Every student–whether in high school, college, graduate school, or after–has asked the question:
Why am I studying this?
Behind the question are other questions: What’s the point? When will I ever use this?
The questions usually come when the work is hard or when the student can’t make an immediate connection between subjects previously studied and some possible future application of the current material.
When you find yourself wondering if your work has meaning and usefulness, I can think of at least two reasons to keep going.
- Sometimes the hard work of doing work, of solving problems, is the point.
- You may not know where you’re going until you get there. As Steve Jobs famously reminded a class of Stanford graduates, you can only connect the dots when you look back.
As a side note, today is President’s Day. One of my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotes appears on a statue outside the library of Lincoln College (also here in Lincoln):
I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.
Don’t give up.
Do the hard work, even though you may not see the value in it right now.