My Journey with Learning

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I don’t think anyone actually told me that school is for learning; I think it’s just what I assumed.  The teacher seemed to be the knower of all things and, at least in my experience, I was supposed to get my information from them.  That’s how learning was presented and my only job was to remember what I was told long enough to complete a test.  I was able to succeed in that educational environment and I thank my lucky stars for that.  My understanding of learning was one-dimensional and as a result, my understanding of education was one dimensional.

Without realizing it, I had put different elements of my life into boxes.  I had a box for school and a box for everything that wasn’t school.  I learned in the school box and that was it.  I didn’t think much further about it because I was doing well in school.  That thinking wasn’t really challenged until I went to university.

In my first year of university, I realized all of the learning I had been doing in the non-school box.  I also learned that all of that ‘non-school learning’ could be challenged.  Everyone from my professors to my friends gave me the opportunity to rethink my beliefs and values.  This was supremely difficult and a fear of being considered inferior initially caused me to retract from challenging conversations.  Ultimately, I knew that challenging previously unchecked opinions would make me the person I wanted to be.

Now, I see learning as being an act that is meant to better the human experience rather than information meant to be regurgitated.  There is nothing I love more than hearing opinions that differ from my own or gaining insight into the experiences of others.  I am in awe of the world and find wonder in the inter-connectedness of life.  My journey with learning is not over.  I hope to always be learning new skills, opinions, and theories.  I hope to always be able to surprise others and myself with what I am learning.  For my next post, I have been challenged to answer the question, “How do I contribute to student learning at Nipissing University?  I’m looking forward to exploring the answer and – spoiler alert! – I think it involves crocheting…