One of my friends in college had what I call a near-photographic memory. For him, studying meant listening real well in class and reading the text once or twice. That was it. No hard laboring over pages of notes, no repeated attempts to remember lists of things – just reading and listening.
I, on the other hand, am quite the stubborn learner; my mind is easily distracted, and I don’t have the span of attention that enables me to keep my mind on the material for a great length of time. For me, learning means taking a lot of breaks, walking around, and tapping my feet. I guess I’m what you’d call a nervous learner. It seems like I have to get it the hard way. But that’s okay.
There are a few advantages for us nervous learners. For us, learning is more kinesthetic: we tend to dance with the material, mess around with it, wear it. We struggle to get the material in our heads, but once there it takes on a colorful existence and becomes part of our being. I think that we nervous learners have a great deal of pride in the knowledge we’ve acquired; it’s just such a damn struggle to get it that we tend to celebrate when we finally do capture an idea or a principle. For us, knowledge is terribly meaningful, and we have the battle scars to prove it.
In college a lot of students went to the library to study. Not me. I couldn’t stand the place. It was too quiet and still, and to me it was depressing. My study choice was to stay at home and read on the sofa – ever ready turn on the television or light up a cigarette and take that needed break.
Day 10 Guide
What sort of learner are you? Does knowledge acquisition come easily, or is it a painful struggle? Whatever the case, be satisfied with your natural learning style and work within that. For many of us, struggling is a natural part of learning. Consider it a dance and remember that once you get it, you’ll wear it like a fine robe.
© 2005, Levi Hill