The Planes, The Train, and The Road
“I probably know this but I can’t really remember”.
“Oh! I should have known this answer. It was on the tip of my tongue”.
“Come on guys.. You should have remembered this. You have already taken it”.
Strange dialogue, isn’t it? You probably wonder about the space around it. It’s actually a way to dive into the deepest minds, and a reason to start thinking. Maybe a little story would be enough to put the puzzles together.
During my years of studies in Mechanical Engineering at the Lebanese International University, I used to take notes during every session (well, most of them probably). These notes were supposedly enough to prepare for an exam. At least, that’s what I thought. During the exam period, I used to go through questions and ask myself: “We took this before!? I think I remember solving this kind of question in class!”; and I ended up getting an average good mark provided that the exam was relatively easy. But when it comes to solving a relatively hard problem, the brain lock is unlocked! and no more light bulbs flowing over your head. I’ve wondered why getting easy questions solved quickly and frustrating over solving the “biggest mystery” was like trying “cutting the wall in half, and by hand”.
Not only that, but you also lose the chance of getting things stuck in your head after passing the course, or maybe even when finishing the exam.
How would you consider passing a course without memories?
This was so frustrating. I even once withdrew from a course after I felt that I failed in the midterm exam.
In the following year, I took the same course with a well-known professor. This time was different. I clearly remember how he used to stress on the word “READ FROM THE BOOK!” in every, and I mean it, every session. I’ve wondered the importance of this sentence every time he mentions it. “What difference will it make!”. It actually made all the difference! Reading is the golden word; and thinking about all the treasure inside it unleashes all the eager inside yourself; and the ability to think becomes larger making the hardest problem a structured path to solution. That’s the goal. I admit that this takes much effort than doing other things like taking notes or watching videos; but it is indeed the best way. The improvement I made was valuable and I kept making advancements over the years by taking steps forward in improving the way I read. I summarize pretty much everything, especially important details.
To make my idea more clear, success stories are the best examples. How would you describe a person not being able to attend any or most of his university classes? How would you imagine this person’s future? This must be an easy question and you would tell me: “Well, complete failure!” That’s predictable to a certain extent. But in actuality, you are so far from being true. That person did manage to pass most of his courses, or probably all of them with fantastic academic performance. Not only that, he has managed to complete his PhD in one year instead of three!
I honestly found this person exceptional in the way he thinks, teaches, and the way he manages to learn. He was my doctor for three courses and I managed to learn a lot from him. But how did he do it?
The actual questions I asked in the very beginning of “your” blog are still there . They, with all other questions, lead to the same answer, and to the same origin of why I am filling this blog with never-ending life stories about my academic life. This all leads to your origin, to your way of thinking, and to the way you process information. It is related to how you even acquire knowledge; not even academic knowledge but any knowledge.
It is simply the answer to how and why, not to what and which and how much and all these questions for answering the most hysterical problems. It is by reading that you can be whatever you want because you can learn everything. It is by reading that you can earn that super golden key that lets you think of whatever you want and create. It is what lets you trim the path towards success. it is what you want.
Reading is what makes you special and finish your PhD in a third of its time despite the fact that you weren’t even able to attend classes at your university.
It is the plane that you can make, not only drive. It is the train for which you draw the trailer, and it is the road that you imagine, create and drive all the way through.