Re-Learning How to Learn

As a very humble 14-year old in high school, I told my mother, “I am just not an academic.” It wasn’t that I couldn’t get the grades that my parents might have wanted, I didn’t apply myself. Simply put – I thought high school was boring and I didn’t care enough. Ten years later, I’m 24 years old and lamenting the fact that I have four projects on the go with two due Sunday. And you know what? I think I’m having a blast! As it turns out, I might be more academically inclined than I thought.

I started the adventure back into learning by looking for an intro into the guiding world. As I laboriously passed another sheet of plywood to my buddy on the roof of the house we were building, all I could think about was the next climbing adventure.

Through the buggy, muddy, sweaty hikes to the crag, to the painstakingly cold belays at the bottom of an ice climb, I just knew this was it, this was the path, more people need to do this. So, I asked Google “how to become a climbing guide” and Google provided an answer. I needed to go back to school.

Having just about finished the first semester of the Mountain Adventure Skills Training program at the College of the Rockies, I have finally discovered how to learn.

Firstly, with great respect to my high school teachers, if I’m not interested in a topic, my brain shuts off. Although this is still a struggle, being aware of it allows me to manage these daydreams and get back on track. Secondly, seeing how much passion these teachers and guides bring to this program, has really kept me involved and excited about learning from them. These teachers really know their stuff! 

We’ve been able to go from learning steps in the classroom to navigating our own paths through glaciers. How cool is that? Thirdly, the majority of our “classroom” work is outside! If only learning had brought me outside this much in high school.

Though my 14-year old self would have never ever guessed I would be enjoying college, I’m certain he would approve of my path. I have found a program that has opened up many learning avenues that I’m passionate about. There are still some days I find myself sitting in the classroom, daydreaming or staring at the clock  eagerly waiting to go home... even  though this time, the homework is actually interesting.