Beware of Hermione

Hermione Granger is a freak. As a fellow nerd, Hermione was always my favorite character from the Harry Potter series because she did great things with the knowledge she studied.

A nerd differs from a genius, in my opinion, in that a genius’ knowledge is of mysterious origin, whereas a nerd studies hard.

Velma Dinkley from “Scooby Doo” was a genius. No one knew how she knew what she knew. Hermione showed up at Hogwarts not knowing anything about the magical world, and because of her hard work, she became a powerful wizard.

But the older I get, the more I realize that Hermione is not a good role model because she is a freak.

She remembers and understands everything she studies and is able to apply it during an emergency. Even in magical history (which would have been my favorite class at Hogwarts) she is able to learn lessons while her classmates sleep and drool.

In the real world, however, it is unlikely that we will remember even half of what we learn here at the U. I’m approaching my fifth year at this illustrious institution, and the loss of knowledge I gained during my first year haunts me like Hamlet’s father. What’s worse, a project I’m working on this semester is requiring me to go back and reread articles I read during years three and four. I’m not sure I really learned anything from them the first time around.

You see, the first time around, the articles were just abstract facts and opinions. Now that I need to understand the information because I have to apply it, they say completely different things.

It’s not fair to say I didn’t understand what I previously read; it’s more accurate to say I understand it differently now. The first time I read the assignments, I was introduced to new words and ideas. Reading the articles a second time, I better understand what the author was saying with the words and ideas.

As a veteran student, I wish to impart to younger students three lessons these experiences have taught me:

1. Learning something once is usually not enough.

2. Look for ways to apply what you learn if you hope to retain it.

3. There’s nothing wrong with having to relearn something because you forgot it. You’ll probably understand it better the second time.

This should not discourage young students or lead them to believe that their time invested in classes at a university is a waste. On the contrary, students must learn to soak up everything they can when they can. Never view classes as hoops to jump through.

Hermione is a role model in the way she hungers for knowledge of all kinds. We’ll never know how the knowledge we’re gaining now will benefit our lives, but if we don’t take learning seriously, we won’t even remember the fraction we can hope to retain.