This is an import from an old myspace blog since I’m getting rid of my account so it should soon be joined by more old ideas and rants.
A friend of mine asked me how I handled scholastic learning and some advice and he was very appreciative so I thought maybe other people might benefit. This is just a quick introspective glance at myself that took maybe five minutes to write so maybe I will add to it in the future.
The key to my ability to learn is that I hit things from a two pronged approach. One is rote memorization in which I write down whatever I want to learn and I say whatever I’m learning in my head. With this I make cheat sheets of key data so I repeat the data and have to think about fitting the data onto the sheet.
Second and more importantly I engage in a creative linking of concepts to each other developing a relative framework in which new data just needs to be fitted in and the whole framework is adaptive to the new data. For complex subjects it is absolutely important to have this basic understanding for me because without the basics I don’t know how to connect things together and it’s meaningless.
As far as studying goes I read the material then if it is difficult I go to the key areas and try to distill the key concepts and rewrite them in my own words.
During lectures I almost never take notes. That way I can pay full attention to what the teacher is saying in order to better grasp the concepts versus knowing details which can be picked up by going to Wikipedia or other online resources. It often helps to compare explanations from many different sources for fact checking purposes and sometimes if you have a block a fresh perspective can sidestep your learning issue.
I think that often the individual may be causing the block because you believe it is true for whatever reason. Maybe you’ve been told the subject is very hard so you subconsciously are making it harder on yourself than necessary.
I also meditate and imagine key concepts as images that float around me visualizing how they connect to each other and how and what that connection means. Visualization is key to higher order thinking.
I use music and a moderately dynamic environment (coffee shop) to enter into a somewhat hypnotic state of total focus in which I’m almost unaware of my body.
I also number key concepts sometimes.
Usually I don’t work this hard and things just click upon reading of material, lecture, and a little online searching:)