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…