Sunday, December 2, 2012

What I am learning from my macroeconomics class *hint- it's not macroeconomics!*

This week, I got my grade for my last macroeconomic exam.  It was 84%.  Yeah, I don't know how that happened, either.  To be honest, I think my Christmas miracle came early.

Economics has been a struggle for me.  The part of my brain that was originally designed to process macroeconomic-type things has apparently atrophied.  If it ever actually existed.  I listen intently to every lecture, writing notes on everything the teacher says.  If he has to reteach the same concept four times, it is written in my notes four times.  I read the text book, stare at graphs for hours, and still, nothing makes sense.

Still, I believe that everything is a learning opportunity, and this is no different. So, here are some of the things that I have learned from my macroeconomic class.

The first thing I have learned is that I don't do graphs.  I cannot look at a graph, even one that I am familiar with, and immediately grasp the information it offers.  I need to talk my way through each graph.  Every time.   I guess I am not a visual learner.  That is probably why, when I want to know how to do something, I would much rather read instructions that watch a teaching video. I do like to watch people do stuff, but I'd still rather have the instructions written down.  I feel like it gives me more freedom, and the words open doors to me that don't get opened from the pictures.

The second thing that I have learned is that there are some concepts that, no matter how many times I cram the information into my brain, will not be easily learned.  This includes anything math related, especially algebra.  Graphs, formulas, equations, they all leave me staring mournfully at my papers, wishing more than anything that I was anywhere else.

The third thing I have learned is that if I work hard and listen to all the lectures, do all the reading, write and re-write the formulas, go over my notes repeatedly before each test, and pray fervently that God will help me access at least some of the information during the test, I can get enough out to actually pass a test.  Between the little bit that I know, and multiple educated guesses, I do okay.  Does this mean that I know anything about macroeconomics? Not a chance.  In fact, the teacher posted the answers to the test with the test results, and when I went over the answers, I got lost and gave up.  I really was only able to hold onto the information long enough to sweat my way through the test.  I guess that's all I needed.

The fourth thing that I have learned through macroeconomics class is that, while the details are lost as soon as I put my pencil down after a test, the bigger concepts do remain with me.  I understand the banking system a bit more.  I have had the opportunity to talk about some of the things that I have learned about the economy, the last recession, etc.  The knowledge that I may need seems to have stuck.  I may have to re-learn, for every exam,  how to find the real GDP of a given year from a graph of several years, but there are others things that I  really do "get". And that's cool.

Mostly, I have learned that nothing is wasted, if we go into it with open minds and hearts and the desire to do our best.  And the willingness to admit to our weaknesses.  And the assurance that it's okay to rely on God to do what we can't!

Just a thought.

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