- I suck at memorization. This makes science, history, and literature studies hard for me.
- I'm very good at learning by doing. I can remember a procedure very well after just doing it a few times.
- I'm clever. I have been using my wits to work my way through math classes for the longest time. Why study when you can re-derive all of the things that you would need to know?
- define X out of these Y terms,
- state what X out of these Y theorems are,
- and prove X out of these Y theorems (findable in the book).
Lecture, reading, and memorization isn't enough for me to learn. I really do learn best when I work on something myself. I had little to no understanding of how to use SAS's Proc IML until I started a project that used it and I dug through documentation to figure out how to do what I wanted. I taught myself more about processes, threads, concurrency, and sockets the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college than was ever taught in classes after that summer. I never learned how to do SQL databases because I never had a project where I had to use them.
In fact, the way that I memorize material the best isn't by making note cards, like many people, it's by copying the information until I have it memorized. I have to rewrite it over and over, as if I'm placing the knowledge in my muscle memory, as if I'm memorizing a song for the piano.
I'll be retaking Advanced Differential Equations next year, in hopes of learning what I failed to learn in the past. It's being taught by a different professor who's pedagogy is more in line with my learning style, so I'll hopefully understand it better this time. Regardless, I'll be working harder this time, by
- reading the material ahead of time,
- taking notes,
- going through my notes and rewriting them after class
- and copying the rewritten notes to study for tests.