This is what gets Smart Student’s in trouble…
There is learning for school and there is learning for life.
These are two different things. Schools hide that. They’ll tell you that what your learning in school will help you in life. And only sometimes are they being honest about it.
“When am I ever going to use Algebra in real life?” the student asks the teacher.
“Trust me! You’re going to use it!” the math teacher responds. (Being a math teacher, of course he thinks that.)
I’ve worked in a branch of engineering for 5 years. I may have used Algebra once… I suspect Calculus teachers would expect Calculus to be used. I certainly haven’t used that a single time. Sure… some folks around me have used it a few times a month but those are very specific positions (similar to being that math teacher.)
Of course! The guy that does something specific for a living obviously thinks that one specific thing is used frequently in life.
Keep in mind – I think math is awesome. I get pleasure from my knowledge of math. But it’s not necessarily something you’ll use often. It depends. For me – most of that learning was for school’s sake – not life.
Are you not into some particular subject? (You might HATE english or math.)
Odds are – you’re not going to use it too much in life. (That is assuming you’re past a middle school education. Early schooling – you’ll probably use it.)
That is because you will naturally make your decisions away from those subjects. If you’re not a fan of writing then you’ll choose your career path based on that. (You’re not going to be a writer.) If you’re not a fan of math, even if you go into engineering, over the years – you’re going to focus on the non-mathematical aspects of the job.
Learning every subject is good. It gives you more options for what you’re going to do in life. Writing may not be essential for certain jobs but it is always nice to know you can do it well.
That’s why I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the traditional way people talk about high school and college. (That and the fact that some of the most successful people I know haven’t been successful students.)
I genuinely agree that school is about preparing for life – but it’s not in the way you think.
Your time in school is very similar to life. (Real life is more fun though.)
There are rules that you’re *supposed to* follow. And then there are the things people say about those rules.
Like the rule:
You should study a lot.
Comes with the thing people say:
Studying can prepare you for life.
Are they both true?
Kind of… but they’re not completely true.
Some of the highest scoring students I know study the least. They’ve found better and faster ways to learn.
And some of the best students I’ve met have – unfortunately – kind of screwed up in life. They got straight A’s just to cook in fast food restaurants paying down tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.
But there is still truth here –
Your goal is to find that truth for yourself.
I can’t even straight up tell you it because most of the most important things you can learn from school can’t be taught.
I can tell you:
You shouldn’t worry about study time – just study effectiveness.
Studying can teach you some skills that you can use later in life.
But the sentences are almost meaningless. They’re just fluff that you might think you understand but unless you already learned them – you can’t really get in the same way as you’ll need to.
Experience is how you turn words you’ve memorized into an internal philosophy.
It’s not about school. It’s about life.
But school is very similar to life. Learning to play the game of school while having fun also teaches you how to play the game of life while having fun.
And maybe it’s just me but –
School is a killer training ground for life because it will push you harder than life possibly could. School has social pressures (with similarly hormonal ages.) School has punishments and orders to follow. School has direct critiques of your work without the sugar coating. School can’t be quit whenever you want. In many ways, school kinda’ sucks.
But if you can learn to master school while enjoying the process – then life… life is just easy.
There are “tricks” to making school easier to do well in. I say “tricks” because they look and feel like tricks because they’re so easy. At the end of the day, it can feel like you’re doing something wrong because you’re not suffering for your good results. But it’s just following the rules. In fact, most of the time it’s just following those rules better than the students around you.
They’re strategies that most students never learn. In some ways, that’s good for you because, if everyone knew them, the teachers would be forced to make the class harder. (Ever heard of grade inflation? Teachers are actually making classes easier because most students are learning with the wrong strategies more than ever.) Since you’re one of the few people using these strategies, your life is just getting easier.
My personal favorite resource for students is this audiobook package. I know… I’m totally biased but I bet when you complete it – you’ll be biased towards it too.
And summer happens to be a great time to focus on this kind of stuff.
P.S. Big thank you to everyone that filled out the survey. I’m going to do my best to learn a couple things so I can provide better for you.
Take This Advice From A Harvard Grad
“Find your tribe. Quickly.”
That is the first piece of advice he gave to other students going to Harvard.
It’s deeper advice than it sounds.
The people you surround yourself with can make or break your academic experience.
Smart Student Secrets is a tribe and a great place for you to start.