Curiosity and Passion Drive Learning

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A few days ago I was asked to write a piece for the MVPS magazine about how curiosity and passion drive learning. This topic really resonated with me and I gladly accepted the offer!

It makes me incredibly happy to know that people are actually wanting to read my pieces of writing especially because English has always been a subject I’ve struggled with in school. One of my biggest take aways from this year unquestionably is that it doesn’t take getting an English major to make a piece of writing, it just takes a good story and someone willing to take the time to write it down.

This is what I wrote (this is before being looked at by the head editor by the way so it may be tweaked some before the final copy):

Learning doesn’t start with school. Learning doesn’t end with school. Learning is a process of life. I may not be the oldest and/or wisest person, but over the years I’ve discovered a secret: learning happens most when you are curious and passionate about a topic. The combination of curiosity and passion has the ability to spark a fire in your body that is always craving more. To know more, to do more, to learn more.

A personal pet peeve of mine is when people do things just because they think it will look good to other people, not because they are actually curious and interested themselves. Currently I’m an actress with the MVPAllStars, a varsity soccer player as well as a rec soccer player out of school, an acrobat, a gymnastics coach, president of Kemps Khaos club, a flutist, a Girl Scout, a Duke TIP participant, a National Honors Society member, a straight A student, and a Disney Cohort member in the Innovation Diploma. With all of these different things going on, you can imagine that I have to be very strategic with my time management, so I want to do things that I really enjoy in order to enhance my learning the most. This is important to me because life is about stories, and your story is made up of the things you love.

As a student that values sharing stories, building a team, and exploring possibilities with space, I have discovered an overarching goal of mine. My goal is to help establish a culture that resembles those of innovative businesses; thus creating a community that is constantly sharing ideas and taking action to make impacts on peoples’ lives. What really helped me establish this goal and these passions of mine has been the influence of all of my cohort members in Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma (ID). This year marked the inaugural year for the one of a kind Innovation Diploma. Those of us that participate in this program are a part of a cohort that will work together throughout our high school years learning how to improve our skills as innovators while following our passions and pursuing our goals.

Specifically, I have really enjoyed all of the work I’ve gotten to do facilitating design challenges through ID this year. At the Council on Innovation for 2014, I got to help facilitate twenty experts and visionaries in entrepreneurship, education, business, and community leadership through a design thinking challenge around “How might we enhance our creative impact?” alongside a few amazing teachers and mentors of mine. This was one of many opportunities I have had this year to develop my skills as a leader of design, and the experiences have also helped me in my classroom education with leading teams on projects like a mock trial for Genghis Khan.

I’m currently on a team that is in the process of redesigning the ID studio into a more flexible and creative environment in order to complement and further the work that we do. I learned from an interior designer how to use a tool called Sketchup to make a virtual model of a room– a skill I had started to learn over the summer while at Duke TIP and now got to use again while in school! I have also gotten the opportunity to talk with lead designers at Wonder by Design who are currently working with MVPS and have worked with Stanford in the past. I even went on a trip to San Fransisco for interim  so that I could further enrich myself into the innovative world of design where I got to tour the Stanford d.School, Facebook, and IDEO to name a few of many.

It isn’t hard to be curious, just start with questions and see where you go. Often times a simple little question like, “How are design conferences organized?” can lead you down a great path where you may just find a passion. If you have a question, then you are destine to at least learn the answer to that question, and likely you will learn so much more, which is what makes questions so amazing! As one of my favorite innovators, Walt Disney, once said, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”

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