Forever a student

Also known as: me. I’m fairly prototypical in that way. After all, there’s no way you’re gonna get six diploma’s in six years if you don’t have a deep love for learning, right? I have to admit, though, that I haven’t always considered myself a good student. I was bored for a majority of high school, and – although slightly less so – even for University. Finally having left the school benches, though? (or at least, the side that the student sits on) It’s made me realise a couple of things. For example: that I will definitely be forever a student!

Student vs. student

Now, I did say that graduating tought me a couple of things. And one of them? Is that there’s two types of students.

There’s the typical picture that everybody knows: a person who – voluntarily or not, and more often than not: definitely unvoluntarily – is sitting in the school benches. On whatever level of learning they’re at, they are sitting there and they are being (force-)fed knowledge. From a book, from an exercise, from a role play, from a movie… It doesn’t matter how, but they’re doing it in (or via) an institute)

The second type of student is the one that adheres more so the literal meaning of “studying knowledge” no matter the way and the location in which they are introduced to that knowledge. This is the kind of person that will voluntarily read non-fiction books because they might learn something from it. It’s the person that is doing the act of sitting down, consciously deciding that they want to gain new knowledge, and actually doing that.

The difference between that first and that second type, I know, might seem small. But it’s definitely there. It’s there, for example, in the student that suffers through yet another maths class even though they will never actually use this. Or the one that has to study French vocab, even though they couldn’t care less about languages. So while the first type (in theory, or even just because of exams) will always belong to the second type? The reverse is not necessarily true.

Student vs. learner

The second big thing I finally realised after graduation? It’s that a student isn’t necessarily a learner. Just like a learner isn’t necessarily a student.  I promise, there’s a point to all of this.

By definition, every single human is a “learner”. It’d be impossible to survive, if we didn’t learn. Learn new things, learn to adapt, learn anything. Learning is something that comes from experience. But again: experience in all it’s forms. If you’re living, you’re learning, because each day you encounter new things. That’s learning in its purest form.

Studying, as I mentioned above, is more conscious. It’s deciding that new knowledge will be gained, not waiting for it to come out of experience, life, or anything of the sorts. So again: every student is a learner, but not every learner is a student.

One small note, then, maybe: when I say “study”, I don’t mean “books”. In my case, for example, learning to do a hand stand? Or to change a tire? Those are skills, but I 100% need to study for those. Because I’m not naturally handy or even that inclined towards that particular brand of knowledge. So I need to put a lot of effort into those. Reading, books, etc? Those do come easy to me. Which is probably also why I like doing them so much.

Studying vs. money

So where has that left me, all of these realisations? Well, with a burning need for more knowledge, for one Because I’m a student, in each way, by heart. I love getting new knowledge, be it through experience, through voluntary reading, or even through sitting on my chair and being slightly bored out of my mind.

I also just started working though, so I don’t necessarily have the money to go follow 6 different courses on 8 different subjects. Which is where I get to be really happy about the fact that I’m living where I am and when I am. Because YouTube (I’m thinking series like “Crash Course“, but there’s many more of course!) and the free section of Amazon e-books (which I may or may not have totally crashed last week) are golden.

They are the things that allow me to be forever a student. And quite frankly? I’m kind of loving that life 🙂

-Saar