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Artem Frolov

Learning to think, Id say, is the number one skill that should be strived to acquire in
college. Ive heard a lot of people talk about the wasted years in school that didnt equate to a
degree, or even if a degree did come of it, no career in the same field followed. Yet, some how, I
just dont believe that those years were completely spent in vain. Sure, the time was spent
developing direct skills and acquiring specific knowledge that is no longer being applied, but can
that really be called a waste? No, and in fact, during the process of education, a person learns
new ways of thinking that will allow him to apply them in the future regardless of conscious
awareness. Ive personally witnessed this happen coming into freshman year. I began noticing
that I felt comfortable in the free-flowing style of the Inquiry class. I didnt feel a need to be
studying down-stream facts that have concrete and well-defined answers (as Dr. Flower
commonly referred to them) and enjoyed the freedom of novel learning of current events and
issues of the world. I found it to be quite bemusing that so many others in the class wanted
classic textbook-style teaching and structured curriculum. After a couple days of puzzlement, I
realized that my comfort with the style stemmed directly from the set up of several classes my
senior year in high school. I was comfortable with continuous open discussions and always knew
how to contribute generously to the class.
I set myself the task of learning to think in college. I dont know, honestly, how long Ill
remember the process of the nitrogen cycle and its direct involvement in making food and
environmental disaster or the details of The Wind Up Girl. But I do know that the skills I learned
to notice and appreciate the complexities of issues will linger for a few decades. Over the year,
Ive spent many hours pondering questions that had no definitive answers. When asked to justify
my reasoning, I couldnt simply look it up in a book. Discussions in class often consisted of
bouncing ideas off of each other. This included both analysis of issues as well as proposals of
potential solutions. Looking back, I can clearly see how my ability to take into account a wide
array of interdisciplinary details in each issue. I saw that I was challenged by the professor and
peers to consider the multifaceted elements that may not be apparent at first glance. What would
this technology mean politically? How would economic relations internationally be affected with
the introduction of a GMO to a country? How far can a resolution be stretched before its
consequences outweigh the benefits? I started noticing how my ability to simultaneously think

on a broad level improved and carried over to all of the reading material I encountered in class as
well as everything else I took in in my personal life.
This interdisciplinary appreciation expanded my love for education past the hard
sciences. Taking social sciences outside of my major requirements. Taking psychology and
sociology have brought out in me a new perspective on human behavior and have made me
consider many more factors when I observe peoples actions. Ive realized that there are so many
unseen and subconscious influences that push people toward certain tendencies. Knowing this
has allowed me to be much more forgiving toward people even when I am directly wronged. Ive
gotten rid of many prejudices this year, and have become more accepting of people. Itll be
exciting to see how this will continue to progress as I continue my higher education.
Meeting fellow students that have put before themselves high aspirations has pushed me
pursue my own career and life goals. Its inspiring to meet other people who are driven by their
dreams and too dont pay attention to the remarks of others that only try to shoot down
imagination. Beyond the students, Ive also met a number of truly inspiring adults that have
taken the time to listen to my plans and been able to encourage me tremendously. Theres
nothing like having a successful businessman look you in the eye and say, You know, I really do
think you can do this. The support of family and friends has too pushed me to strive for the best
grade and perform well in academics. Im excited to see how the rest of my undergraduate
education will play out and how it will affect my dreams about medical school and beyond. I
cant see very far from the current vantage point, but the end is already closer than it was; I am
25% done.