Thursday, October 21, 2021
Making Explicit the Implicit -- Take the Road Less Traveled
Poet Robert Frost writes:
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- The Road Not Taken
With midterm exams over (or soon to be complete), students have a choice, a road to choose, a path to navigate. Indeed, regardless of one's exam results, much is to be learned.
However, if you, dear student, are like me at all, I was (and still am) fearfully afraid of my professors. That's the road most of us take.
But there's another road one might take.
It's a road, as the poet suggests, that can make all of the difference. And it's not too late for you to take that road. Reach out to your professors, indeed, seek them out. Ask them to walk through your midterm exams with you, personally or in a small group. Listen to them, converse with them, share your thoughts as you worked through your midterm exams, and let the conversation enrich you as you learn what you did that was outstanding (and why) along with concrete ways to improve (and how).
In particular, ask them to read through the question with you. Most of the time, I find, that when people underperform on exams, it's because they knew too much but, in the rush of the moment, they wrote too hastily before they had properly read, identified, and analyzed the precise questions and issues raised. It's as though we are primed to spill as much ink as possible in the hopes of making something stick. But, much as in the practice of law, our best work happens when we take the time to deeply read, to curiously think through, and methodically organize our responses.
In short, the way to improve is to learn and the only way to learn is to take the road less traveled, the road that opens up ourselves to challenges, that feels risky (and is), that feels lonely (and is), and that is not necessarily pleasant (it isn't). However, it's a road that, in hindsight, you'll be mighty glad that you took. And, as a suggestion, grab a friend, go as a team, prepare together, share together and learn together. Wishing you the best in your learning travels! (Scott Johns).