Saturday, April 9, 2011

The switch finally flipped!

Learning about LIS has, in more ways than I realized until just now, been less like learning about a new subject and more like learning a new language through immersion.

For the first two quarters, I found myself really struggling not just to understand the concepts and ideas being presented to me, but to really understand the vocabulary used to illustrate them and to figure out how they all connect to each other under the big umbrella that is LIS. I managed to do relatively well in most of the classes I took, but it felt a lot like when I was back in high school taking chemistry or physics or calculus - I knew how to do use the tools I was given, but I didn't really understand how or why they worked.

Then, all of a sudden, I realized about a week ago while slogging through the readings for 550 that holy shit, I'm actually getting this. The last week of readings and listening to lectures has been so much better than anything I've done so far in the iSchool because for the first time, I really feel like I'm at almost 100% comprehension and retention. I understand what we're talking about, I understand the relationships between the ideas and concepts we've studied in the past and how they relate to what we're doing now, and most importantly, for the first time I really feel engaged in the material. It's becoming less of a chore and more exciting than I could have imagined!

The parallel to learning a new language is uncanny. I've never had to learn a language through immersion, but from everything I know about how it works, it usually takes around six months for everything to click, and once it does, learning becomes so much easier and more enjoyable. Took me slightly more than six months for my own switch to flip, but even a week of this increased comprehension and engagement has more than made up for the six months of struggling to understand.

I really feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be now, and that's an incredible feeling to have. ^_^

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