Archive for June, 2012

“I got a B in my Statistics class, so I retook it. I didn’t feel like I really understood it the first time around.”

“You did what!?” At least, that’s what I would have said if I wasn’t worried about appearing completely ignorant. For me, Statistics was a laborious, dreadful experience that I was relieved to earn a solid C in.

I was talking with my friend Babak in his apartment as he cooked me some Boca Burgers and homemade hash-brown-like fries, a favor he was returning for my middle-of-the-night help on a programming project. As we walked back from his apartment to campus, he explained to me the basic concepts of differential equations and its application in the real world. I didn’t get it. Babak is a Mechanical Engineering major and Computer Science minor with an Iranian heritage. We first met in Spanish class over this past Winter semester. Together, we worked on an illustrated storyboard en español about such scholarly topics as farts, pranks, and couples growing old together. We got an A.

But before I could even nail down the pronunciation of his name, I knew him as the guy who asked an incredible amount of questions. He’s that rare breed of student that actually takes the professor on his offer to “stop me if I’m getting ahead of you or need anything repeated.” Sometimes, Babak even asked the professor to go back to a point he made minutes earlier in his lecture just to be 100% clear. Babak read lecture notes before, during, and after lectures. Once, around Midterm season, he told me that he had been awake for 60 or 70 hours, the only reason for which I ever saw him fall asleep in class.

The reason I’m so impressed with Babak’s academic prowess is not because everything seems to come easy, but because he exerts his whole being for learning. He seems to pour himself into his studies not only out of motivation for a successful career in the future, though he does have that, but because he enjoys the process itself.

Babak inspires me to learn about the world that God designed. His fascination with the details and intricacies of science and math provoke me to remember exactly how mystifying and curious this world was made to be. My contentment with a basic understanding of this crazy planet is rebuked by merely listening to Babak speak about what he finds so naturally exciting.

After all, wasn’t I made to be excited about learning, too? Isn’t God good to give me a mind and a tiny bit of intelligence to comprehend his glory in Calculus, Biology, Literature, and the like? Shouldn’t the fact that I derive enjoyment from grasping a concept make me remember that Somebody made me to enjoy that idea? It’s as if every time I have an “Aha!” moment, God is whispering, “I thought you might like that. Pretty cool, isn’t it?” As the Psalmist writes,

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

And, likewise, I want to learn wisdom with the same kind of veracity with which Babak studies engineering. I want to seek out counsel and understanding from my elders with the anticipation Babak emits when he listens to lectures. Proverbs 4:5-7 pleads with me to “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” I like the KJV on that one. “With all thy getting get understanding.” And James reminds me that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” So, when it comes to wisdom and understanding, I’m going to get my getting on.

But I’m still not retaking my Statistics class.