Ever wondered why you forget such big parts of what you allegedly learned? Ever wondered why so many hours of hard “study” end up in a good grade in the near future and almost 0 knowledge in the long run? Well that’s because learning is not the accurate term for what we devote so many hours to, but rather memorizing.
Learning means passing the information through the judgement filter, forming logical chains with what you already know and subjecting the information to thorough queries, only then rendering you knowledgeable. Being thus does not mean assimilating tons of data, empty information, but rather being able to link broken pieces of information and form an answer solely aided by your reason. Who is “smarter” between one who knows all the answers because he has memorized them and one who is able to deduce the answers by accurate reasoning? We should not act like walking encyclopedias, but rather judge for ourselves what is worth knowing and how to know it (that is to say genuinely understand it or solely place it on a shelf in our memory, ready to boast with our unlimited “Knowledge”).
That brings me to another common belief that is utterly preposterous and groundless, meaning the importance of ‘general knowledge’ over anything else. Indeed, it is crucial for us to have a minimum level of understanding as regards to all subjects, so as to understand the world we live in and find our way about. There is no problem with the concept in itself, but rather with the fact that we mistake having a broad general knowledge for being intelligent. And that is precisely what most of the people strive to attain by improving their general knowledge. One does not learn things for himself, to know how he came about and how the world evolved, but rather to brag to others about his ‘ingenuity’.
So what can we do to solve these problems?
1. Learn for yourself!
Perhaps this is the most important of all possible advice, given that the reasons you have for learning a certain thing affect the whole learning process. When it is done because you want to seem clever or for another goal that is not related in any way to the pleasure of learning the process won’t obviously be fruitful in the long run. On the other hand when you do it out of true passion and curiosity the information seems to enter your mind by itself, and you’re subsequently not wasting your time.
2.Understand what you learn!
Don’t solely memorize the data, for it has minimal chances to resist after having served its purpose. Whenever a sentence does not make sense, don’t just skip it, but analyse it word for word. Indeed it might take longer, but your satisfaction will be bigger when you actually understand what you have learned and you have put in some considerable effort. It is amazingly difficult to change your studying methods after having gotten used to a certain way, but it is well worth it! After some time of analyzing each sentence everything will come naturally. Only thus the learning activity has sense, otherwise we have countless sources to aid us in the particular moment we need the information anyway (I’m referring to real life matters, not exams).
3. Find a way to make it appealing
Now it is true that we will undoubtedly have at some point to learn something we have no desire to (which is rather the problem of the educational system in general, not of particular people), so we’ll have to make do somehow. No matter how horrendous a subject might seem to you, if you set aside your repulsion for a minute you might actually find some interesting things. When you are fascinated by some details, cling to them and even if you only remembered a thing or two from the whole chapter you are still a winner. After all it is for our inner selves we learn first of all, and only then to meet the requirements of the society.