Always a Scholar, Never an Academic

TL:DR | Taking it upon myself to grasp the notions of academia, and make sure my path is not squandered. Explaining the alternative route of self-education.

5 min read
Always a Scholar, Never an Academic

Growing up I was a terrible student, but I loved to learn. Some of my teachers saw that, and helped me along the way. If you're reading this right now, then thank you. Other teachers kept the mindset of that you need to go to college, and that was the only way to success. I truly didn't have any intention to go, for I remember even writing to colleges for class work, and simply feigning my eagerness for my teacher's happiness.

Some of my best learning experiences were that of when I pursued my own development, and were able to go at my own pace. I remember taking an online course, and it was gruellingly slow. At a snail's pace, and for someone with a lot of energy like myself it wasn't going to work. Nowadays I can go through a 30 hour course/MOOC in less than 15 hours.

I may not have been serious about my grades, but I was always serious about my learning. I just needed more control over it.

Taking more after the second definition there. A scholar is someone pursues the same education as an academic, but goes beyond the basic requirements. Imbuing their devotion to the learning of the subject.

One of my favorite stories to share is that of when I was a junior in secondary school. In the span of a few months I voraciously read through the philosophy and world religions section of the school library. Almost like a laser beam, gunning straight to that area every time. To me it felt like the highest potential for reward of learning and wisdom.

The Years of Schooling

In the U.S. we spend 12 years or so in school, and that is about the same for the rest of the world. However it is purely training to be cogs in the wheels of corporations.

There is a reason why school classrooms are orientated in the same way as business meeting rooms. It was built as a model during the 2nd industrial revolution, to create more able minded workers for factories.

There needed to be a baseline of knowledge for everyone, and it worked at the time. Too well in fact, that we incorporate the same model a hundred years later, and suffer for it now.

The narrow mindedness of how schools operate squander any sort of creative potential. Let alone, any chance for divergent thinkers, and those of a more visual and kinesthetic learning variety to be successful.

The Fault of a Scholar in Academia

I hope we don't see this too much considering the rise of liberal arts degrees, but there are a type of people who pursue their various learnings in the traditional way. They are the people who stay in college for far too long, and don't do anything with the degree or knowledge they aquired.

You can look at a prime example in Ryan Reynolds' Van Wilder film, where the protagonist spends nearly a decade at Coolidge College. This idea of the Dilettante, or someone who pursues many areas, without really going deep into them.

The Rise of the Gentleman Scholar

I have spent too much time learning, and because of that I have now to spend it creating to catch up. Creation is just one way of outputting information, but that is the goal for any such endeavor. To take an input, then lead it to a sort of output. Even if that is just a personal journal, or a Fireside Codex entry. ;)

Gentleman Scholar (Definition)
The idea is someone who spends their time being the best โ€œmanโ€ they could be (surely applies to other genders just as well), and that also means learning as much as they could. Some could consider Gentlemen Scholars as Dilettantes, or people who learn much without much to show for it.

A Scholar Doesn't Look for Validation

Looking good in the eyes of others through social validation, is the number one reason why people go to college.

Akin to Diogenes, one must tread their own path, so that the learning they seek are what they actually want. When you go with the flow of the crowd, you then lose the sparkle of uniqueness that is you. The areas of knowledge that You crave to learn, and the building of the path that You strive for.

Why Caring What Others Think Breeds Mental Illness

Scholars Lead to Genius, Both Lead to Success

Inner development brings in harmony, and brings one success in life. Perhaps not in the view of the common opinion, but in the eyes of the brilliant minds of the world. People who would be peers or mentors to the successful.

What can we learn from the secret habits of genius? โ€“ Craig Wright | Aeon Essays
I travelled the world and trawled the archive to unearth the hidden lessons from historyโ€™s most brilliant people

I'm not saying I'm a genius, and even the person who wrote the article above said the same. However there are patterns to genius that we can sometimes follow, and some of the most brilliant minds were autodidactic. Destined to learn, and enthralled by finding out more information/knowledge/wisdom.

Someone doesn't become a genius through academia, it just doesn't really happen. They become a genius in school because of their extra curricular activities, or in other worlds self-education.

In Truth

We still need the baseline of learning, and cultivating an educated nation. However HOW we learn doesn't have to be the same, and that is the philosophical motivation behind the Modular Degree.

With the Modegree people have choice, and that is what leads to learning more. When you actually care about a subject you will spend countless hours learning it.

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