Sometimes in life you feel stuck. Simple as that. Quite honestly, I feel as though I’ve been stuck for a long time. At least since high school, maybe even before that. As a student, I’ve always felt like I was simply average with grades in the B+/C- range for honors and AP classes (that’s a A+/B range for regular classes). It was never that I had difficulty learning — in fact, I never had trouble learning a new subject if left to my own devices. The struggle occurred whenever I had to complete masses of homework for the sole purpose of credit rather than retention or whenever all of my learning was dependent upon reading and recalling entire textbooks and novels.
Believe me when I say that I’ve tried to be the type of student who sits down for hours simply reading and taking notes on what I’ve read. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. You see, I never really knew how to study. Nobody ever taught me how. When I’ve asked successful students how they’ve managed to study, they all replied with the same unsatisfying response: “Read and reread until you’ve pretty much memorized things word for word.” I like sleep. At times I even love it. These people weren’t sleeping! Every morning at 8 a.m. I’d notice them napping in the library or walking like zombies in the quad. There just had to be a better way.
Only after 4 years of being out of high school did I realize why certain things I learned on my own were much more easily retained. It was never that I sat there constantly memorizing things. I’m much too lazy for that. If I can read something over once or twice and remember most of the main information, that’s good enough for me. It’s not that I’m too lazy to learn. I love learning. In fact, I spend hours every day doing my own research on various topics that I find interesting (psychology, physiology, linguistics, etc.). For whatever reason, my brain just made connections to this information differently than if I had been forced to learn it.
Starting from now, I’m going to begin approaching everything I learn in the same way that I learn about the topics that interest me. It’s going to be a long journey of trial and error.