As students go back to school, I’ve been thinking about my own schooling. I was an okay student, but I’m a much better student now. I remember the smart kids from high school and wonder if life turned out great for them afterward or not. I wonder if they still attack life with the fervor they studied for tests then. Or I wonder if they burned out on learning while they were young.
I was always the kind of student who did enough just to get by. I didn’t have to study too hard, but I could usually pick up what was going on around me. Even today, I often list “quick” on my imaginary list of positive traits. I usually can “get” what people are talking about with a few clues. Of course, I have lots of negative traits too, but I’ve learned to balance them with my good traits.
It drives me crazy to be around people who seem to be absorbing things two, three, even ten times slower than me. By the time they’ve processed the implications of what’s being said, I’m on to other things. I hate having to go through instructions step by step and prefer getting the general idea instead. But I’m practicing patience.
In school catching on quickly served me well. I could spend half the time studying as that smart kids and do about three-quarters as well. As an underachiever, that was good enough. I would rather know an acre’s worth of stuff that was two inches deep, than an acre deep of something two inches wide.
Giving Up Being an Underachiever
But sometime after college, things changed. Now I I enjoy learning. And there are a lot of subjects that I really enjoy delving into. If I were to win the lottery, I have no doubt what I would do with the money. I would go back to school and take as many courses as I could.
I have met many people like me since I have left the formal school system. We gather around conference tables at schools that are closed to the real students at night. We learn a little of this and a little of that, sometimes in a few weeks, or just in a night or two.
Adult continuing education classes are filled with students like me. We didn’t realize we loved to learn until after our formal schooling was done. Hopefully schools are teaching kids differently today and taking their learning styles into account so it’s not so easy to “play” the system or get turned off by learning.
What about you? What have you learned about yourself since your formal schooling has ended?