Studying vs. Learning

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a brown parent in possession of a child must be in want of good marks. Now, grantedthat we’ve been given more opportunities and resources to make that happen, the dynamic of the environment we’re competing in has changed – we are expected to have good marks, valid work experience, extra-curricular activities, and a social presence. So, in the end when your parents try to make you study, it produces an opposite effect – you look at studying like an endless cycle of trying to reach outdated expectations.


Flashback. You’re half-way through year 12 trying to convince your parents that there are more degrees than just doctor or engineer. Or worse. That you don’t want to be a doctor or engineer. So, what? Do you just settle for commerce so at least they have hope that you might have a stable, 9-5 desk job? What really gets people here is that they pick something they can study (which isn’t bad) instead of something they want to learn.

“…it took me a few years to figure out that studying was different to learning…”

What’s the difference? Studying is primarily stressful – like studying for an exam, for a quiz or because you left all your work to the last minute for Netflix and you have major regrets. Learning on the other hand stems from inner curiosity – like when I don’t skip my microeconomics lecture on Fridays even when I can watch it online because I genuinely love the subject. Admittedly, it took me years to figure out that studying was different to learning and hence also explain my varying range of marks in high school – but this has been the best realisation for university.


In university, no one chases you up for homework, assignment or tells you where anything is. Sometimes, like me, you’ll find yourself searching through folders of information online to find homework that’s due tomorrow, but no one told you. I guess if I didn’t actually want to learn economics I’d probably try to get out with the bare minimum and call it a win.

So maybe you’re not demotivated, lazy or dumb (like your parents tell you) …you just have to find something you actually want to learn and will be curious about for the next many years of your life so in the future you actually look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work instead of calling in sick.





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