5 Learning Principles

1: Learn what you want to learn.

Of course, this is only to a certain extent, but learn what you want to learn about. If you start to study something you enjoy, you will find yourself retaining much more information than if you we’re to not enjoy what you are learning about. Do not try and force yourself to learn something you have no interest in because it will just result in you smacking your head against the wall thinking “What the hell am I doing right now?”

An example would be my last semester. I thought I should study economics because that’s what other people wanted me to do, but by the middle of my first semester junior year, at one point I was literally slamming my head against the wall. That’s also why I joined the Whittier Scholars Program.

2: Compromise with yourself.

If you find yourself studying new information for a test or just to learn it, pace it. Don’t try and absorb information in one sitting because that will result in a loss of content. Instead of trying to read 50 pages in one sitting, read 10 pages and then take a break and do something fun. The smaller pieces of reading will become easier because you can look forward to something you enjoy more, more often.

3: Take notes you find useful.

When you are trying to learn new materials and you also want to take notes, don’t take notes others tell you too. Most people have vastly different ways of remembering information, and if you are trying to take notes in a way you don’t find useful then it won’t be useful. Even if your note taking strategy seems like the silliest thing to do, do it.

4: Expand on your learning.

This means that while you are learning new information, learn information about that information. Go beyond what the information you are learning talks about. If it mentions one thing, go learn about that one thing. It will make the bigger picture make much more sense in the long run.

An example here would be if you are reading up about some current political news, but don’t understand one sentence of the article, put some research into that article. It will clear up so many things.

5: Always, Always, Always check your sources.

This is mostly common knowledge, but my own personal saying is if I can’t confirm it on multiple sources it is not real. Along with this, don’t trust social media posts when it comes to information unless they include sources. If there is nothing to back up the information, you could be learning false information.

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