I started taking 2 online classes through Covenant Theological Seminary – my first taste of legitimate academic learning in almost 3 years. I thought I’d share a few of my reflections over the past semester.
- I’m motivated by me. At the beginning of the semester I was excited and motivated to start taking classes again. But two weeks into the semester I amazed myself at how many excuses I came up with to get myself out of reading something for my class, “Well I already read for an hour, so I deserve a break”, or “I need to mow the grass/clean the bathroom/fold the laundry/take a nap first, and then I’ll get to my reading.” It’s not that I didn’t have any motivation, just that it was in the wrong place. I worked extremely hard to make sure that I got enough study breaks and naps in over the course of this semester. Funny how motivated I was to make sure I was comfortable, but not so motivated when it came to school work.
- Procrastination doesn’t work. I didn’t start studying for one of my mid-terms until two days before the test. In fact, I only studied for a day and a half because I didn’t think I could remember anything else after cramming half a semester’s work into my dome in 15ish hours. I took the test a day early and not surprisingly I bombed it. Even worse, to this day I hardly remember anything I studied over those two days. It’s obvious I was cramming only for the grade (more on that to come).
- Hard work is very rewarding. By the end of the semester I learned my lesson about procrastinating. In that same class I started studying for a few hours each day about a week before the final. I didn’t allow myself to make any excuses whatsoever and although at the time I wished life would have been a little more comfortable, easy, less stressful, now I am so thankful I made those sacrifices. I did really well on my exam and all the hard work paid off.
- Learning for the sake of learning is the way to go. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned (and will continue to learn for the rest of my life) is that the most important thing is learning simply for learning’s sake. In my aforementioned mid-term, I studied simply to get a good grade and move on. I remember absolutely nothing from what I studied. What good did that get me? Lots of stressful cramming and nothing to show for it (I’m sure you all can relate on some level). During my final, however, I focused more on learning and understanding the material over getting the good grade, and I got both!
Wrapping it up I’d ask you this question: Why are you learning? Why are you studying? Is it simply for the status that comes from getting a great GPA? If that’s the case, what are you going to do once you get out of college and start a job? Learning primarily for the grade is short lived and doesn’t deliver on it’s promises. Learning primarily for learning’s sake has long term benefits and increases our knowledge and wisdom. Like it says in Proverbs 1:7–the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.