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Learning Is Your Responsibility

Learning is the responsibility of the student, not the teacher.
— Unknown

I have often seen people who went to relatively unknown or “average” schools and universities become highly accomplished and educated, while students at very prestigious schools fail to learn half as much and end up destined for mediocrity. What determines the difference? Ultimately, the most important factor is not where one studies or who the teacher is, but rather how vigorously one applies oneself to learning. It is the student, not the teacher, who matters most in the learning process.

Truth be told, this is a lesson I wish I had embraced more fully and a bit earlier in life. Although I am very fortunate to have had an excellent education, looking back in hindsight (which is always a bit more clear a view than the present) I can see plenty of times where I wish I’d applied myself just a bit more; times where I could have stayed in and soaked up every last detail of some mathematical concept or philosophical idea, instead of perhaps cutting things short to hang out with friends or go for a drink. Certainly, studying relentlessly is almost never the more entertaining or fun option, but in the long run, it will pay off in spades. It’s an investment in the future, and the returns are great.

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