According to Merriam-Webster, study is the application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge.
Does this look familiar? I remember sitting just like this preparing for tests in school. But not always. My earliest memories of going to school and studying are from first grade. I would run in the house after school anxious to do my homework. Usually spelling. I loved spelling. It came easily to me. I remember we had a desk in the hallway where I happily sat every day writing my spelling words.
As I grew older and progressed through elementary school, things didn’t come quite so easily to me. But, I still loved school and usually got right to the studying at home for the numerous tests that Sister seemed to give almost daily. I didn’t quite have the same admiration for the study work I had once had, but I knew that if I didn’t do it I would spend the rest of the year in trouble. So, I studied.
Then high school hit. Wow! What was I thinking? I finally realized how easy elementary school was. Studying then was a piece of cake. Now I had totally new concepts to learn. Biology, Algebra, Math Analysis! I still don’t understand what Math Analysis is. I did figure out that I could expand my social life by belonging to study groups. A definite plus to studying. Unfortunately, you actually have to study to get the benefit from belonging to one. Oops!
It was at this time that I really began to dislike school. Well, that’s not exactly right. I loved school, just not the studying part of it. I did, however, trudge along and did graduate with a decent GPA and was accepted to college.
I didn’t want to go to college right away. I wanted to experience the world a little bit first. My parents didn’t see things the same way that I did. So, come August off I went to Community College. OMG! What a rude awakening.
Needless to say, I was not successful. I felt ill prepared for navigating through the copious amount of work needed to succeed. As I look back at it now, I realize that my perspective was skewed. I lasted about a year in college then dropped out. My parents were not very happy. So off to the workforce I went. I worked for Bell Telephone as a Directory Assistant. Talk about a boring job.
My success or lack of it had nothing to do with intelligence. It had more to do with my thinking. I looked at school, studying, as work. Not as an opportunity to obtain knowledge for knowledge’s sake. I had not yet learned that knowledge is power.
I married, had a family then decided I needed more. All of a sudden studying wasn’t such an obstacle for me. I attended nursing school. I soared. I realized that studying was a means for me to accomplish my dreams. I worked very hard. I ran study groups. I inspired younger students to work hard. I was having fun.
Throughout my career in nursing, I studied constantly. In medicine, there is always something new to learn. I couldn’t get enough. I guess you could say I was a late bloomer. I honestly think that maturity had more to do with my success than anything else. I honestly believe that all students should have to work a year before going to college. I think it brings a perspective that having an education handed to you does not. At least it would have for me. You can’t appreciate what you can have if you never go without it.
I continue to study. I read every day. Fiction, non-fiction, history, religion. I like to say that I never met a book I didn’t like. The difference now is that I look at study as a pleasure not work. Some days I am as giddy as that little first grader running into the house anxious to write my spelling words.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain