|My summer reading list. Ambitious? Perhaps :-).|
But that is what happens, the structure of school, particularly universities, is educationally confining. Our education becomes limited to the subject of the classes we are attending. While we’re in school we are in a learning environment that keeps us focused on projects, exams, grades, leaving us with no time to really explore and expand. All our time is spent on fulfilling a syllabus. And when we’re outside of the classroom and not doing homework we’re so mentally exhausted many of us are more inclined to engage in activities that are mentally relaxing rather than stimulating.
As such, I love to spend my summers learning outside of the classroom and doing projects that are not related to my studies at school. It helps me stay rounded.
Staying rounded is key. I have found that people try to confine you to one field of interest. If you put effort in another area they try to make it “either/or.”
“So what do you really want to do?”
“Oh, well maybe that’s your interest and not this!”
“You lack direction.”
Any of these sound familiar? They’re the kind of statements people make when you show you have varied interests. I spoke more about this in a previous post, Losing Focus.
The most difficult part of maintaining varied interests however is time. This is why when I’m off school my learning shifts into overdrive. My self-education is varied and intuitive. I actively seek out information and learning through a wide variety of avenues, I set challenges and goals for my own creative production (because you also learn by doing) and I don’t let myself get bored or complacent. I’ve found that having wide interests and devoting time and effort into learning “outside” of my field doesn’t take away from my so called career. In fact it helps me to understand what I learn in school within context of a much bigger picture. That’s important. How can you see the big picture if you don’t actually look at other parts of the picture?
Expanding your mind is exactly that, expanding. You don’t expand your mind by getting high. You expand it by learning, experiencing new things, and by discussing ideas to get different perspectives. If your learning ends with your formal education it is time to upgrade. Go out there and expand your mind. Take some control of your education by learning outside of the classroom. Be your own schoolmaster. Your entire world expands when your mind does.
Photo by Kelene Blake