Hi, I’m Aroona, a University of Hertfordshire Humanities graduate who is currently on a short work placement in the University’s Marketing and Communications department. Keeping your curiosity alive is such a valuable skill for students so I wanted to share my tips today on how to keep your curiosity alive.
For most of us, curiosity comes and goes in waves. The definition of curiosity is epitomised by another word: learning. To be curious is to want to learn and know something.
The operative word in this statement is ‘want’. This is the all-important determining factor in specifying the difference between learning your degree and studying it. It really comes down to how curious you are.
It’s often taken for granted that curiosity is as much as an invaluable skill to practise as it is to be punctual or organised. It’s easy to assume once you’ve got to university it will happen naturally.
Truthfully, the marathon has barely started. The real struggle is maintaining and increasing your curiosity throughout your degree right to the finish line.
Being curious throughout your time at university will help develop your passion and determination whilst studying which in turn will mean you will work harder and get better results. Research shows that people who are curious about their topic, remembered what they had learnt for longer periods of time.
Here’s a few tips on how to stay positive and keep your curiosity flourishing:
Have you ever wondered why after watching an episode of a crime thriller, your mind is still whizzing about who the potential assailant is? This of course is the power behind curiosity which keeps you hooked on the edge of your seat. This same principle applies when writing an assignment: if you treat an assignment question or an exam as a mystery that needs solving then you are more encouraged to find the answer. This will help your ideas to evolve and potentially come up with surprising results when writing your assignment.
The ‘right’ question
Asking questions is a must if you want to steer the curiosity wheel in the right direction. You don't need to ask a question for the sake of it but asking ones that really matter to you. The most effective questions begin with ‘why’, ‘what if’, and ‘how’.
Learn from others
Curiosity is contagious. Spread your curiosity widely (not thinly) with others, especially when working on group projects. This means showing a genuine interest in the knowledge and skills of others and showcasing some of your own. This will fill any gaps in your own knowledge and further increase engagement and collaborative involvement with your teammates.
Be fearless with how far you aim. Reading news reports probes you to ask questions about the causes and impacts of societal problems and conflicts around the world. Take an interest in other cultures and societies. How do your values and beliefs relate and differ to others? To what extent are these influenced by religion, emotion or tradition?
Practising how to retrieve information is an effective way of increasing curiosity. Take a thrill in the potential that you might discover something new. Browse the bookshelves in the library, search the aisles in the supermarket, or simply find an alternative route to your destination. Google can wait for an emergency.
Your degree after all is an adventure. The best suggestion in keeping your curiosity alive is to treat it like it one! A good way to keep your curiosity alive during your degree is to engage in extracurricular activities outside your degree (like volunteering, or joining a society). The University's Go Herts Award also recognises all these activities ensuring that your CV will stand out even more by the time you finish your degree!