Lake Shore Drive: College

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“Lake Shore Drive: Middle school” is the second installment in a series on the myth of the majority. Read Part 1.

Every morning, Lake Shore Drive greeted me at 330 W Webster Avenue, the address of my K-12 school. Here, as a middle school student, I learned much more than academic lessons. I learned to strut down Clark Street like I paved the thing myself and walk into Starbucks on Dickens to order an iced ristretto – I mean, a strong coffee – with an extra hit and a half. -vanilla pump. “And it’s poured, not shaken.” Come and make the Self-First Mindset your own, asserting that you are more important than others because of the people you know. I learned that people have a place in the world and that the prism through which I see reality is no longer so pure. At least we had baseball practice at 5 a.m. to bond the next morning. Someone was always late and we all had to kill each other, but everything was in a good mood. Oh, wait. Left-handed players cannot be shortstops. The bench was therefore my place.

But there is another face to learning that is purer, and that is the learning spirit for learning itself, the quality of intellectual vitality that is believed to permeate higher education institutions. . When I think about it, I remember a time in college when I spent many days building circuits for fun. There was a feeling of reward in leisure and daily activities. There was a certain thirst for knowledge that doesn’t seem so common anymore, and my theory is that this transition happens over time as people start to become more practical and pragmatic with their perspectives. To what extent is this the case and what is the frequency of the phenomenon?

“How long?” This is the question I ask myself every time I wake up. No, I’m not asking when the pandemic will be over, although that is its own question, but when will I come back to life? When will I ever get back to this boy who loved the spirit of learning and living for fun? Instead of being inclined to spend hours building end-to-end circuits, this is now something I should force myself to do. Sometimes it seems like school makes me less intellectual, as I pore over various texts, extracting the meaning as if I were isolating a chemical compound and reporting the results back to my class to make me look clever. I’m just trying to consume knowledge or strategies to improve my own writing. I do not consume for the experience. And with the litany of distractions in this world, it’s almost as if my “reading muscles” have atrophied, making it a chore to go through verbose sections of text.

Growing up caught me off guard – I admit – but it wasn’t always like that. Consider Fall 2014. Like everyone else, I took my classes, got my grades, and wrote my homework – but despite my typical English, algebra, and social studies homework, I was still missing something. at school, in my life, even back then. The “lack” was not as strong, but I felt something coming, as if the vitality of my life was escaping like blood flowing from an artery. I had to make a movement to capture my sense of wonder as the blood was still there. Studying astrophysics would be my way of stemming this loss.

In the midst of thinking about ways to pursue my interests in college, luckily I had the opportunity to speak with the principal of our school. He organized a town hall for my classmates when I was in seventh grade to hear student perspectives and our concerns. Our classes were suspended and we all gathered in the hallway in front of the principal. As usual, he was respectful and open to our opinions as students on the good and bad things about the school. As I had contemplated the school program so much, I decided to ask him a question. I said, “Has the science department ever considered incorporating astronomy and astrophysical theories into the current curriculum?” The manager responded with a genuinely enthusiastic tone. He admitted that I had raised a good point and told us about an optional high school course that I would like; it covered topics of astronomy, cosmology, metaphysics and epistemology.

After the town hall, the headmaster wanted to talk to me a little more, and before I knew it, I had the opportunity to go see the new sci-fi action film “Interstellar” with the high school students of the very elective he had described. Shortly thereafter, I typed in the first astrophysics club announcement, which I would later email the college to and announce at the Friday K-12 assembly we call Morning Ex.

It wasn’t long before, at least once a month, an undergraduate came to see me in the hallways and tried to learn about astronomy. “Astrophysics!” they would shout, after which they would have fun trying to ask me hard questions: “If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?” “Why did you say yesterday that you can’t divide by zero?” “” Why does there have to be a gravitational constant? Who chose this number? These passionate college kids now saw science not just as a subject, but as a fascinating and limitless way of life, and the fact that I had made that impact on them was something bigger than a club, and I had does more than my job. Their excited posturing and facial expressions reminded me of when I was in first grade and running around the field to see high school physics classes shoot rockets into the sky. These high school kids were larger than life to me, and I was starting to understand the experience from an inverted perspective. He never got old. I loved reliving the awe that inspires young people as I felt their wonder again as I once did, and really felt like I had done something with my life to bring so much passion to these people just like i was inspired when i was their age.

However, unlike college kids, I now had something to lose asking myself questions. As I started to build a reputation for my knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics, I became much less willing to ask questions in my biology class. I can’t help but wonder if I still behave the same subconsciously. For example, in my math class last term, I assumed that my peers were familiar with the material, so when I was put in workshops to solve problems with them, I didn’t try to help them. , and they haven’t tried to help me. Even if the problem were monumentally difficult, if not insoluble, neither of us would say a word to give the slightest indication that we had no idea what we were doing. Indeed, as we grow up, knowledge hinders learning. No one, I guess, wants to admit to other people that they don’t know what other people think they already know, and I’m already worried about getting caught in a corner if I get far enough in my career. This will be the day when I really stop learning.

Contact the The Grind section of the Daily at thegrind ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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