The art of learning

Jake Keeley

Ultimately, every student at Grand Valley State University opted to continue schooling in order to achieve higher education. Whether the motivation stemmed from the ability to get a better job, receive higher pay, or simply to gain more knowledge, earning a college degree is certainly a priority for everyone here. 

And blessed we are to be here, because the environment created by GVSU is one where questioning, discussion, and learning are not only commonplace, but encouraged. You have access to state of the art facilities, such as our beautiful library, with resources allocated for you to flourish. You have access to experts spanning all sorts of disciplines that beg you to engage them in a discussion. But most importantly, you have yourself. You have dedicated a large portion of your life to bettering yourself, and no one knows how to get the most out of yourself better than you.

Certainly we are at a time where unintelligence is near inexcusable. Knowledge can be obtained via several clicks of a button, and we consequentially know more as a society now than we ever have before. Aside from the obvious benefits, some of which are listed above, there are many reasons to continue learning, even outside of the classroom, and especially outside of your area of study. Not only does having a wide-ranging knowledge tend to impress people, it ultimately helps you continue to grow as a person. Constantly questioning and reevaluating will only help you get a deeper understanding of things. As a result, you will become a more well rounded person who can hold their own in any conversation.

The objection to learning often comes from a combination of laziness and lack of interest. Surely, we are all guilty of this at some point, as it is hard to want to learn something you don’t even care about, and even more so when there is not grade attached to it. However, there are no rules against making learning fun. I welcome you to become an expert on the saga of the east coast versus west coast rap rivalry, including but not limited to the role Suge Knight played in the downfall of Death Row Records. Study the culture of a region you might intend on visiting. Learn as many words that begin with the letter ‘Q’ as you can in order to successfully deploy a dagger in scrabble. But, be careful with learning how to play golf, because golf doesn’t necessarily adhere to the laws of physics, so that might be somewhat frustrating. Yet, oddly enough, throwing you golf clubs is a perfect example of physics in display.

It upsets me when I hear people say they accomplished “everything they wanted to in their life.” I never want to accomplish every goal I set for myself. In my head there will always be more to accomplish. There will always be something new to learn and understand. And just because you have reached a certain period in your life, such as earning a degree, this does not mean that you should stop learning.