Wandering mind: Playing with fire and learning to learn
Communication is something we often neglect
It’s 9:00 p.m. and a burst of flames comes out the tip of an roadside flare. “For emergencies only,” it reads. Laughing, I wave the sulfur-fueled slightly-explosive stick of light around. Playing with fire — it’s fun, it’s relaxing and it’s an escape.
But quite frankly, I don’t play with fire nearly enough.
And I’d say the same thing applies to many students at MVHS. We don’t take enough risks. We study and study and keep studying, partly because of all the pressure and other things that I’ve ranted about before, but also because it’s a known. It’s a constant. My books will always be there for me. Other things — it’s not always easy to ascertain whether or not they’re going to do me right.
After nearly four years of high school, I am almost entirely sure I’ll be able to handle whatever challenges are thrown in my direction within the classroom. As my Calculus teacher Martin Jennings always tells his classes, we’re learning how to learn here. With that statement, I agree wholeheartedly. But it’s also tough for me to say wholeheartedly that it’s been effective.
I’ve definitely learned how to learn math. I’ve learned how to learn literature. And I’ve most definitely learned how to learn at the last second, or, in other words, cram. So yes — within the bounds of classrooms, I’m pretty damn good at learning.
But how much have I learned to learn outside of three ring binders and textbooks? I question this. I’m not sure exactly. I mean, I haven’t even really stepped outside of my comfort zone all that much to know.
I have a job, so maybe this learning-how-to-learn concept really does transfer into the outside world. Still, I feel like a little kid. I may be able to perform on a Government test, but I’m still a middle-schooler when it comes to dealing with relationships, dealing with adversity and, in general, dealing with myself.
I haven’t learned how to learn others. In literature class, I’ve learned how to analyze characters. The character I have yet to learn how to analyze, however, is myself, and so it’s really hard for me to look at my peers in the eyes and say, yes, I understand. So I wonder: how can I ever read others? Picking up on cues — I’m absolutely terrible at it.
And I’d argue that most at MVHS have the same problem, whether they even see it or not. It’s so hard for us to read each other, to truly understand. We can feel sympathy and even empathy, but that’s not indicative of actually knowing what to say.
So my advice: Play with fire. Take risks with people. Meet the new friends that you haven’t already introduced yourself to because of insecurity. Sure, not everyone will always like you, nor will everyone want to spend every second of the day with you. But the thing is, you’ll never create new connections if you don’t risk playing with fire every once in awhile.