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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

Opinion | Romanticizing my education saved my GPA

Opinion+%7C+Romanticizing+my+education+saved+my+GPA
Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

The chaos of the pandemic has faded into a blur, leaving behind one vivid memory — my own self-disdain. August of 2020 was meant to mark the beginning of a thrilling chapter as I stepped into college life — a time brimming with new friendships and exciting classes, or so I had imagined. Instead of bustling campus life, I found myself confined to a solitary dorm room, grappling with loneliness and struggling to grasp even the simplest of concepts. What should have been a time of adventure morphed into months of isolation and academic frustration.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my high school success hadn’t prepared me for the rigors of college study, especially with the added complication of online classes through Zoom. The transition from effortlessly maintaining a 4.0 GPA in high school to struggling in college hit me hard. Studying in the same space where I slept and ate only compounded my difficulties — until romanticizing saved me.

That pivotal moment marked a distinct shift — I made a conscious decision to never study in my room again. For me, the importance of delineating between my study space and my resting haven cannot be overstated. In my mind, those worlds should never intertwine.

My path into romanticizing learning started when I came across my first in the spring of 2021. Donning my headphones seemed to transport my mind into the pages of every book I delved into, effortlessly comprehending the material as if I had a passionate professor guiding me through each concept.

In over a month, I’ll be graduating, and it dawned on me that my YouTube is a reflection of how I got here — a blend of classical music and dark academia playlists. It’s become a curated sanctuary, reflecting the countless hours poured into essays and exams, each video representing an accomplishment.

This column isn’t about shaming or judging those who can effortlessly study on their beds or dive into work at any location with ease. Truth be told, I hold immense admiration for individuals blessed with such innate focus. However, for many, including myself, this conventional approach simply doesn’t cut it. Romanticizing might just hold the key. It has certainly worked wonders for me, and now I’m here to share its magic with others.

The first and most important step is figuring out your aesthetic. I’ve always loved reading and writing, and that passively led me towards a dark academia aesthetic. This aesthetic slowly transformed to include a medieval philosopher aesthetic. The process of writing this article, for example, included my and ǰ.

The next step is to choose a character to embody. The beauty of my romanticization process lies in its transformative power — I seamlessly morph into the embodiment of another era and mindset. Whether channeling the wisdom of a philosopher, the scholarly pursuits of academia or even slipping into the shoes of in the Hogwarts restricted books section, I immerse myself fully in the essence of a person consumed by intellectual fervor.

That leads me to my next point — location. While Hillman Library is undoubtedly a popular choice among Pitt students, its aesthetic leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. If your study needs to align with and demand the use of a whiteboard for active recall, Hillman might suit you perfectly. However, for someone like me, seeking an environment that resonates with a vibe, the first floor of Cathy is an ideal match. Alternatively, if you’re after a lighter academic atmosphere, Frick Library’s cozy ambiance with warm lighting sets the stage for a journey into the .

Once the aesthetic and location are settled, actual studying comes in. Everyone studies differently, and some find solace in vocalizing concepts aloud, while others seek clarity through visual aids like videos. Then there are those who prefer the solitude of tackling problems independently. Now, I aim to offer romanticized methods tailored to various learning styles, each imbued with a touch of creativity.

To my fellow humanities majors, who often shoulder the weight of extensive essays, I propose seeking solace in communal settings such as the tranquil first floor of Cathy. Here, amidst the hushed ambiance, embrace the timeless allure of pen and paper. Keep a trusty notebook at your side to capture the ebb and flow of your thoughts. After all, our predecessors, the medieval scholars, navigated the depths of knowledge without the aid of digital note-taking apps.

As a double major in biology, I understand the challenges posed by courses like biochemistry and genetics. Merely typing or even handwriting notes may not suffice. In such instances, whether alone or in a group setting, I seek out an unoccupied classroom within Cathy. Using , you can locate available classrooms throughout the academic year. In the scholarly ambiance of Cathy, immerse yourself in the art of conceptual mapping. With the strains of as your backdrop, sketching out complex diagrams on a chalkboard becomes a transformative learning experience. This approach helped me memorize the Krebs cycle and every nuance of amino acid structure.

To my active recall and vocal learners, consider utilizing closed classroom spaces within Cathy or other buildings for your study sessions. Start by playing some to set the mood, then dive into verbal discussions of concepts with a study partner.

And for those who prefer studying alone, try connecting your laptop to the screen in a classroom. Display a picture of a philosopher like or before you, and let them be your audience as you vocalize your thoughts. I’ve personally tried this method several times, and I can confidently say that even ancient philosophers might have picked up a thing or two from my explanations.

Lastly, I want to simply say, enjoy what you’re learning. It’s challenging to romanticize learning if you lack passion for your major. After all, how can you immerse yourself in the beauty of knowledge if you’re not genuinely interested in it? So, begin by pursuing subjects that ignite your curiosity and enthusiasm.

Nada Abdulaziz loves writing about anything philosophy related — to chat about Aristotle email her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Nada Abdulaziz, Senior Staff Writer
Nada Abdulaziz is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Biological Sciences. She loves spending her free time reading, hiking, and watching Studio Ghibli films.