Posted by: unlikelygrad | March 5, 2010

one way in which being older is an issue…

Generally speaking, I think that my age (=better judgment/more life experience/etc.) has made me a better student. Alas, there is at least one area where this is not the case: memorization. I used to be top notch at learning/remembering trivia (as well as “important info” required for classes). Now I am mediocre at best.

As a rule, there’s a lot less memorization required for grad classes, so this change didn’t affect me much until recently. Alas, this semester I am taking mineralogy–a remedial (undergrad level) class meant to fix my appalling lack of geology background.

Mineralogy requires boatloads of memorization.

I spend my morning commute (30 minutes by bus) working through flashcards of mineral formulas and such. I spend free time in my office trying to learn other essential mineralogical info. I am still floundering.

I don’t just want to pass this class: I want to master this info. Part of the research I am doing for my thesis involves electron microscopy of dust; the ability to recognize minerals by their crystal structure is going to be vital to my success.

I keep telling myself that somehow it will all work out. In the mean time, I keep plugging along.


  1. I’ve struggled with my memory even though I’m very young (24).. fortunately for me, my field didn’t/doesn’t (Physics/Psychology) involve memorization but the ability to memorize is an ability to form associations between stuff efficiently so that retrieval is easy.. I’m sure it can be improved if we focus a little bit on that. You are not old enough to start having issues with memory, neither am I. So I think this has more to do with what we prioritize while storing information in the first place. It would be good if we could actively tell ourselves that this is stuff that we will need to retrieve efficiently from memory, so while encountering information, we could help memory by consciously telling ourselves that this is stuff that we need to retrieve later on. Just being conscious of it will help, in my opinion. Now its time for me to put this in action 😛

  2. […] It finally hit me how much memorization is required to master […]

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