Re-establishing my Love of Science

So finals are officially over and I am free! What shall I do first? Burn my books? Sleep in until three o’clock? Attack on Titan marathon?

Nope. The day after finals, I go on Youtube. And instead of watching music videos, or maybe a cat playing with a chinchilla, I go straight to EduTube.

EduTube: (1) The sector of Youtube comprised of educational videos about science, technology, history, etc. (2) The location of the pastime of nerds such as leannaatc, who spends too much time on YouTube.

Typical EduTubing for me includes:

Vlogbrothers – This one was obvious given my recent discovery of Nerdfighteria. One of the kinds of videos John and Hank  post is Thoughts From Places, in which new surroundings have metaphorical implications:

Vsauce – Three versions of VSauce exist, numbered (1), 2, and 3; about the world, people and fictional worlds respectively. I like the original channel, Vsauce with Michael Stevens, in which he poses a seemingly simple question to spark a discussion about science, politics, and society. For example, here’s his answer to the question, “Will we ever run out of new music?”

TedTalks – This one is pretty popular, and TedTalks even has their own WordPress site. TED, standing for Technology, Education, and Discovery. TedTalks was how I discovered Sarah Kay, Phil Kaye, Sarah Jones, and a bunch of other great thinkers. Sarah Jones’s performance is a personal favourite of mine:

Veritasium – A fairly new one for me, but I’ve watched a few and enjoyed it. It is also about science. Since I can’t really recommend anything yet, here’s the trailer on his channel:

Vihart – Literally the best way to prove math is amazing–or is it theoretical? Nope, literal, since she draws everything out…but in an awesome way! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I present the (somewhat) famous line of infinite elephants:

minutephysics – Another channel making that subject you did not want to take in high school pretty much awesome through doodles. Here’s a video about “parallel universes”:

And finally…

CGP Grey – One of the channels on Youtube that does not have enough videos, CGP Grey produces videos explaining…well, everything. (In stick figure form!) Despite his symbol suggesting technology and science, most of Grey’s videos explain politics, and society, and COFFEE! (The Greatest Addiction Ever) The most recent “Grey Explains” video answers the question, “How many countries are there?”

So why bother going to school at all if I watch these videos? Or, a better question: Why am I watching these videos, since I spent so much time (and money) on going to post secondary school and doing well there?

Because: finals.

The problem with our current model of education is that students are brought into a state of mind that as long as the number on the fancy paper they call a “transcript” is high, they are doing well.

Well, that’s ridiculous.

Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated by the world around me, and I’m sure, to some extent, everyone is. The problem is once we start putting numbers to how much we can memorize about the world that we’re so fascinated about, we start worrying about the numbers more and amaze in the pure awesomeness of existence less.

That’s not to say I get terrible grades. I do fairly well, hence post secondary school.

But that previous statement in itself is the problem. To get into post secondary school, you need good grades, and its considered to be doing “fairly well” if you’re going to post secondary school. Get good grades in post secondary and BAM!

Numbers that quantify how well you memorize are all that exist.

I spent hours in the past two weeks studying for final exams, and when it was over, I found myself saying, “Thank goodness I will never have to take calculus again!”

(Admittedly, it felt pretty great.)

But looking back, that’s kind of sad. John Green in his TedTalk claimed that we are all mapmakers, and that the idea of mapmaking was that if we discovered something interesting to us, then we explored further, making more and more detailed maps of that area. And maps aren’t made to decide where we are going, they are a layout of the possibilities that are available to us.

And I’ve always been fascinated by those possibilities. I don’t want them to end. I want a map that stretches beyond the folds of my brain, beyond textbooks, and notes, and midterm exams. And EduTube gives me that. It reminds me why I am in school. Why I studied so hard.

Why I love to learn.

“What is the process of cartography? It’s, y’know, sailing upon land and thinking, ‘I’ll draw that bit of land.’ And then wondering, ‘Maybe there’s some more land to draw.'” – John Green, The Paper Town Academy (TedTalk)


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