I’m not sure whether this list entry was prompted by four of the most interesting classes I’ve taken at Davis all occurring simultaneously or whether it was because of my embarrassing realization that I had never before completed every word of reading assigned to me during the week it was assigned.
Whatever the reason, I decided that, as it was the first week of a new quarter, in a new year, I was going to conduct a scientific experiment. I would read every word I was assigned, print out all the slides, take notes, refrain from using my phone during class, and actually engage myself in my pursuit of higher learning.
Let’s jump to the results page of my one-woman study. I LEARNED THINGS!
For example, the dosages on the back of over-the-counter medications are based on the “average male” (approx. 180 pounds and 5 feet 8 inches). If you are an average female, or a not so average male, the recommended dosage could be wrong for you!
I learned that while approximately 66 percent of the population believes that religion is important in life, only 26 percent of clinical psychologists believe the same, creating an interesting discrepancy between patient and doctor belief systems; that the first musical instruments date back tens of thousands of years; and that a flight attendant once thought my Psychology of Religion professor was Gary Sinese.
I also confirmed some things I already suspected. I don’t like tests, particularly multiple choice; I do like to discover new pieces of trivia; I get a weird thrill out of seeing how parts of history overlap and intertwine in ways I had not thought possible; and I have a penchant for writing down quotes from my professors that I think are worth remembering.
In short, I discovered I like learning.
DISCLAIMER: As a psychology major who has taken numerous classes examining what makes a particular study valid, I must confess this research I have done has significant “scientific” flaws. For example, the sample size is a little on the small side, and there are some extenuating factors that need to be considered. I am now a senior, so I am more skilled at picking interesting classes than I was 3 years ago. Add to that the fact that upper division classes are more specified in their topics, which often make them more interesting (lower classmen, don’t lose hope).
Scientific concerns aside, the main thing I learned is that learning can be enjoyable, fun, and satisfying. And there is the additional benefit of the sense of accomplishment I got when I completed all of my reading, which made me even more connected to my classes because I had a better command of the material. But, everything else aside, I’d just like to put this out there…I maintain that if my classes were taught in song, I would remember everything I ever learned (after all, I still know all the words to every Spice Girls song from when I was a preteen). Perhaps professors with vocal backgrounds should have an advantage?
I realize things will get more complicated as the quarter wears on, but I will try to continue to attack the quarter head on, highlighter in hand, and strive to enjoy every moment of class I can. I’m sure there will be some days when going to class will seem like a root canal. I know a time will come when I’ll have three papers due in one week, and reading my textbooks will not seem as enticing as the thought of throwing them out the window. But at this point, I’m excited about discovering what’s next, and that is enough motivation for now.
EMILY KAPLAN is pleased to have sparked such debate about the Slanket and agrees with Jon Gold about the Slanket website. Perhaps next week she’ll find another invention worth mentioning. If you have any suggestions for her, please e-mail her at email@example.com.