Letters from the dorm: Discover reason for learning

By Elaine Leung, 20, Year One, Durham University
By Elaine Leung, 20, Year One, Durham University |

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University's final term - aka exam term - is here. The Easter break was really enjoyable. It has amazed me to hear many people talking excitedly about their summer holidays already!

I guess it should be no surprise that, at the end of the academic year, everyone will be looking forward to a long break from studies - when they can enjoy some sunshine.

While most students are getting panicky about exams, I think it is important to stay positive and sensible. As always, it is easier said than done. Sometimes, I do find myself comparing how much revision I have done with that of others.

In the past few weeks, I have been "living life in the slow lane", doing a lot of thinking and pacing my revision.

University is a great place for meeting intellectuals and discussing ideas with others; yet it is easy to be put off by the fact that we know very little about some areas of our course compared to our peers.

Let's not forget that one of the joys of being at university is to accept how little we know, and to challenge ourselves against our own limits. It is our ever-expanding capacity to learn that makes university life so enriching.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill once wrote that it is "better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied". It means that the process of seeking new knowledge gives us more pleasure than just being satisfied with what we already know.

So, let's shift the focus - from how much others have done, to what we, ourselves, are discovering every day. Learning for the sake of getting good grades just defeats the purpose of education.

University education advocates individual thinking - be it academic or life-related. Once we stop comparing, revision is guaranteed to be so much more enjoyable!

I hope that everyone enjoys their last few months of school and has a meaningful summer break!