Seek knowledge without academic pressure

Opinion editor Katrina Liu urges readers to indulge their natural curiosity.

Graphic Karmyn Shreeve

Opinion editor Katrina Liu urges readers to indulge their natural curiosity.

Katrina Liu, Opinion Editor

At the age of seven, I remember being curious about so many different aspects of life. I wondered why the sky was blue. I wondered why people could cry when they were extremely happy and extremely sad. I constantly asked questions, almost to the point where my family got annoyed of me. Or I would make up the answers in my head. For example, I decided power plants were extreme version of playgrounds.

Back then we had the time to be curious, in fact, we were encouraged to. Now, as high schoolers, that time feels almost nonexistent. That is simply due to the fact that we are more busier than before with academic and social pressures. Still, I believe our curiosity level has lowered because our want to learn has decreased.

That’s not totally our faults. We learn so much information in school and retain that information by doing assignments outside of class. By the time we would have free time, we are mentally exhausted. And because we gain so much knowledge in school, we often find that we don’t need to seek our own anymore, as it seems everything we really need to know is taught to us.

But that’s not true. It isn’t.

There is more out there then what is in our curriculum. There has to be. And you have to find it. The curiosity is still inside of you, even as you’ve grown older and realized the world isn’t as happy of a place as you originally thought.

Often times, the most interesting things we learn about life are through our own findings. Whether it’s reading an article about an interesting tourist site in Norway or watching a Buzzfeed Unsolved video about a 1960s murder mystery, we gain tidbits of knowledge from a variety of sources.

Not only is finding out new information rewarding, but being able to discuss it with others is just as big a motivator. You are spreading your knowledge while also gaining different perspectives, and maybe even some new facts. Being able to offer something to the table while also taking something away is an instigator to seek knowledge on your own time.

I understand that it takes more effort, and as a student who rarely has any free time, it takes a lot of motivation to put the effort in. It’s easier to just brush past information that isn’t going to be on a test. It’s easier to just accept that something is true without doing much individual research.

But I encourage you, even if it’s only for a couple minutes a day, to take the initiative to learn something new, whether big or small. Click that one article that made you stop scrolling through your newsfeed for a second and take a minute to read it. If a question pops up in your mind, a quick Google search would suffice. This information may not be on a test, but you could be expanding on previous interests while also discovering new ones. That sounds like a pretty good reward.