Picture this: class registration has begun for next semester and the classes you want to take are already full. You start to quickly scroll through the classes that still have open seats. Does this sound familiar yet? You decide to join a class that you know nothing about because the idea of not filling academic requirements makes your head hurt. Fast forward to the first day of that class. Your professor starts talking about the required readings and you realize something. You have absolutely no idea what they are talking about! You nervously scan the class, and everyone else is calmly writing notes. Here comes the panic!
This panic isn’t exclusive to college, but it certainly comes with its own reasons for stressing out, like GPAs and scholarships. After a few semesters of college, I appreciate the feeling of not knowing. “Wait a minute! How? Why?” yells my freshman year self. Well, I have realized that not knowing can be an amazing learning experience which, in the long run, makes me a better student.
Consider the alternative to a class where you do not know much. We have all been in a class where you must read documents you know like the back of your hand. Maybe it is an intro class or one for your major; you feel on top of your game! You’re learning, but it is not anything particularly new or revolutionary. It is easy to stick to what you know, but learning something you had absolutely no idea about is amazing! The feeling of having your mind blown is one of my favorite things about college. If my brain hurts after class, I count it as a good day of classes.
An interesting class rocking your whole world can be absolutely terrifying, though. The readings, homework, or whatever is required for class are usually hard. It can be hard to overcome the frustration this brings about. Aren’t dense academic readings tough enough? There is certainly value in reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine every semester, but reading something for the first time makes me think more critically than I did before!
I decided to take a religion class this semester so that I could not know things. I want to learn new things! I won’t lie: class can be terrifying when my professor asks a question and I haven’t the slightest clue what the answer is.
The feeling of having your mind blown is one of my favorite things about college. If my brain hurts after class, I count it as a good day of classes.
I am embracing not knowing the answer, though! As a perpetual teacher’s pet, this has certainly been a process. I am slowly teaching myself that there are instances where it is okay to not know. In the case of my class, I know it is because I haven’t been exposed to these topics before. Plus, there are a lot of experts and I am not one of them; it is okay to not know the nuances of terms used because there are experts, including my professor, there to teach me.
After all, I go to class so that I can learn, not already know the answers. Get ready to have your mind blown!