...

Me too, naturally. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, though right now as a student it's not a good thing either.

I'm trying to fix myself.