OK, OK. I can’t tell students that memorizing, rote practice, and taking tests will be stress free. At the very least, it is exhausting work. And I don’t want to tell everyone about relaxing physical exercise, breathing, and meditation to do before a test. But I want to investigate, and it is a big project, the value of study and how study changes both the individual and society for the better. Ideally, study should always reveal the truth, and the truth builds morality and good ethics because it teaches proper relationships between things.
When I went to university, I was completely overwhelmed by Geology 101. It was extremely challenging, and I could not see any use for it in my life. Gradually though, as I improved, I began to appreciate the secrets of what was inside the earth and on its surface, and it felt cool to be able to look at some rocks and know whether they were igneous or sedimentary. Well, so what? Some people may ask this. But at the same time I took Geology I also took Philosophy. The philosophy teacher showed us a great wheel that showed how all the academic disciplines were related to each other. For instance, math is related to music, and both are related to language. Geology is even related to painting and sculpture (which of course is related to architecture)! So I could see that no matter what I studied, I would be learning other subjects as well. That was a very powerful lesson to me.
And here is an interesting fact. I took an accounting course in university. I thought I would hate it and it would be extremely difficult but I loved it! A year later I took a statistics course. I thought that it would be very easy me as a social sciences major but it grueling and extremely difficult. I hated it! In fact, Statistics and poetry (can you believe it?) are the two courses I took in university that I still look back on negatively. And I love poetry! However, I did learn something very important in Statistics: it is easy to be fooled by probabilities. Just because something has a high probability does not mean it will happen or is true. I learned objectivity and I also learned patience.
So I guess my message about ‘stress free ‘ study is that quite often study is stressful. And if it were not stressful, our minds would not grow. So like all good things, there is always work involved. There is an amazing feeling when we suddenly comprehend something that we could not understand for years. And I never studied cosmology or astrophysics in university but they are both two of my favorite topics today. Ideally, your education now is just the starting point of a lifelong curiosity about the world and the universe in which we live.