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What can be done to get the most out of one's schooling? What would you change about your education experience?

From other people's opinions and my experiences in the American Midwest, it seems most schools focus on their students' test performance and few classes prioritize true, authentic learning. I was disappointed when the classes I took during my first year of college -- or perhaps the aspirations of all but a fraction of my classmates -- were a continuation of this mindset.

I think I'm missing something and would love to hear your thoughts. What can students do to get the most out of their education? What do you wish you had done differently, if anything? Is this something I have to discover on my own? Thanks in advance for your insight.


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    Sep 5 2011: Hi Colleen.

    Further to this is seems that knowing creates the end of the road.

    Not knowing what to do blocks the road.

    I was feeling very blocked the other day and took the dogs for a walk through the woods. I could not see out the woods as there were so many trees and yet I travelled through the woods without (obviously) hitting any one of them.

    It occurred to me that there were thousands of trees in front of me and I did not walk into them. I wondered how many problems or "I don't, knows" I had in my life and realised that there could at very worst be only a few dozen - or if I got really down - maybe 100? And yet despite this I was walking headfirst into every one of them. It was time to start side stepping at least some of them and as I started doing this I saw that the problem - from another angle or looking back at it - was not that big of an issue.

    The time had come to start sidestepping more problems. I do not mean avoid them - just stop walking into them. My headache has subsided a lot since this realisation!

    A while later I walked up another woodland trail. It started to rain quite heavily and I soon met a trickle of water running down the path towards me and was delighted that I was witnessing a stream as it started to flow again. I walked on again and found that the stream ran out - I had gone past it's source. A couple of steps further and I found the leading edge of another stream flowing down to join the one I had just passed. It occurred to me that rivers and streams do not start from the source and flow to the sea. They start in many places and join each other to form the larger rivers. The same is true of learning. Your knowledge is starting in many places and flowing together to create a body of knowledge. Sometimes you can predict where it will all come together and re-inforce the flow - at other times you just have to let it flow.

    I must head out to the woods again it teaches me a lot!

    So Claire - I think attitude is a key element
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      Sep 5 2011: Hi Richard!
      I am really agreed with you. I have many interests outside the class. Sometimes I have to spent more time to develop my intersts than others. It makes me confused that i don't seem sucessful than others. My classmates drow their all attention preparing for tests while i would rather wonder at many other areas.
      I belive all i pay will pay me off someday, like all streams from different direction will certainly gather in sea.
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      Sep 7 2011: Richard,
      Thanks for sharing that lovely exploration and discovery! I also find peace and new discoveries while walking/hiking in the woods and mountains. If we suspend our thinking mind occasionally, while exploring nature, sometimes we get lots of information about the "flow" of life. It really is very simple, and yet complex...it is everything...and nothing...it flows with us...or not...depending on our willingness to learn...or not. I totally agree Richard...attitude is a very key element:>)
      Thanks again for sharing your beautiful exploration:>)

      When I was younger, I had a similar feeling of not being goal oriented enough. While most of my friend knew exactly what they wanted to do, and worked diligently toward that goal, it sometimes felt that I was wandering around exploring EVERYTHING! As I aged, I began to realize that while on one level, my explorations didn't seem connected, on another level, they were all VERY connected...just as everything in life is connected. We can take all of the information (flow from the little streams) and bring it together into the "river" of our lives...or not. It is about awareness of our "self" and the choices we make in life...or not:>)
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        Sep 7 2011: Thanks a lot, Colleen! I think I should be more confident about myself. Everyone is special and has his own goal. These days I am wondering whether one's own strong belief can lead to his success.
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          Sep 7 2011: Rainey,
          A strong belief in ourselves is always helpful, in my perception:>)
          Do you think/feel it depends on our definition and perception of "success"?

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