What University Taught Me: Studying

I feel like it’s been ages since I last wrote (which, it kind of is but not really at the same time). It’s really a shame because there’s so many things to write about and yet the sloth part of me is like ah but won’t it be better to just waste time on the Internet instead? (The correct answer to that is NO). So I apologize readers for not keeping up with my writing.

I wanted to talk a bit about the curious act that is studying. I know, I know, I said that I’d write about money for my next What University Taught Me post, but I feel like I can write about this more. In fact, rather than declaring my next topic for the series, I’ll just go off what I’m feeling, just to keep readers on their toes~

*Just as a preface, this post will most likely be a bit scatterbrained but let’s just see where this path down the rabbit hole will take us~*

Studying. It immediately makes me think of someone surrounded by mountains of books, buried in essays and projects and lab reports. Doesn’t sound like much fun, eh? But we do it, trailing our heels in the mud, crawling onward only because we have to. But do we?- Is it all a scheme that society has thrown upon us, tying us to some massive burden like Sisyphus, the Greek king doomed to roll up a heavy rock for eternity?

Or perhaps have we come to distort was studying is?

Let’s look up the etymology to see what that’ll present us…In the twelfth century, study meant “to strive toward, devote oneself to, cultivate” (translating Latin occupatur). A century later, this moulded to mean “to study, apply oneself, show zeal for; examine” (13c., Modern French étudier). And interestingly enough, from Medieval Latin it originally meant “eagerness”.

…say what?! That’s right, friends, studying actually used to mean eagerness. So what happened in between to make us despise it so?-

I think a part of it is not liking what you’re studying. For me, that’d have to be chemistry. I don’t like chemistry, it give me a headache, and this past week I procrastinated a lot for it and avoided it like the plague. But still, I have to do it. I’m actually backlogged on chemistry because of my intense dislike of the topic.

But today when I finally picked up my book and notes, I saw a glimmer of hope. This isn’t to say that I got a revelation to become a chemist and go on to win the Nobel prize for chemistry, but rather that I saw a way to understand and get it. I’ve accepted that I don’t understand chemistry as easily as others do, but that isn’t to say that I can’t at least do well in the class. Granted, I’ll have to work a bit harder to see how everything connects and perhaps read a bit more and practice more than usual, but there is a way.

And the mere fact that I can understand it gave me, yes, a sense of eagerness. It’s thrilling to finally get something, to finally understand something. There’s a sense of satisfaction when you can look at something and say that you understand it backwards and forwards. And I think this is what studying is supposed to be: the eagerness that comes from being able to understand something new, even if it’s something you don’t necessarily like.

I’m just hoping that this eagerness will push me onward in my studies overall. Because let’s be honest, studying seriously sucks when you’re too busy contemplating your major or wishing you were doing something else. If we have to study, we might as well do it the best we can. It reminds me of something from the book Tuesdays with Morrie (which I highly recommend by the way). In the book, Morrie was dying but everyday he had an air of calm. He said he was able to do this because when he needed to anguish over his dying, he did it wholeheartedly to get it out of his system. Then after he was done grieving, he moved on from his feelings and pushed on to what had to be done.

So okay, I don’t like chemistry. I don’t think I’m meant for engineering. I think I’ve wallowed in these two thoughts for long enough, so like Morrie I need to wake up and do what needs to be done. Regardless of what happens in a month or two, I’m still a student enrolled in biomedical engineering, so I better do the best I can.

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2 thoughts on “What University Taught Me: Studying

  1. I;m not on the path to become a biomedical engineer, but your struggle with chemistry is so like my own. Thank you for sharing this! Gives me hope

    • I’m glad to hear that I inspired you someway 🙂 That’s ultimately what I wanted my blog to do, so thank you for sharing this! And YOU CAN DO IT I’LL BE CHEERING FOR YOU TOO 😀

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