Elizabeth Santiago: Challenge yourself to learn more than is being taught

When I was a freshman, a psychology course completely changed my perspective on life.

I remember on the first day of class my professor provided a reality check to us that we so desperately needed. He wanted to erase the stigma that students often feel that they should just go to college with the focus of obtaining a job upon graduation.

Most of us, myself included, came to the university with career goals in place, and college was a vital piece to the puzzle. Even now, many students I know view their colleges as vocational schools rather than institutions that promote learning.

In 2012, according to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, 74.6 percent of incoming university students said an important reason to attend college is “to make more money.”

Where has the love for learning gone?

In prior centuries, when we had less technology, learning was more appreciated. All the progress that has been made up to this point is due to a natural curiosity and a hunger for learning that could only be fed with answers.

Galileo, Plato, and Newton were not focused on the wealth they would gain nor the title they would hold when they sought the answers to their questions. They succeeded because they learned how to learn, and with that they were able to set ideas that would propel us into the centuries to come.

The majors that we declare all have a unique purpose within them. Each class that is taught provides a different glimpse of a bigger picture. With every component that is understood, we are more equipped to understand society’s progress and continue expanding on those foundations.

It is the knowledge that we obtain, our ability to learn and our potential to grow that gives significance to our diplomas. This is what graduate programs and employers look for. Sometimes we are so focused on the end goal that we lose sight of education’s purpose.

Education provides us with certain tools that you can’t copy, paste, or even Google. Unfortunately, a majority of students haven’t gotten that memo.

In 2006, a panel of higher education representatives released the following statement: “We are disturbed by evidence that the quality of student learning at U.S. colleges and universities is inadequate and, in some cases, declining…” and “Employers report repeatedly that many new graduates they hire are not prepared to work, lacking the critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today’s workplaces.”

Though our opportunity and technology has increased significantly, many students are still finding themselves unprepared to take on the world. I believe that students have moved into an era in which many study with the purpose of passing exams rather than studying to truly learn and understand the material and the tools that are provided.

UCF is known for its diversity, but we are all intricately connected by our pursuit of knowledge. We have been provided the best of teachers and many other resources to ensure that we are successful and expand our minds to new horizons.

Let us prepare best for our futures by challenging ourselves to learn more than what is being taught and use our classes as a foundation for learning outside the classroom. Let us change ourselves to branching out and familiarizing ourselves with concepts outside of our “life plans.” I am sure we’d find an unexpected connection.

Instead of regarding college as just a prerequisite to our careers, let us see the beauty in learning. Know that with every exam, assignment and lecture, we are one step closer to cracking life’s code.


Elizabeth Santiago is a UCF junior majoring in psychology and a member of the President’s Leadership Council. She can be reached at [email protected]. Column courtesy of Context Florida.


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  • Andreza

    February 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    (Camera) **Updated June 30, 2011**After our trip to Disneyland and California Adventures I have a few issues with this caerma. When using it in a setting like this; IE turning it on and off, focusing and zooming, quick shots in an array of settings she didn’t do so well. The biggest issues was focusing. I was wondering why this caerma wouldn’t focus at times when the settings didn’t change. Turns out that I had to turn the caerma off and back on, almost like I had to reset it. NOT COOL! At a theme park like this where you need to get the shot on the fly, I was getting very frustrated. I still like this caerma, but things like this reinforce that my next caerma will be a DSLR. I know it’s still a point and shoot caerma but something like this is unforgiveable. I’ll be heading to San Diego next and I’ll keep an eye out for this. Oh get another battery for this puppy as well. I took about 245 shots and two short videos before my caerma went out. THAT was my fault. **I’ve had this caerma for about three weeks now. Did not know my review would be this long. Sorry.** After months of looking, researching, web surfing, asking friends, bugging friends, waiting, and Google picture searching, I have FINALLY chosen the Sony Cybershot DX9 as my next point and shoot caerma. A tiny bit of history: My first digital caerma was a Sony Cybershot DSCN1 8.1 MP and was an absolutely magnificent caerma. I had it for 5 years before I fatally dropped and killed it. My second digital caerma was the Sony DSC-T99 and the absolute WORST caerma I have ever owned! I had no problem being loyal to Sony because of the DSCN1 but they almost ruined it with the T99! So I made it a point to do so much research for my next caerma, Dan Brown would be jealous. I used so many websites to do my research I felt like that geek who started FaceBook.Here are the caermas that were in the running: Canon Power Shot SX230HS, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX9, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3, and the Nikon Coolpix S9100.Given everything that today’s P&S caermas possess, I was just looking for one thing: it had to take very good pictures. Period. I know, I know, I know get a DSLR. Maybe one day, but for today I just want a P&S that could fit in my pocket grab that perfect shot. I KNOW for a fact that P&S caermas can take great photos because I had one, the DSCN1. So I know it could happen; I just wanted it to happen again. Having panorama shots, 3-D, Hi-Def video, GPS, and other bells and whistles are all well and good but (again) I just wanted a caerma that would echo or exceed the pictures my DSCN1 took. I’ll try and post links to the picture albums that I took with my various caermas so you can see the difference in picture quality.This first initial posting of this review will be a condensed journal or sorts with me adding stuff willy-nilly as I learn more and experience more with this caerma.Here goes Control Wheel: After a few days of use (and taking pictures of every useless thing I could think of) I have grown weary of the control wheel. This is easily the albatross around the neck of this caerma. I have started teaching myself to use the menu button because it is much easier to navigate than the wheel. My problem with the wheel is that it’s extremely sensitive and you need to have fingers the size of Tom Thumb to work it with no problems. Now, I WAS able to get the hang of it after practice but why bother when I can get to the EXACT same functions with the menu button? However, don’t get me wrong here, the control wheel is a very important functioning part of this caerma, and Sony has worked it so that you have to use it to get to a lot of the different scenes. All I’m saying is that the less you use it the smoother your working of this caerma will be. (PLEASE bring back the touch screen Sony).The menu: While nice, takes some getting used to but once you do, you’ll fly through it. There was a little scratching of my head when I was trying to figure out the difference between intelligent auto and superior auto . I imagine there were some chuckles in the board room on that one. There is also a small delay when passing the 3-D icon. I imagine this is because the caerma has to set itself for a whole different set of parameters when doing that. Nothing big, but worth a mention.Focus: Focusing is good on regular shots, but not great when you use the full aspect of the 5x zoom. It could be better and the pictures do lose some of that bite when you get in a little too far, but I think that is just par for the course with a P&S. (right?)Movies: Admittedly I’ve only taken a few token videos only because I wanted to see if I could. I don’t see myself using this feature a lot, but if I come across something good I’ll let you know. The test videos I have taken have

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