You've spent hours studying US history for your examinations, including reviewing past papers, which asks questions about the conditions that led to the formation of the New England Confederation in 1643. However, all this cramming seems hopelessly out of touch with the reality of your life. Even if you do eventually go to the US for your University studies, it's hard to envision how any of this knowledge will do you some good.
If you're thinking along these lines, you're going about your studies in the wrong way.
If you're thinking of US history as a boring litany of names, places, events, and dates, it will be an exhausting and tedious process.
If you're forcing yourself to just know enough about George Washington to earn a few extra points on an examination paper, you're not appreciating his contribution to reshaping world history.
Imagine if you were fortunate enough to be gifted with some presidential autographs, say, an original document signed by Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. Would you see it as just an interesting piece of paper or would you be fascinated by the opportunity to hold an original piece of history in your hands?
If you understood the true value of studying history, the document would be a living document for you.
How to Flourish as a Student
Studying something you feel completely indifferent about is a source of excruciating boredom. While focusing on passing the exam with flying colors is extrinsically rewarding, it still does not dispel the tedium of the process.
Moreover, when you are focusing on the ends, then you have to read the same passage over and over because you're bored out of your mind and find it difficult to pay attention long enough to absorb the information.
Contrast that scenario with studying something you feel intensely curious about. Suddenly studying becomes a source of joy. Focusing on understanding the information for its own sake is intrinsically rewarding.
Moreover, when you are focusing on the means, then you will rapidly understand the information. Not only will you enjoy the process of studying but you will also do exceedingly well in the examinations. Since you've enjoyed the entire process—studying and then expressing your understanding on an examination sheet—you will retain the information for a long time and may even add to it in the future.
3 Reasons to Fall in Love with History
Here are some ways that you can find your studies pleasurable and rewarding.
- History is a way to grow your knowledge about the nature of the world. As a result, history is intrinsically interesting.
- History is as fascinating as reading a novel or watching a good movie. What makes novels or movies interesting? The reason you find them interesting is because they tell stories—there are interesting characters, unusual circumstances, and the outcome takes you by surprise. You love some characters, hate others, and hope things will turn out a certain way. Well, history is full of all the elements of high drama, too. There are fascinating heroes, villains, and no shortage of drama, intrigue, conflict, and romance.
- History teaches lessons about life. You can learn from historical examples of the best ways to live a fulfilling life.
The Value of History
The reason you are not enjoying studying US History is because you don't live in the US and because even if you did go there, you wouldn't be able to use the information in everyday life. However, for history to be interesting, its significance has to be understood. If you grasped its inherent value, you would be thrilled at the opportunity to learn history.
The purpose of studying history is not to pass an examination, but to understand the world you live in much better. The better you understood the world, the more wisdom you would have about human life on this planet.
In fact, this wisdom would affect your own personal decision. You would be less likely to be duped by propaganda and more likely to discern the real nature of world events unfolding around you.
The fact that you are not studying the history of Pakistan doesn't make it any less relevant. Most historians study cultures, past and present, which are not related to their own. It makes for a more well-rounded education.
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