The most valuable thing I learned in grad school

All the knowledge you could possibly want is out there. You’re a smart person. You can teach yourself anything you want. Then, why go to grad school?

What can grad school do for you that you can’t do for yourself?

In other words, why do you need a teacher?

I remember a time when I looked at an academic research paper, understood almost every word on the page, yet the meaning of the article as a whole was a mystery to me. Then a teacher came along, asked some good questions, and all of a sudden, the meaning of the reading appeared, as if a secret code had been deciphered.

The most valuable thing I learned in grad school has nothing to do with content. I learned how to read. How to think. I learned how to learn.

It’s this process of thinking, inquiring, and understanding that I hope to teach to my students. Beyond content, this is the skill that changes who you are forever. It changes how you see the world.

I asked my husband what’s the most valuable thing he learned in grad school. His answer was:

To know how to look for something when I’m not sure, and to know when I found it.

What’s the most valuable thing you learned in grad school?

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