I used to love learning. I used to love the feeling of opening a textbook. It sounds odd, I know. But when you cracked the cover, there were all sorts of exciting things inside. Pictures, places, new words, and new people all awaited discovery. It was true of all subject material. Sure, some things were less exciting than others and some things interested me more than others. People like different things. People are motivated by different things and different ideas. But each subject had its own fascinating way.
Somewhere it stopped. I began dreading my textbooks and classes. I’m not sure when it began, but I know it is true today. It’s not that the material has gotten less exciting. Some of it should be absolutely fascinating and applicable to daily life. Some of it is interesting to those who really care about the subject matter. The bottom line is this: I hate learning.
You see, it is no longer really learning. I no longer take tests to see how much I have learned. Instead, the purpose of my examinations is to see how much I have not learned and how much I did not pick up on. My tests do not cover class discussions, textbook readings, or homework problems. Instead, they cover things “I should have picked up on” while doing those things. So I can walk into an examination understanding all of these things, but still fail an exam because I did not pick on a subtle hint that may or may not have been an actual hint.
I no longer have the desire to dig deeper or work harder. Instead I now have an attitude of hatred. This hatred is bred by my professors and cultivated by their mundane assignments, their dull lectures, and their absolute lack of interest in anything I have to say. They don’t care if they are interesting. They don’t care if they are right. They just don’t care. And anyone in the class with any sense of passion for learning is having it squashed by these balding demons.
I remember when I used to ask questions in class. I wanted to have the things I didn’t understand to be explained. And then over time, the instructors stopped answering the questions. They began to hem and to haw. They would talk in circles finishing with “Well, I hoped that answered your question. Let’s move on.” I don’t bother raising my hand anymore. They don’t really care. I will just try to figure it out on my own, or just let it pass.
It’s sad that it has come to this. Instead of spending four years at a college trying to get everything out of it possible, it has become a quest to get a piece of paper that I can hang over my desk while I do things that my professors never bothered to teach me to do. I’m paying $60,000 for a worthless piece of paper.
Occasionally, there is a bright spot. A professor who can actually form coherent lectures. A class that covers something relevant. It is unfortunate that these are in the minority.
When I receive Smithsonian every month, it’s exciting. I still enjoy that kind of learning. A magazine filled with articles about all sorts of interesting things. I read The Wall Street Journal and learn all sorts of things. It’s not that I have an utter hatred for gaining knowledge and wisdom.
Perhaps the love of learning will return.