Let’s Learn to Learn

Hack - East Lansing, Michigan
Entered on November 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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The moment we first inhaled, we learned to breathe. The moment we first learned to chew, we learned to eat. The moment we learned to read, we learned to build our knowledge. Learning is a subtle yet powerful process of our lives. We learn something new every day, and sometimes we do not even notice what we learned. Why am I putting so much emphasis on learning? I believe a dedication to learning bestows us satisfaction in overcoming obstacles.

Learning requires more than just mental concentration: it requires commitment. We might study hours and hours on a list of neurological terms, and we might earn an A on the exam, but will we retain those terms forever? No. We would easily learn to forget – the simplest learning of all – because we did not make a commitment to ourselves. What we must learn is to learn to remember. Forget about the percentage that determines our grade. What matters is the knowledge we embrace by learning.

The fundamental process of learning is to pass knowledge from one generation to the next, so we may continue the cycle. As a society, we build our civilization upon learning. If people did not learn, there would be no literature, technology, culture, or even humanity itself.

However, with the many influences from society, we have veered away from learning. How then should we commit to learning? It is time to isolate ourselves from society and intertwine with nature. I recall when I was a freshman I had to study for my final exam; I took my study materials, went outside and situated myself under my tree, and learned to perform calculus. Being outdoors and mingling with the grass massaging my feet, the tree’s branches providing a shade to my eyes, and the soothing fresh air, I was easily soothed to learn my math. Yet, out of this relaxing experience, I felt elated about the subject – a subject I disliked and was dreadful at. This contentment transformed me into a mathematic lunatic I am today. Why? It was the pleasure in overcoming a huge obstacle and gaining the satisfaction which lead to my happiness.

In overcoming an obstacle, we gain a new perspective. We face a mental comprehension that previously we could not have been able to dream of. With the knowledge, we can surmount a greater difficulty while retaining the sense of satisfaction and knowledge.

We too are part of nature. We emulate the natural order of the universe, and commitment is a natural process to seek. Therefore, if we let go of technology – only briefly – we find the tranquility within ourselves to dedicate our minds which leads to learning. This is the first start to learning. Let’s learn to learn.