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Relentlessly Learn

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” -Isaac Asimov

relentlessly (adv.)—in an unceasingly intense or harsh way

learn (v.)—gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in something by study, experience, or being taught.

First, we need to understand what relentlessly learn” means. To learn is to obtain information, knowledge, or skills through some sort of instruction, whether this be a book, practice, or a teacher. (Notice that learn” does not mean to sit in a classroom.) Relentlessly” describes an action done in a consistently intense and ceaseless way. Relentlessly learning, thus, means gaining knowledge, information, or skills, intensely and ceaselessly.

This entails being enormously curious about the world around you, for example, by being like Da Vinci and inquiring about even the seemingly unimportant. It involves dedicating time out of each day to learn new things, like Malcolm X did with his seven years in prison. Finally, it calls for you to reach out to others and put yourself around people much more intelligent than you to discover insights and wisdom through dialogue, like Ben Franklin did with his intellectual small groups.

Learning has nothing to do with institutions.

Yes, you might learn by sitting in a classroom, but learning does not solely come from sitting in a classroom. Think about it: How many teenagers after taking 3+ years of Spanish in high school walk out of the classroom able to speak Spanish with any considerable fluency? Nearly none, because they are not interested, engaged, or enrolled in the potential education in front of them. Not to mention, if they were truly interested in the first place, they would find extra resources elsewhere to help them, not just rely on the classroom.

The institution itself is not responsible for the entirety of anybody’s knowledge, and never will be—though it can surely be a facilitator of learning. Therefore, we as dropouts must look to our own methods of self-education.

On a similar token, learning” is not the gut-wrenching, sleep-inducing learning” that you probably experienced in your high school Spanish class. What we do leads to success and fulfillment because we are learning with a purpose. One of the reasons that high school and college math is so difficult to swallow is because the real world application of calculus for most students is arguable at best. This is not an excuse to not pay attention in your math classes, however—just because it is not immediately useful does not mean it won’t be valuable. However, if it is never useful we should probably turn to our own education. We must still continue to learn everything that we possibly can, in every way that we know how, in order to become more well-rounded and capable individuals.