For the love of learning

Rebecca Cross, Managing Editor

This semester, I’m taking my final science class. Ever. For a girl who loves language and cringes at the sight of chemical equations, this is liberating. I was counting down the days to freedom on the first day of lecture and crossing out each lab in dark, black ink after completion.

I can tell that other students in my class share my struggle by the groans and remarks they make when our professor chooses to keep us in lecture or lab for the full time allotted.

“You know,” my professor told the class one day, “You’re paying for my time teaching, so you might as well learn something.”

Learn something? Usually when it comes to science, all I can think about is the end result: one more box checked off on my degree audit. But if I’m being honest with myself, I do that in so many other classes and school-related experiences as well.

I’m taking this class so that I can finish my general education requirements, so that I can focus on and ace classes related to my major, so that I can get a good internship, so that I can get a good job, so that I can be successful and happy.

I get lost in the “so thats” that I miss the real reason I came to college: to learn.

These four years are a special time. A time I’m not going to get back. I have the opportunity to gain knowledge from people who are experts in their field of study, and whether that’s chemistry or public relations, I shouldn’t squander my time spent learning from them.

Just because I’m not a fan of science doesn’t mean that science isn’t important. Instead of a goal of passing the class, my new goal is to learn.

It sounds simple, but when you change your motive, the “so thats” automatically fall into place. If I love to learn, I will pass chemistry class, I will be able to focus on classes related to my major, I will be more likely to get a good internship and have a successful career.

Students, myself included, so easily focus on what their education can do for them. We often think that we have arrived at the mountaintop of learning or that if we don’t understand a subject it’s not important enough to ponder.

When I think about it, it’s selfish. I want to learn because life is beautifully complex and worth my concentration. There are seven billion people in the world each with varying backgrounds and perspectives on life, around 6,500 different languages spoken and a planet filled with unique flora and fauna.

To think that I have begun to scrape the surface of learning is foolish. To recognize that I have much to learn and live in a beautiful, complex world worth exploring is wise.

I’ll always favor penning a sentence to balancing a chemical equation, but during the final weeks of chemistry class, I’m going to forget about the “so thats” and focus on the opportunity to learn about the microscopic world.