The Joy of Self-directed Learning

Source: My UM

College professors play an important role in guiding students in their pursuit of knowledge. But students must be self-driven learners in order to make continuous progress. There are many such students at UM whose experience may be of some interest to you.

Interest Is the Greatest Motivation

‘Unlike in high school, college professors will not complain about your grades to your parents,’ says Liu Gezhi, a first-year student from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. ‘There are a lot of compulsory subjects in high school, and not all of them fit your appetite, so there is less motivation to study them; But once you enter college, it’s up to you to choose your major and the subjects you want to learn.’ Liu has read many books on linguistics because of her strong interest in the subject. When in doubt, she seeks help from her professors and classmates, and in the process, more thoughts and questions will develop. ‘The more you explore the subject of your interest, the more motivated and curious you will become,’ she says.

Observation Is Key

Li Jianeng, a postgraduate student from the Department of Government and Public Administration, learned the importance of self-learning while working as an intern at China Daily in Beijing. ‘Observation is very important, and so is setting different goals for the different stages of your self-learning journey.’ While working as an editor of the newspaper office, he not only needed to write and edit news stories, but also needed to learn to revise the layout of the newspaper. He knew next to nothing about that, so he just revised it in a way he preferred. In the end, he got a severe tongue-lashing from the editor-in-chief. ‘It was after that incident that I started to observe my colleagues at work in order to learn from them, which saved me a lot of detours,’ he says.

Learning from Sharing

It takes a lot of time and hard work to become really good at anything. Gao Zening from the Faculty of Business Administration believes it is important to keep abreast of the latest information on the market and continuously upgrade one’s knowledge in order to be well-prepared for any opportunities that may arise in the future. And this requires self-learning.

Zhang Lin, a postgraduate majoring in European studies, recommends learning from sharing. She says, ‘There are a lot of students who only care about their own research projects while failing to notice interesting topics around them. Make a habit of discussing questions with your classmates, because you could learn new ideas and perspectives from other people.’ Wang Yan, an assistant professor from the Faculty of Education, shares Zhang’s view. ‘Don’t be afraid of sharing your knowledge with your classmates, because by sharing you may gain more and feel more motivated to seek answers to the questions you don’t understand.’

Release on 2018-04-25 12:01

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