From Daily Prompt: “If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?”
I’d master the art of learning.
I believe that people can learn and master anything they want to so long as they go about it the right way, and so long as they immerse themselves in it for long enough.
During the final year of my degree, which I’ve been doing online, I have learned how to cram a great deal of information about a subject in a very short space of time; but I did it and got a 60% average.
I took the main text book and created a spreadsheet which I populated with a list of key words and their definitions, chapter by chapter. You see what I did there? I actively engaged with the text so that I took ownership of the knowledge, because I learn by reading and doing; lectures put me to sleep unless I’m writing stuff down.
The text book was filled with academic speak and definitions which didn’t always make sense; the authors knew what they meant but I didn’t, so I had to look up other definitions online and sometimes those led to other concepts which required defining as well. By exploring the concepts outlined in the textbook in this manner, and creating definitions which I could understand, I was able to commence each module of my degree with a sound foundation of knowledge which I was able to build on further by reading through various journals and other texts as necessary to complete assignments and time-constrained papers.
This principle could be applied to just about anything that I want to learn; in fact I just wrote notes about how I should master mathematics, languages and guitar playing. The common steps in all of the above are: –
- Get a textbook on the subject
- Create a spreadsheet and populate it with a list of key terms and definitions that I can understand
- Create flowcharts of processes (such as mathematical equations) or make notes on connections and patterns (such as the order of conjunctions, nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs in a language)
- Apply the knowledge in practice
If I could, I’d go back to when I was about ten years old and explain all of this to myself, then give myself a list of subjects to master. I’d give myself all the time in the world, but the ambition and focus to get it done.
I’d also explain to myself that as my knowledge built up, that I’d feel happier and have the confidence to keep going, increasing my mastery of that subject.