Juggling too many balls in the air? Deep learning can help…

Lately we’re hearing from a growing number of college students who are struggling not only academically, but in all aspects of our fast-paced, increasingly complicated world.

On the academic side, they’re faced with the challenge of filling in the gaps left from the assembly-line approach of mainstream education and its resulting pattern of regressive learning behaviors.

Add today’s economy and society into the mix, and what you’re left with is in many ways akin to juggling several balls in the air while trying to ride a unicycle on a tightrope. Some students are holding down as many as three part-time jobs just to make ends meet.

Back in the good old 20th century, the classroom, workplace, and home were totally separate and distinct. In fact, the prevailing memes at the time demanded that you “leave your work at the door,” “leave family matters at home,” etc.

Clearly in this century, that’s no longer possible. Education, work and life are pretty much inseparable.

If you’re like most, you feel that you need a college degree in order to stay at least one step ahead in the race for jobs. So you register for college classes. The next thing you know it’s time for mid-term exams.

But you might also find yourself having to take care of family members – your kids, your spouse, your aging parents. All while racking up more college debt. Not to mention dealing with sleep deprivation – trying to catch a quick power nap here and there, then still having to draw on all your strength and willpower to keep from drifting off to sleep during a long-winded lecture in an evening class.

The good news is, there’s a way to make it all work. But first you have to break the mold of cramming for exams and instead, organize learning into more manageable segments. Where you explore and think about one topic at a time. Then slowly stitch those topics together in ways that make sense to you.

Try gently easing yourself into the habit of mentally enumerating topics throughout the course of the day, no matter how chaotic that day might be. Jot down your observations in handwritten narrative into a journal you always keep within reach. This will not only improve your learning in your college courses, but will help integrate that subject matter into everyday life – an added bonus that will pay huge dividends down the road.

Yes this sounds totally counterintuitive. Maybe even a bit crazy. But these chaotic times demand doing things in ways that are completely different from what you’re used to. Even if it means stretching way out of your comfort zone.

One thing is certain – the old ways no longer work. It’s time for a new approach. Deep learning, along with a process of guided self-discovery, is worth a try.

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