|Face and embrace anxiety and confusion in order |
to prepare yourself to learn new things.
However, after you live in a place long enough, or visit a place often enough, you don't even have to think about your way, and you forget that you were ever lost. But, where would you have gotten if you had given up? Would you still be sitting on the side of the road?
Embracing Anxiety, Excitement, and ConfusionWhen a student first goes to college, whether or not it's in a new town or a new place, professors expect students to learn about new things and to learn new ways to do things. Having previous knowledge of a topic or task is a great starting point, but without a little anxiety, excitement, or confusion, there may not be any real learning taking place. Without pushing beyond the limits of the familiar or what a student already knows, there may not be any real learning taking place. Students should expect a little anxiety, a little excitement, and a little confusion.
Problems occur when students are unprepared for the frustrations and discomforts that accompany real learning. It's essential students are taught that these feelings are not only okay, but expected, and a sign of progress. Embracing these feelings is especially difficult for students who have never been taught to cope with uncomfortable feelings, who have never previously had to struggle in school, or who have always been at the top of the class. For some students, these feelings are entirely foreign, and are therefore discouraging, as well. These students often want to shout, "But I have already done this!" or "I already know how to do this!" Yet, real learning will only take place if those students accept and embrace the struggles of real learning.
Combating Discouragement with Open-MindednessTo combat discouragement, students should remain open-minded and remember that learning is a lifelong process.
Open-mindedness entails accepting that there are multiple perspectives to issues; issues that sometimes have either no solutions or multiple solutions. It also entails a willingness to learn about those new perspectives, or new ways to solve problems, make decisions, or communicate effectively. All experiences have the potential to be real learning experiences when a student is open-minded.
Students must also stay open-minded to the fact that learning is a lifelong process. Giving up on learning is akin to stopping on the side of the road and refusing to drive any further. A student can only get to where he or she is going by driving, and driving takes time. Learning, like driving, takes time - a lifetime, in fact.
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Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.