As classes here at Bogazici are slowly winding down and the end of the term is near, it's a good time to revisit some of the goals I set for summer. After all, if we don't dedicate some time to reflection and growth in the main 3 month break in the entire academic year, where would we be able to find time? Possibly like some of you, I started summer with great plans- to explore, to discover, to pursue all sorts of noble and exciting goals. One of these goals seemed-- in comparison-- rather mundane. I waned to catch up on reading. Reading what? Anything really- but perhaps less of short articles and more of books.
One gets the sense that with the requirements of assigned weekly academic reading (that may well run into the hundreds of pages), the typcial semester doesn't really give you time to read and explore the wealth of knowledge and information that exists out there. Walk into any library and the dust-caked volumes on the shelves suggest that while information is in great abundance, the number of readers accessing it are not. While one might claim that libraries are the victims of a technological revolution in books (indeed, many libraries now offer online access to articles and books), it's perhaps reflective on a broader shift in how people obtain information. Compared to a 200-300 page book, how many of us are accessing information from short 1-2 page long internet articles? I've a newfound appreciation for academics and researchers. To engage with the entire spectrum of knowledge on a particular issue to gain standing as an expert in the field is a clear feat.
"We are what we read" seems to be a dominant social and cultural consensus across various fields including education (the value of reading in early childhood education and the value of literature in common core pedagogy) and politics (the desire and cruciality of a supposedly free press). Perhaps in the midst of these continuing debates, it is worth pausing, appreciating and (hopefully) purusing the vast wealth of information stored in books of the past, present and future. It's not hard, it just needs to be picked up (or perhaps downloaded onto a Kindle)
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Kit Shaun Tommy Koh
<p>A Blue Jay at Hopkins, a citizen of Singapore, a resident of the world: Titles and categories often complicate how we see our place in this world. Above everything else, I see myself as a pilot. Being up in the sky grants freedom, space, possibilities- a reminder that everything can be seen from a different perspective. Be it in education, while travelling or just being with friends- I constantly seek new dimensions, new ways of perceiving, a new- greater- understanding.</p>