Confession time: I’m a serial clicker.
I have about 12 tabs open on my screen as I type right now, all of them stories, Buzzfeed lists and recipes I’ll eventually look at.
The bottom line is, I love to learn. And before you roll your eyes, think about it. Think about it- you want to make a good recipe, you log into Pinterest. Want to educate yourself on (slightly slanted) social justice issues? Tumblr is the place. Need to see what Australians look like trying American food for the first time? Buzzfeed.
All of these sites have something in common though- the ability to satisfy a short attention span.
Two seconds into an article on Hillary Clinton, I’m done. I got the recipe off Pinterest, now I feel like I’m the master of chicken quesadillas. I now know how funny Australians can be; what a great life skill.
But none of these things are enriching. I’m going to throw in a twist, one I know you’ll all cringe at.
As much as I loathe them, research papers are vital to my education. To be more exact, research papers are vital to my self-education.
In 1993, Anders Ericsson said it takes a person 10,000 hours of practice to be an expert at something. Let’s be clear, I don’t spend that much time on research papers. In fact, I’ve definitely written a few 10 pagers the night before. But the concept remains: the more time you spend on something, the better you will become at it.
I’ve written research papers on the stigma of homelessness, the First Amendment rights to video-record police conduct and the impact of Latin American authors in the world of literature. Am I an expert on those topics? Nope. No, definitely not.
But I looked up at least seven sources for each paper. I scoured through peer-reviewed journals and tried to balance the facts, as well as deconstructing each argument.
All of these papers have challenged me to put a stop to my serial clicking, and more importantly, to critically think about what information I’m digesting.
So, to all of my professors that required a research paper this semester (all five of you), thank you for pushing me to self-educate. But also, I can’t wait to get back to my serial clicking.