Learning

I think it was Natalie Portman who said, “I hate studying but I love learning.”

I imagine what she meant was that the idea of sitting at a desk with an open textbook and copying down notes and trying to absorb information was just too mundane. The idea of getting out there and learning new things, whether it be information or new skills, was a lot more fun.

I never got the greatest test scores in school or college. They were never bad but they were never great. My older brother seemed to ace his exams, and always had the confidence and intelligence to know what he wanted to do. I never felt like I excelled in anything and had no idea about what I wanted to do. My parents told me that I was good at languages, so I concentrated on studying German and Spanish. It’s funny how I believed them when they told me I was good at something, but never believed it myself. I went on to study Japanese at university, for no other reason that I was told languages were my thing, and I wanted to try learning a language completely different to European languages. Our lives really are shaped by the choices we make. I can’t imagine how my life would be different if I had studied Economics or Engineering. The people I have met up until this point, the experiences I have had, the thoughts that I think, probably all stem from that one decision to study Japanese at university.

A lot of people say that you really learn how to drive once you have passed your test and you’re out on the road alone. I think the same could be said for life and learning. It was only after I graduated university that I become interested in learning. These past few things I have had a curiosity for everything. Even things that I once found dull. I never cared for art, but after hearing the stories about how some pieces were created, I became interested. I never cared for science, but after watching a TV show about science, I wanted to know how things worked. I never cared for history, but after finding out interesting facts and information about the past, I wanted to hear more.

At 18 I think a lot of people are stubborn and arrogant. We think we know everything. After 22, I realised I know nothing. There are so many ways of living, ways of thinking, so much information and experiences yet to discover. And still, we make such an important decision at such a young age. A decision that can shape how our future will turn out. On the other hand, I don’t think that what you have majored in at university has to be the deciding factor about what our career turns out to be. We can continue to learn new things, new skills, and let them guide us to what we truly want to do. I think anyone is capable of anything. The best thing to do is stay curious and just give it a try. Even if it turns out that it wasn’t what you wanted to do, you have that experience to look back on, and you’ve crossed that item off your list so you can move on to the next one.

The best way to discover what will make you happy is to try new things, stay curious, keep learning, and be open to whatever opportunities come your way. Even if we think it will make us happy, it might not, and even if we think it won’t make us happy, it might. You never know until you try.