I was on my high school track team. I enjoyed it immensely. I walked away learning quite a bit from that experience. One of the greatest lessons I learned had nothing to do with the importance of keeping my knees high or the difference between fast-twitch or slow-twitch fibers. It was the difference between being good and being great.
In one word, the difference is conditioning.
Great runners are in great condition. Whether you are a sprinter or a long-distance runner, conditioning makes the difference. Conditioning comes from practice; performing a task over and over until what was once hard for you becomes easy. When you first step on the track, running 200 yards or 400 yards may be difficult but with continued practice, your body becomes better conditioned. The same principle applies for students when attending college.
I am often asked by students, “Why am I taking the same courses in college I have already taken in high school?”
My response is, “it’s conditioning . . .”
Think back to your days in the K-12 system. You take reading, writing and arithmetic. You’ve taken those classes over and over in what seems like an endless sequence of monotonous learning. You see the progress, you learn the lessons, and then it happens, you graduate from High School and a wondrous thing occurs; you’re accepted to college. You walk into the hall of academia and you are ready to have you mind opened to the mysteries of the universe, and the first set of classes you are given consist of reading, writing, and of course, arithmetic.
The simple truth that many colleges don’t explain to you is that fundamental to the “Three R’s”, Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic, is that the education system is trying to equip you with a skill set. The anchors of this skill set is the ability to communicate, comprehend, and thinking logically.
Coinciding with communication is the ability to comprehend what is being communicated. Researchers tell us that there are two types of reading comprehension skills: concrete and abstract. Both of these types of comprehension necessitate that the reader has suitable processing and working memory skills. Increased comprehension skills, specifically reading comprehension, allows one to make connections, ask questions, and prioritize information they have read.
Logical thinking is the process of using reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking call for structure, for relationships between facts, and for chains of reasoning that “make sense.”
The logical thought process involves taking the important ideas, facts, and conclusions involved in a problem and arranging them in a chain-like progression that takes on a meaning in and of itself. To think logically is to think in steps, or sequentially. It is logical thinking that enables us to understand things that we read about or are shown, and to build on that knowledge without incremental guidance.
Understanding that college prepares a person to communicate well, comprehend better, and think more logical, can add a valuable perspective that can serve as a strong motivator when times get tough.
Until next time!