Now, I want to be honest up front: I started writing this, and almost stopped because I felt like such a hypocrite. Although I've been trying to improve, I am still so guilty of much I will be talking about here. Here's to self-improvement!
I feel like there’s a stigma around school, university/college especially.
What’s up with that?
School is so exciting! It’s a time where you’re around so many different types of people, all pursuing something slightly different.
*No, I am not being sarcastic and this is not a satirical article*
And yet….all we do is complain.
Now, we all complain, and that’s all fine and well, but it’s a problem when it becomes toxic complaining, which can very easily impede learning and enjoying school.
“The classroom is the marketplace of ideas” a professor once told us. And what an interesting idea that is! Much like coffee houses, colleges were once the place for students to congregate and discuss and exchange ideas. Now it just seems to be a dumping ground for complaints about going to school.
Don’t get me wrong, I fall into ruts of hating my classes, life, school, and everything in between. It’s so easy to complain, isn’t it? It’s much harder to analyze situations and ideas and talk to people about them, so what do we do instead? Complain about all our problems instead of analyzing our problems and trying to deal with situations.
We go to class and then complain about everything in the class afterward.
We have to change this cycle!
What is the point of drifting through college hating everything about it?
Now, while I still struggle with this, please bear with me as I attempt to throw some ideas out there.
I try to combat toxic school complaining of finding something I enjoy in each of my classes.
Yes, that’s right. Even if it’s a “The History of the Physics of Basket Weaving from Prehistoric to the Mid Harlem Renaissance section II 3400” class, there is something vastly intriguing about that class. Open your mind to the possibility of discovering a gem of joy in all of your classes!
Look for connections between your classes! There always are connections. Knowledge doesn’t exist in a vacuum. History relates to poetry, poetry relates to science, science relates to math, math relates to geology, geology relates to business. In one way or another. You might think I’m crazy, but if you looked deep enough you’d see I’m not crazy about this. I was learning about the Triangle Fire in history, and then the next hour reading the references to it in “Shirt” by Robert Pinsky for Poetry class! It all relates, guys!
How much more interesting school becomes when you begin to see connections between your classes. One time I was reading about some type of specific sword Vikings used, and how nobody today is able to reconstruct a sword like the ones they used to use. They had carbon nanotubes in them! I brought it up with my geology professor and we had a conversation about how sometimes carbon nanotubes exist naturally in nature. How cool, right?! And I wouldn’t have known that unless I had taken the extra step to bring that idea into the classroom!
In poetry class earlier this semester, the professor talked about how we need to become passionate and curious about a specific topic and read up all about it and let it become kind of like our hobby. Find something you’re passionate about and read up all about it, or pick something super random and become obsessed with it. I don’t know if you guys have heard of Blimey Cow from youtube, but one of the guys from it, Jordan Taylor, does this with random things. He might become obsessed with drawing comics one month, and then the next he’s researching all about one specific band. Find something that’s not school related and let it become a hobby. You’ll probably find yourself making connections between whatever your topic is and what you’re learning in school, too! It’s super important to have something other than school to think about, guys.
Sleep deprivation is not something to gloat about. I’ll probably make another whole article on the item of sleep deprivation culture and its overwhelming acceptance in our society because it’s a topic really worth looking into critically. Anyways, you will enjoy school—and life for that matter!!—if you’re going to school with a full night's rest. Work hard, rest hard, okay? Stop making people feel guilty or less-than or less serious about their education if they tell you they’ve actually had more than, like, 2 hours of sleep.
Find encouraging resources, like websites and youtube channels that offer College advice. I personally like http://noplacelikecollege.com/how-to-roommate/ Lots of practical and encouraging advice.
Find a community of people who want to get the most out of their time at college, too! Start by being a positive and encouraging person yourself! Making someone feel validated or encouraged is worth a few kind words.
Hope this has been encouraging!
Have you found yourself struggling with this problem? What have you been doing to combat it? I'd love to hear in the comments!