Alex’s Analysis – Getting Back Into It

posted by on 13th June 2011, at 11:16pm

Hey, y’all. How’s life. With June here, that means the majority of you must be looking forward to summer. Two months off school before you “get back into it”.

That’s what I’d like to talk about today. “Getting back into it”. This can mean multiple things, but it’s all in the same concept. Generally, it’s having gotten into a routine, straying from the usual work, and then picking it right back up again after a prolonged period of time.

Example of this is picking up a really fun game you haven’t played in several months. At first, it feels foreign, but as you continue to play it, memories come flooding back. You remember this part, you remember that part. Oh, I have to tap A here at the right time. Oh, there’s a secret entrance over here!

Sometimes it’s easy, and you get right back into it while almost forgetting you had a break. Other times, you feel like you fried your brain, or you feel very lightheaded. Almost as though you’ve started all over again.

An example of this is math class. …don’t think I need to enter details with this one. But you return to next grade math class, and usually have to spend almost a month on reviewing what you learned last year’s math class. Sure, some of it seems familiar, but then when you get your test back and find you only scored 85%, you panic. What happened? Where did all that knowledge go?

Now, why would you have forgotten something much more practiced like math, but not a video game? Math is all numbers – takes only a few kilobytes on a hard drive, while games are in the double-digit gigs! Why are some things just so hard to get back into?

One of the reasons is passion. The desire to do something. Perhaps because it’s fun, perhaps because it’s a dream, or perhaps because it’s something you found you’re naturally good at and want to maintain the bragging rights for as long as possible before somebody else shows you “how it’s done” and turns you off it forever. …yeah, I did like Pikmin once…

If you have a passion for something, your mind focuses on it a lot more actively, by prioritizing it higher in your mental list. It’s practiced more, it’s researched more, and therefore, it’s remembered more. Not only that, but because it’s a passion, if you ever stop doing it for a prolonged period of time, you are much more likely to take it up again because you also have reason to alongside the desire.

Another reason is enjoyment. Looking back at passion, it’s similar in the sense that you “want” to do it, but the reasons behind it are different. Instead of wanting to do it for whatever reason, your mind almost subconsciously wants you to do it instead, despite there really being no reason to it. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s painless, and most importantly, it’s fun. This is a gamer’s folly I’m talking about right here.

Gaming (I mean electronic video games; sports are a different matter) is purely for fun and wasting time. nothing else. You don’t profit from it. You don’t learn from- …OK, sorry. You don’t learn “much” from it. You cannot put it on your resume (except if you’re going into game development, but then you need to actually making it a habit to analyze and write 10-page essays about the games you play). Basically, it’s a body-rotter. So why do it? We know it in our subconscious memory. Unlike cigarettes, it doesn’t put any chemicals into us, and yet it’s an addiction!

Enjoyment. Subconscious desire. It’s a mental parasite that feeds on fun. It “wants” you to play. You can’t help but remember it because of how AWESOME it is. You cannot fight it because your desire and willpower is not strong enough. If you cannot overcome the urge of subconscious desire, you ARE going to ROT. …OK, that’s enough of that rant.

My point is, because games are an addiction, there’s a lot of repetition. And that’s the third reason: repetition. Because of the repetition, your game memories are locked into your mind almost subconsciously, and therefore when you pick up old games, you remember them a lot more than things you want to or need to remember. Like schoolwork.

Cramming doesn’t work because not only is there no passion, but there’s barely any repetition either. Nor is there any enjoyment. School lessons are usually not very enjoyable, and therefore, without the repetition or desire, it becomes difficult to pick it back up after only a couple months of absence.

So, how do we fix this?

How do we make it so you can easily “get back into” the important things in life? How do we make these dull, arduous tasks memorable?

Simply enough, we gotta get the three main elements into them: desire, enjoyment, and repetition.

Let’s use “mathematics” as an example. Going back to math class after summer break, you have a real tough time get back into the swing of things. Your mind has gone blank, you can’t remember any of the formulae, and you’re just not the whiz you used to be.

First: Desire. What sorts of careers do you want to undertake when you graduate school? Do they require good math skills? Then you NEED to know the right formulae. Do you want to take math courses at college or university because they’re a requirement for this career? If so, then you know you NEED to get this math stuff down. Are you in a math club, or are you planning on entering a math contest later in the future? One with a $50 000 grand prize? Well, there you go. You NEED that money, so you NEED to know as many formulae, tricks, and patterns possible. This is for your FUTURE! Stop living in the now; you need to look towards what’s going to happen! You NEED math! You NEED IT NOW!

If you really don’t need better marks at math or anything, then I suggest you repeat all that to yourself for about 30 or so minutes, all the while pulling open your math textbook and mulling over it very very slowly. Unless you have a good reason, you can pull off some artificial desire if you need to. Trick your mind into thinking it’s important. Make up a reason. Nevertheless, there’s usually always a reason, because otherwise you wouldn’t even bother with it.

Second: Enjoyment. Unless you’re like me, it’s difficult to enjoy math. There are such things as long hours in the library, getting more drool than pencil graphite on your grid paper, and things like that. You gotta enjoy it. Have a little fun with it.

One thing I like to do is draw a picture with one of my made-up characters doing something relative to the math. For example, when measuring the distance an object travels after a force is applied to it however many meters above the ground before it makes contact, I like to sometimes draw one of my characters actually throwing the object, just make it a little interesting. However, it’s key that you only doodle in the important areas, like when you learn a new formula, or when you do a more complicated problem, because then your mind will naturally be attracted to it (ah, I remember when I drew this) when you revise. With this newfound interest heightening your senses and arousing your brain, looking back onto the formulae and questions will become a little, if not a lot more enjoyable.

Another thing I like is classical or trance music. However, do NOT play any music with lyrics or anything that suggests lyrics, because that will get your mind thinking about the words instead and distract you. Contrary to conventional belief, no human can truly multi-task. They can switch back and forth repeatedly, but it’s impossible to think of two things at once. With classical music, it keeps your subconscious occupied as you read, because there’s nothing to translate or think about while the music plays.

Of course, there’s lots of ways to make a task enjoyable. When I program or type, I sometimes like to dance around a bit in my chair. Let my body move around a bit. Doesn’t take much brain power or focus, and it makes the job a bit more interesting. Or I talk out loud as I type, as though to the computer itself. Fun.

Third: Repetition. This is where studying comes in. You’re supposed to study for the sole purpose of getting repetition into your life. Cramming … that’s not repetition. That’s going over it again once. You didn’t know it properly then, and you still don’t know it now. Doesn’t work well.

Ah, but studying… Who likes studying? Very few. Takes up a good load of time; especially later in the school year, and we’re usually very tired at the end of the day anyways. So what do we do?

Easy. You’re too tired. So take advantage of it. Instead of studying late at night, you go to bed an hour early, wake up an hour early, and STUDY IN THE MORNING! Brilliant! Not only do you do it when your mind is refreshed, but by studying before school, you have your brain all fired up so you don’t miss anything in your first lesson when your brain starts to warm up and “get back into it”! You’ve already warmed up while you ate breakfast! Two birds with one stone! And the best part about this is after the school day, you’re even more tired than usual, so going to bed an hour early is a whole lot easier.

No drawbacks! It’s the perfect plan! All you have to do is summon the willpower and defeat the parasite of Gamer’s Folly, willing yourself to know your limit and sleep earlier.

With the studying done and in place, you’ll get repetition into the routine. All three elements in place, you’ll become a math genius in no time!

And this is just one or two ways to do one example! There are countless numbers of ways to do just about everything there is to do out there! All you have to do is think about it, and get back into it!

Until next time, cheers!

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