“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Once we complete our final year of university, is that it? Are we done with learning anything new ever again? For many people, this is the case. You’ll never see their heads in a book ever again. However, that doesn’t have to happen.
Now I know that lots of people resent readings, referencing and researching but it is all focused towards the end goal, a degree. Once you’ve managed that, you deserve a pat on the back and a congratulations. It was definitely no easy feat to get that certificate but that shouldn’t stop you from furthering your interests and knowledge.
The word ‘learning’ immediately resonates a bad connotation. Well, I know in my experience it has. People instantly associate ‘learning’ with pressure, classrooms and work. Perhaps in certain cases, it does but it doesn’t always have to strike fear in your heart.
Instead of distancing yourself from a book or a library, take it upon yourself to learn more than just, what the curriculum taught you. Read up on a concept or module you completed in class but felt that it just didn’t give enough information to satisfy your interest in it. Randomly search a topic on Wikipedia and go from there. You won’t be stuck for information. So whether it’s the toxicity of a stonefish, the land mass of Texas (which is 695,662 km² by the way, in case you were interested) or the Malaysian voting system, just look it up. It doesn’t matter; just don’t be afraid to look for answers to any of the questions or curiosities you might have.
Once you’ve managed to learn something, that’s it. You’ve succeeded. You won’t be expected to go and write a novel or critical analysis of what you find; everything you do is for you. Save a few pages to your phone and have them on hand when you’re bored whilst waiting for the bus or waiting for the microwave to ping. You can be anywhere and still learn.
Keeping up the skills we learn to perfect in college will serve to be of great benefit to us in the future. Studies have shown that those who actively seek to learn new things are happier, adaptable and more humble.
Final Year may be the end of your academic time in Maynooth but your learning shouldn’t really stop there. We’re always learning, perhaps not by choice but we’re always hearing things on the news, on Facebook, from our friends. So instead of shutting yourself off from the crazy world we live in, open the door and explore and learn as much as you can.