“When am I ever going to use this info?” That is the burning question lingering quietly in the busy minds of all students. It could be elementary, middle, high school, or even college… some people arrive at this curious thought earlier than others. When the time comes, the student naturally wants to see a clear relationship between theoretical educational lessons from class and real world practical application.
At the initial moment of questioning it’s easy for a student to discredit the theoretical academic lessons, making an assumption that the information is useless outside of the classroom. “When will I ever need to do complex factorials or find determinants of multi dimensional matrices? Will I ever really need to recite the dates of prominent historical events?” The answer is simple: Maybe you will, and maybe you won’t.
The key is to become conscious of the fact that you will never truly appreciate the importance of the knowledge you have learned until the moment you actually need it. This split-second epiphany of understanding is rather astonishing. It’s simply one of the most satisfying experiences in an educational career, the instant it all comes together. In that silent moment, one makes the clear connection between formal education and real world application. This moment too comes at different times for different people, but it’s a brilliant feeling when the childhood world of formal education that most of us live in for nearly 2 decades intersects fluidly with a problem placed before you in adulthood.
Yes, it is impossible to retain every theoretical lesson ever learned. That’s just an obvious predicament we must live with. The important thing is to understand why it was not a waste of time, something I think we all eventually figure out for ourselves.