How to Actually Enjoy School


Some students love school, but the majority
despise it. If you could wave a magic wand, wouldn’t
you choose to enjoy school? I’ll show you how to do exactly that. Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. In life, we usually have a binary system of
describing activities: work or pleasure, study or fun, as if they were mutually exclusive. We implicitly describe studying or working
as inherently not pleasurable and not fun. Chances are, you’re nodding your head in
agreement right now. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Surely, there are some things that you find
great pleasure in, that other people don’t seem to understand. Maybe you love running, which most people
despise. Or perhaps you actually enjoy math, even when
others cry “blasphemy!” This raises two questions: 1) why do some
people enjoy activities that most deem unenjoyable, and 2) how can we create a reproducible and
repeatable system to get students to enjoy school? I was inspired to create this video after
watching “How to Enjoy School” by John Fish. He suggests flow states as the path through
which students should find enjoyment in school. I think there’s some truth there, and it’s
definitely a good video, but I think it’s an incomplete picture. Being in flow is a magical thing. You’re completely absorbed in what you are
doing, and you lose your sense of space and time. It’s a very positive experience, but I feel
it’s often overused in our vernacular. People often describe being in flow when,
in reality, they’re just watering down the word. With school work, I have felt it occasionally
while doing chemistry or physics practice problems, or while taking tests, but flow
in schoolwork is not a common occurrence, and I’d argue that striving to make it a
common occurrence isn’t a worthwhile pursuit. Activities where I have experienced flow at
much higher frequencies include racing my car and doing plastic surgery in the operating
room. These two activities are much more readily
applicable to the five elements that facilitate flow: Clearly Defined Goals Measuring Progress & Immediate Feedback Full Concentration Challenge & Skill Development Balance And Control Let’s break these down one by one. One of the beautiful things in surgery is
that you have a clearly defined goal before you ever enter the operating room. As a surgeon, you know what the diagnosis
is, what procedure you’ll be doing, and the ideal anticipated outcome. As a race car driver, you’re either trying
to shave seconds off your lap times during practice, or beat other racers on the track. With school, it’s more nebulous. Is your goal to learn the information, or
to get a good grade in the class? Measuring progress in the operating room occurs
in a stepwise manner. As your skills progress, error rate decreases,
and consistency improves, you’re allowed to do more. First you retract during cases as a medical
student, then you’re allowed to tie knots, then you suture and do closures, and then
you’re able to open, meaning do the first incision, etc. On the race track, you can similarly measure
your progress with segment times and see if your skills are trending in the right direction. In both instances, progress is easily measured
and feedback is immediate. With school, you may spend weeks studying
for a large test or the MCAT, but the feedback, meaning your score, is delayed by days to
weeks at minimum. Part of the excitement of both operating and
racing a car is that both demand your full attention. Failure to do so would be disastrous for the
patient or could result in a dangerous crash on the race track. With school, full concentration isn’t as
strongly incentivized. How many times has your mind wandered while
studying or taking a test? My point exactly. When learning to operate, you’re constantly
being pushed slightly outside of your comfort zone, in that sweet spot balancing challenge
with skill. With racing a car, there is similarly a stepwise
progression. In both instances, practicing your skills
outside the operating room or off the race track allow you to take on larger challenges
the next time you’re up to perform. You’re able to constantly and progressively
increase the stakes to keep you fully engaged. But with school, sometimes classes feel far too
easy, and at other times, far too difficult. When operating or racing, you’re entirely
in control. Proper preparation is rewarded handsomely,
but the flip side is that with this level of control, a failure on your part can be
disastrous to your patient or to other people on the race track. With school, you have control over objective
tests, like math and science. With others, such as history or English, a
high level of subjective interpretation comes into play, and you better hope you’re on
the teacher’s good side. Regardless, the stakes aren’t nearly as
elevated in school, which works against entering a flow state. If flow isn’t the answer, are we doomed
to be miserable in school? I’d say no. If you currently don’t enjoy school but
want to, mash that like button. Mashing the like button on this video helps to reduce your stress
while simultaneously helping this channel grow. Talk about a win win. We manage what we measure, and as humans we
enjoy seeing progress. Have you ever tried losing fat or building
muscle? In both instances, regularly measuring your
progress, whether with pictures, a scale, or body fat calipers, is a key component of
providing feedback and helping you stay motivated. It’s much more empowering to see the scale
moving in the direction you want. With school, you can measure your progress
too. Some jump to the score they received on a
test. However, no two tests are the same, and rather
than measuring an absolute score, looking at your percentile would be more worthwhile. Let’s say you’re an average student, scoring
around the 50th percentile. After watching Med School Insiders videos
and implementing the study strategies I teach, you see your performance improving. On your next quiz or exam, maybe you’re
hitting the 70th or 80th percentile, and it keeps moving up from there. That sort of progress is incredibly motivating
and empowering to almost all the students I tutor. Going back to our earlier example of the runner
that loves running or the student that loves math. Have you noticed that in both instances, they’re
generally good runners or good at math? It’s no coincidence. We often enjoy what we’re good at. If you think you’re doomed because you’re
not good at school, think again. Being good at school isn’t just dependent
on factors outside of your control. It’s much more dependent on the strategies
and tactics that you use. At Med School Insiders, we believe that any
student can be exceptional with the right guidance and effort. Don’t believe me? Check out my Study Less, Study Smart video,
viewed by over 1.3 million students, and peep the comments. I’m confident that if you follow the advice
in that video, you’ll see immediate and drastic improvements in your own school performance. In today’s candy-ass climate where every
kid gets a blue ribbon and a trophy for just participating, competition is vilified. But competition is a beautiful thing, and
it’s incredibly important in helping you achieve your peak potential. The value in competition isn’t about the
focus of comparing yourself to others, but rather that it drives you to accomplish more
than you thought possible. Have you ever tried racing someone on foot? You’ll go faster and farther than you thought
possible, especially if it’s a close race, compared to if you were running on your own. That being said, do not be a gunner and bring people down. The point of competition isn’t for you to
do better than others, but for you to bring out the best in yourself. Being the stereotypical pre-med gunner and
bringing down those around you to make yourself seem better is despicable, never excusable,
and does the opposite of bringing out the best in yourself. Take pride in doing things the right way,
and never take shortcuts or cut others down in the process. If you find a particular class boring or intolerable,
consider this: it’s not the subject that’s the problem, but your perspective. One of the most powerful ways to motivate
a student to become more interested in a subject is making it more applicable to something
they care deeply about. If you hate physics, apply physics to something you love. Maybe that’s soccer, or racing cars, or
airplanes. Guess what, physics is fundamental to how
any of those function. If you hate history, extract the historical
significance of something relatable to your daily life, like the architecture of buildings
you regularly see on campus. Rather than just memorizing the facts, try
to understand the perspectives and stories of the historical figures. If you’re struggling with biology, understand
that the fundamentals are the basic building blocks from which you will build your medical
knowledge that will allow you to be a future physician. Ultimately, if you can make school autotelic,
you’ll be incredibly successful academically. An autotelic activity is one that isn’t
a means to an end, but rather an end in and of itself. In other words, you enjoy the activity just
for the sake of doing the activity. When school becomes autotelic, you’ll become
a weirdo, just like me. I studied for the MCAT with my two roommates
during a summer in college. After taking the test, both lamented how they
hated the experience, they were glad it’s over, and they never wanted to do that again. I almost felt embarrassed to say that I kind
of enjoyed studying for the MCAT. The amount of information we learned in such
a short period of time was exhilarating. And it was somewhat, even tangentially, related to my future career as a physician. Here’s the kicker: I scored quite well on
my MCAT, better than both of my roommates. Was that because I enjoyed the process, or
did I enjoy it because I scored well? Possibly a bit of both, but I’d argue those
students who enjoy what they’re studying are going to outperform those who don’t,
all else being equal. It’s simple — you try much harder at an
activity when you actually enjoy said activity. Once you make school autotelic, you’ve won
the game. At that point, it’s a positive feedback
loop. Because you enjoy the process of school, you
work harder, which makes you better at it, which makes you enjoy it more. And so on and so forth. If you enjoyed this video, you’ll love my
weekly newsletter. It gets sent out once a week and is super
short. In it, I share weekly insights, tools, tips,
and resources available only if you sign up via email. I don’t publish it anywhere else. When new projects come up, small in-person
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School Insiders newsletter subscribers. Check it out at medschoolinsiders.com/newsletter. If you ever change your mind, it’s one-click
to unsubscribe, and I promise I’ll never spam you. What are some strategies you’ve used to
make school more enjoyable? If you don’t find school enjoyable, tell
me one new strategy you’re going to implement to make it more fun. I love hearing from you guys, so let me know
with a comment down below. Thank you all so much for watching. Much love to you all, and I will see you guys
in that next one.

42 Comments

  1. I agree with your comments about perspective and competition part! I feel competing with my best friend while also helping each other out helped both of us do really well in school. I feel healthy competition is the key to success.

  2. I’ve always loved school. A packed schedule keeps me motivated. The only times I don’t like school are when I dislike my professors.

  3. Just when I was starting to fall out on my consistent plan to have a great semester and you're here blessing us with videos like this 👏

  4. Honestly, school is actually fun if the system just doesn't put pressure students to get higher grades, and doesn't subject students to comply to an insane amount of workload. But then again, the problem can be the professor at times.

  5. I sympathize so much with what you said about the MCAT. Most med students talk about how much they hated dedicated step 1 studying, but I genuinely enjoyed it. It was sufficiently challenging, there was a clear goal, and measurable progress. After a 8-12 hours of studying, I'd feel a sense of accomplishment which helped motivate me. It felt so good to get the 250 I was shooting for.

  6. Ya……😶 I dont think I really enjoyed my school……but I am going to fully enjoy my medical school 😋🥰😍

  7. I dont enjoy school because here In Pakistan Schools are all about cramming information. They do not focus on learning instead they focus on getting good grades by cramming the information in to our heads and dont actually clear our concepts.

    However, I dont enjoy school but I love learning information from different youtube channels specially your one.

    Thanks For Making such useful videos for us ❤❤❤
    LOTS OF LOVE FROM PAKISTAN 🇵🇰

  8. Doctor, on a different note, can I ask you something else?
    I share my dorm room with another girl in my class at college (vet school).
    I'm definitely not a fast learner and moving forward without getting my doubts cleared is difficult for me, which results in a lot of time spend googling stuff and preparing my own notes so much so that I finish by midnight and then even though I want to spend some more time revising(making my own notes feel like passive learning to me) it, I can't because the girl would be preparing to go to bed and I'm conscious that she would go around telling others that I spend most of my time with books(and I'm afraid that in case I produce a mediocre result, I'll be the laughing stock here). I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's India and people are still onto each other's business even in college!

    It's worse during the holidays/weekends because then you're to be in your dorm and since there is no system of studying in the college library after-hours or even a decent public library available for students, those of us who are staying at dorms are to stay there itself.
    Being someone who loves studying alone, I haven't yet been able to cope with having another person sharing a tiny room with me, and I feel as if I'm deliberately finding excuses to postpone my studies. It has been a week since school started and I already have course material that I've yet not taken a look at. It's quite frightening and I feel as if I'm already on my way to doom.

  9. I never enjoyed school bc it never was stuff i wanted to learn, i just did good to get good grades. I know medical school is going to be extremely hard but I feel like it will be the first time ever I COULD actually enjoy school bc it finally will be pertaining to what I WANT to learn

  10. Great Vid. You're Right! The more you learn to enjoy learning, the better your marks will get. Supplementing your course work with good YouTube content is a great way to stay motivated and keep it fun

  11. Who else watched this video when they were studying and paused the video multiple times because they got distracted?! Squirrel!!!

  12. I loved school most of the times while still maintaining straight As however i did have emotional breakdowns at 4 am trying to finish unrealistic amount of homework that my native language teacher gave.

  13. Can you make a video how to deal with bad professors/teachers? I feel like my calc teacher overcomplicates things which makes things confusing. And when I do homework I pretty much have to teach myself from textbook while I do it.

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