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Lifelong Learner Essay

952 words - 4 pages

When I was five, someone informed me of the startling fact that it is the male seahorse, not the female, that gives birth. It was the first fact I can remember learning, probably because of how much it shocked me at the time. The next day I went to school, eager to share my new knowledge with everyone I met. Starting with my teacher as she helped me out of my pink, puffy jacket and moving on to conversations on the swing set and surreptitious whispers during naptime, I quickly ensured that every child and teacher in my pre-school class was well-informed about this reproductive quirk unique to the seahorse.
The website of a famous liberal-arts college cites a quote from alumnus David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: “’’ I read,’ I say, ‘I study and read. I bet I’ve read everything you’ve read. Don’t think I haven’t. I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM-drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.”’” I wish I could return to my five-year-old self with this quote in hand. I agree wholeheartedly with Wallace’s attitude towards learning. I have always sought knowledge from any available source—from the time I first started reading at age four, to later years, when a teacher’s fleeting allusion to a historical mystery, such as Amelia Earhart, Easter Island, and Uri Geller, would send me rushing to the library for answers, my size six Nikes performing the task of Wallace’s taxi. My insatiable need for knowledge has led me to work in various environments—for instance, I have interned in Thailand where I engaged in comprehensive lectures and discussions examining modern international global issues, bioethics and medical bioethics, visited various sites and hospitals, including one that focused on alternative medicine. I have worked for three years at Barnard’s computer Help Desk where I was granted accesses to the college’s TOP SECRET computing data; at church I volunteer as a teacher where I watch the small faces of pre-schoolers light up as they learn Christ can help them accomplish the impossible. Finally, as an intern in the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program I learned a new devotion to improving the lives of patients.
The internship at the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program turned out to be one of the best opportunities to learn many new skills. Here, I learn not only about facts in the abstract sense, but about people. Before patients arrive I ply the doctor to relate her experiences as a winner of the title “New York Super Doctor” or use her knowledge in wilderness medicine to ask “what if” questions. I listen intently when a patient who was once a New York City marathon runner explains her shortness of...

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