The First Post:
Right, here goes, the first post in blog section of my new site. As of yet I have no idea what the tone of this blog will be, nor am decided on what content it will deal with, but I guess starting off aimlessly is better than not starting off at all. I’ve exaggerated a bit, I have sort of a direction for this blog. I’m going to be posting a selection of entries on the LEAP (UBC’s academic resources site) and those posts are going to have an academic focus. If I do run out of time for regular posting, then that might be the whole focus of this blog, but hopefully once I get into the swing of things I will have other more interesting tidbits to write here.
Ok, on to the main topic of this post… do it yourself learning (starting with the whole academic theme right…)
Teaching yourself to do something is so much harder than having someone else teach it to you. I never used to think that, I was always one of the people who sat in class going “I really don’t need to hear some idiot regurgitate the textbook to me”, or grumbling “why do I have to do his silly assignments… I could make much better ones”. I was wrong! The thing is, the difficulty doesn’t lie in understanding…no, no, no… The difficulty lies in motivation.
I guess the problem is that we like to be able to do interesting things. Advanced genetic research is cool… you could spend hours doing it out of your own enjoyment (or is it just me?) However, in order to do advanced genetic research you have to know all about how genes work. To know about how genes work you need to become familiar with them. Just reading that A and T nucleotides match (I’m not even sure if that is right) is not enough, you will forget it. Thus you have to do examples, matching A and T nucleotides yourself. That is a very, very boring exercise. It’s hard enough to do when you have it on an assignment, or have to do it on an exam… but doing it without those incentives… approaches impossibility.
Ok, so what to do? If it approaches impossibility (Ok, Ok, I know that is a bit of hyperbole… but it’s still very hard) how do we learn anything by ourselves. I guess the way that I have found most helpful is to do the teacher’s job first. Don’t start by just trying to learn something… create a syllabus. Include a timeline, assignments and big projects. Make it look all formal and stick to it. I know it takes a bit of extra work, but if you think it is really important to pick up that skill, then it’s worth it.
Cheers for now,