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August 5, 2005

Do you want to be a better student?

Iíve looked into ways to make myself a better student. Believe me, after living what seems like an entire life already, I need some help in the area of studying and learning. One of my favorite sayings is still, ďOne is taught in accordance with oneís ability to learn.Ē I thought to improve my learning capabilities I had do things like improve my reading skills and learn to take better notes. Those are helpful definitely, but not the total solution. They are part of the tools employed by the overall person. Some people think that they need the latest laptop or organizer or some other high tech gadget to be a better student. Those are helpful tools for many people. But they have to be used in order to be helpful.
I discovered a long time ago the relationship between the amount of time I put into things and my ability to learn. I learned how to take better notes but it didnít help me on my tests until I realized I wasnít putting in enough time studying and filling in my brain.
Do you want to be a better student? Thatís an admirable goal. Thatís something that can happen in the future right? We look to the other shore and try to figure out how to cross the river. But the secret to being a better student is not in reaching the other shore, but in realizing the other shore is here, now, as an awareness and state of being a better student.
Last night in the group ride Charlie talked to me about bike racing. He said that Ďsomething happensí by doing bike races. A lot of being able to give it our all and sustain it is a mental condition that cannot be reached by planning on doing bike races or training for them. In other words I cannot reach the other shore without being a bike racer.
When I look at how Iíve changed over the years, I realize that change never happened to me by continuously trying to reach the other shore. I had to implement the change for it to become part of my being. Itís tortuous sometimes. Like when I quit smoking. That was a serious addiction. I smoked probably for over 15 years, I donít even remember now. I tried many times to quit and failed. Quitting smoking is an admirable goal but to realize it, I had to actually be on the other shore now, not smoking. I knew that for lasting change, where I would never smoke again, I had to remove the addiction, not just remove the cigarettes. I had to be in a state of being where I was a non-smoker. Now I can smell cigarettes and donít crave them. I donít remember smoking as Ďenjoyable, wishing I had one, but thinking that I shouldnít, lest I start smoking all over again.í I remember me being a smoker, but that is not who I am now. I am a non-smoker that has no need or desire for cigarettes. The other shore is not the past or the future, but it is my life now.
I want to change myself into a morning person, so I have to be a morning person. I get up at 6am, granted itís only 4 days now, but I canít be a morning person without Ďbeingí a morning person, if that makes sense.
I want to be an athlete, but I canít do that without thinking and training like an athlete, and without competing like an athlete. My lifestyle is changing because Iím doing and living it. It has to change. There is no other option because Iím already on the other shore. Iím not rowing some boat across the river just to get to the other side. Once I get there, then what? Do I stop trying to get there? I cannot be it without being it.
I want to be a better student so I have to look at my ability to learn. I have to look at the excuses I make for not learning and not being a better student now. When I was in college in 1985, I thought I wasnít a good student because I wasnít living on campus surrounded by other students and the student community. But it was an excuse. I wasnít studying and putting in the time to learn things properly. I thought that not having a word processor was stopping me from being a better writer of papers. But I wasnít writing. Being a good writer is not dependent on the technology, but on how we think about things.
I told this story before, but it fits in this situation. One of my German teachers got fed up with my lack of learning progress, and told me that I should look at a different career because I might not have the capability to go further. She was right. I did not have the ability to learn because I was not being a student. I was looking at the other shore as if I wanted to be there, but didnít have the right boat and didnít think Iíd ever have the right boat. But the other day a nice German man from Frankfurt came into the bike shop and I had a great conversation with him in German. He said my German was perfect (though he was probably being polite). But we did have a conversation in German. The other shore is our life now. Change in our life comes into being when the changes are implemented not by looking into the future and wanting it to be so.
I am a non-smoker. I am a better student than I was 20 years ago. I speak German, Korean and Russian with complete strangers and they are no longer strangers and neither is their language to me. It is my language I am using now to communicate with another human being. I am a better athlete than I was last year. I am more of a morning person than I was a week ago. I am living it and change happens as a result.
We can be better students by being students and learning.

Posted by carl1236 at August 5, 2005 8:36 AM | CHANGE


That is such a great way of thinking! It truly is...I always relate to being a non-smoker now that I no longer smoke, but I still see myself as a non-student and as if I'll never again be a student, and therefore learning is very difficult for me. I think I need to just think in terms of being a student of life, in which case one is ALWAYS open to learning. I will try to use this technique to help me come September when I start second year Russian!!! YAY :)

Posted by: rr at August 6, 2005 11:33 PM

at present i am study the b.sc in electrical engg.resently i am finished the diploma in computer engg.please suggest me,i am develop the bater side software & network .

Posted by: rasel at September 23, 2006 8:23 AM