How do you know that you are learning?

Posted by on November 13, 2015

How do you know that you are learning?

I find myself asking this question repeatedly at the end of each semester and even more harshly at the end of each year. Yes, I’ve taken five classes that have fancy titles and they were taught by someone named Dr_____ but I also feel like the same person that I was a few months ago. Did I actually learn something during long hours in the library, labs, and classroom lectures?

The answer is undoubtedly yes, I know that I am learning something here at Wofford. I have memorized, I have verbalized, and I have analyzed material in front of classmates and professors. I have received passing grades in my classes and I’ve celebrated A’s on exams. So why, then, do I feel as if I am the same person after each semester?

The following are necessary for a successful learning experience at Wofford: a drive to pursue success, an understanding of resilience, and the motivation to finish strong. 12-page papers, 20-minute presentations, 140 term lab exams and nights with 150 pages of assigned readings are all situations that required a “drive” for success.

Sometimes those papers, presentations, and exams don’t go as well as planned. Then the question really hits home deep, what are you learning? In these situations, I find peace in my own resilience. Every Wofford student knows that each week’s workload is unpredictable. We may have three tests one week and none the following two. Resilience is crucial- you must be able to gather strength wherever you can find it and keep moving forward. When you finish the first test you grab a quick cup of Joe and power through the material for the next test. Once the final test is over you celebrate in knowing that you did it—you drove forward and conquered a seemingly insurmountable task. This ability to continue powering through testing conditions shows a developing Wofford student.

Finally, one must identify a means of motivation in order to work full-force. My motivation has always been to do the best that I can now, for the future is uncertain. I apply this simple logic to everyday tasks and I have only been rewarded. There will be assignments that test your resilience. Sometimes you will question if you have the drive to continue, but your motivation will steer you forward.

The completion of a semester is a blessing. You are many steps closer to graduating from an institution of higher learning. With that comes some stress, which always brings me back to: how do you know that you are learning?

The answer has become simpler with each lapsing semester. Every testing moment throughout each week during each semester is preparing me for a bigger situation, a bigger assignment, a bigger problem. How I work now directly affects how I will respond in the future.

Well, Wofford, you have taught me, you have tested me, and I have tested myself, and for that I cannot thank you enough. I enjoy my assignments each day. I enjoy writing ridiculously long papers and I even enjoy criticism from my professors. Wofford has given me the tools and appetite to persevere and that gives me peace of mind.


-Madison W. Jones

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