Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Routine, Repetition, and Rote Memorization

Routine and Repetition
When I was younger, I used to hate routine. I would say to myself, “Why don’t you just sentence me to death instead? That would probably be more fun.” Yeah, I was a morbid little kid. But regardless, how I feel now is vastly different. There is a part of me that appreciates the kind of routine that I’ve developed, mostly because I have a full time job. But I still don’t like repetition.

That’s why the full time job that I have currently is fantastic. While there is a routine, every project that I do brings about a new challenge. I have to challenge myself to write things differently and to present them in a new, unique way. Everything is slightly different, so it doesn’t have the repetition, just the routine.

Rote Memorization
I used to be amazing at this, honestly. I used to be able to ingrain things into my brain for hours, days, weeks, and then forget it all over the summer/winter break. I learned some things permanently, but most of it was lost along the way. I tested fantastically, that doesn’t mean that rote memorization actually taught me anything.

Though, because of some of my papers, I could discuss novel into film on a deep level. I could tell you the surrealism and post-modernity that Scrubs and Family Guy utilize to make their comedy funny. I could tell you how outdated the Copyright Laws are. I could tell you the premise behind The Taste of Cherries and why Iranian cinema relies on realistic filming to portray their stories. I could tell you how What Dreams May Come differs from the novel and the film and why certain artistic choices were made. Pretty much everything I learned was things that I was interested in – which, in the real world of things – isn’t entirely useful.

However, when was the last time that someone told me to solve for “x?” Or to calculate a chemistry equation? Or the composition of a plant versus an animal cell? The more I think about it, the more school seems pretty useless. I crammed all this stuff into my brain only to have it fall out in weird pieces and flakes, leaving gaps, holes, and strange nonsensical things.

That’s why I am much more for “exploring what you want to learn” instead of rote memorization. Nothing we do should be rote or repetitious. It should always be new and exciting. It should always be different – and it should always be something we like. Life is too short to study things that you don’t like and will probably never use again (Pre-calculus, *shakes fist*).


  1. That's so true. A lot of stuff I learnt at school (even university) while interesting in a trivial sense, mean very little to me now.

  2. Ah! But governments set the curriculum, do you not understand that is what they want, an educated society, but one that where only a few learn to think for themselves!