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  • Writer's pictureElisha Bae

Why I Study



A friend of mine told me that she was questioning the fundamental aspect of what makes us students: studying. This is my story.


Why do you study?

- First and foremost, my most basic drive for studying is the passion I have for the subject. Although I don't have a subject that I hate, some subjects are just intrinsically more intriguing for me. This is enough to motivate me to delve deeper into the pursuit of knowledge within the subject.


- Even when I was younger, I could never cope with any external motivation (e.g. my mom, teachers) forcing me to study. I would pretend, but I didn't get the work done, either. So it was really important for me to find ways to keep myself interested in the things we were learning, as all of my work depended on that.


- I think quite a lot of people will be surprised to know that I don't study for hours and hours. I know I have a 'focus duration' of about two to three hours and then I'll need to take a break for about an hour or so. Even after that, my concentration level won't be as good as the first session of studies. So I try to make sure all the very important studies are done in the morning. I've learnt ways to use my time efficiently to study in my Study Smart course during the Stanford Summer Session and it's proven to reduce the hassle.


- My definition of academic success... is hardly tangible. Sure, I do love getting a certificate to recognise my efforts. I think of my academic success in terms of how much of that information I can pass on to others. If I can help out a friend who's struggling with the concept, that's my definition of success. This is something that I can do even now as a student, so this counts as a real driver, too. It's also a reason why I want to take on a career in teaching.


Other thoughts on studying

- In our society, people are age are asked/encouraged to study because it will open up more opportunities in the future. I'm not just talking career-wise; thanks to the fact that I started learning English at a young age, I can now easily create content for my blog in English to reach out to more people. Thanks to the music lessons at school, I know how to compose songs in Garageband using different mechanisms of the software. Thanks to learning Latin for a few years, it's easier for me to recognise the meaning of unfamiliar French vocabulary. I could go on and on but you get the idea :)


- I think studying and learning are two different things in the sense that learning is the first part and studying comes afterwards. Studying consolidates what I have learnt and it provides insight into the next steps I need to take with my learning.


- Certain types of studying, however, really stress me out. I won't go as far as saying that it's unnecessary (since different times call for different measures), but repetitive activities/work really do make me miserable. I'm talking of endless pages of the same sort of problems and questions over and over again. I would do anything to avoid being caught in that loop.


- On a more hypothetical note, if I didn't have to study at all, then I would be doing some more creative work. I would definitely want to publish a book or two with my own illustrations. Or I could even direct my own movie. Who knows? But even then, I would have to study different techniques or facts to increase the quality of the things I create. So I couldn't avoid studying if I wanted to.


Thank you, Seyfried, for asking the question!


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