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The Importance of Learning (Something … Anything)

August 5, 2011 4 comments
I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand.
Confucius
Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC – 479 BC)

 

Today, I’d like to take a moment to impart –what I believe to be– a slice of axiomatic wisdom.  When it comes to education, too often do we find ourselves being shoved through the ‘hoops’, like a cluster of mindless drones.  Whether we like it or not, we are expected, from a very young age, to partake, and to complete, a highly structured scholastic curriculum.  This system, in and of itself, is fine and dandy; my primary quibble, is how we are expected to learn from said curriculum.

 

To understand something, one needs to go beyond the superficial aspects (ie: purely memorizing).

 

For example, many science classes stress upon the rote memorization of facts, figures, and equations.  Success in the classroom, therefore, depends upon one’s ability to digest, and ultimately, to regurgitate these snippets of information.  But do we actually learn anything from this process?  I am one to believe that we frequently pay too much attention to the superfluous details.  As a consequence, we fail to understand the big picture; the grand scheme of things.  In other words, we cannot see the forest for the trees.  (The true beauty of science is not found in the names, dates, or equations themselves.  The true beauty is found when we come to realize how and why these equations, theories, etc. seem to be important to humanity as a whole) Continue Reading >>

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The Importance of Scheduling

July 23, 2011 1 comment

Ahh yes, the almighty calendar.  Both a blessing and a curse.  Since its inception, it has provided people with the ability to peer into the future; to map out the days, months, and even years ahead.  It supplies us with an ever-present backbone of rigidity in which we can use to successfully meander through our hectic lives.

On the flip-side, it is this very rigidity that, at times, constricts us.  An inflexible calendar, much like an inflexible backbone, does not allow for much spontaneity, does it?  Henceforth, we must strike a balance between the two.  An ideal schedule ought to contain a certain degree of rigidness, coupled with an element of plasticity!  Who’s with me?!  …  Just me?! .. Ummm, yeah, well .. I’ll just carry on then …

Anyways, all verbosity aside, today’s post is going to focus on none other than my (frenetic) first year timetable.  You should note that: I was given full reign over the construction of my schedule.  The times of the courses, and even the courses themselves were selected solely by moi (at the end of grade 12).  Looking back at my decisions, I can safely ask myself: “What was I thinking?!”  It appears as though I was attempting to brew the perfect recipe for disaster … I mean, who in their right mind would select only morning labs?  *You will see exactly what I’m referring to in the images below. 

 

This was my Fall 2009 Schedule ... Ain't it a beaut'?

 

This was my Winter 2010 Schedule. Whose lame-brained idea was it to choose three 8:00 a.m. labs? Oh yeah, it was my idea.

 

Now that you’ve witnessed this menacing monstrosity with your own eyes, let’s begin with our analysis.  Before I go on any further, however, I have to point out that I’m not particularly a morning person.  I would very much prefer to sleep late than to wake up early.  (I know quite a few people who are entirely opposite!  Go figure!) Continue Reading >>

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

July 1, 2011 4 comments

Although the saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” may seem trite and clichéd, I do believe that it is true.  I mean, an activity that comprises one third of our entire lives must have at least some merit to it!  Despite the ever fervent debates in the scientific community about the nature and purpose of sleep, most scientists will agree that humans need it in order to function efficiently and effectively throughout the day (or night for that matter).  Simply put, monophasic sleep is a paramount portion of our natural circadian cycles; something that has been ingrained within our evolutionary history for many millions of years.

 

Our natural biological clocks don't take lightly to attempts at circumvention.

 

You would think that, being the educated bunch that we are, we would know by now that a good night’s sleep is just something too important to pass up on.  This, unfortunately, is not the case.  Many people that I come in contact with, whether it be at school or elsewhere, seem to be lacking a fair amount of shut-eye.  In fact, it’s all too common to find people nodding off in class, on the bus, on a bench, etc.  Granted, the majority of us have very busy lives; busy to the point that we have to constantly put sleep to the wayside in favor of more stimulating activities such as studying, work, etc.  Incidentally, this is when ‘sleep-debt’ multiplies and grows until it becomes too taxing for us to handle.  Hence why we occasionally end up seeking slumber in the most unorthodox of places.  This is merely nature’s way of helping us deal with the inevitable (nature cannot be beaten!) Continue Reading >>