Isaac’s Input: Fake It Till You Make It


Isaac Gittleman, Columnist

     As the fourth quarter approaches, the intensity of school and the pressure for us to do our best work increases. AP week and Finals week will both call for exhausting studying and will culminate our school years and show how we grew this year and how we will finish. This is the most crucial part of the year and afterwards, we are rewarded with a short summer that’s different for everyone. When studying, here are some things to keep in mind to help be at your best maximally.

     During long stretches of studying I often lose focus and need ways to successfully follow through and put myself in a place where I can do my best work on my finals. Two concepts: divine happiness and artificial happiness drive my learning journey. Divine happiness is when you get an overwhelming feeling of enjoyment that you didn’t plan for, but becomes an empowering moment. Artificial happiness is when you do a certain action to trigger excitement and trick your body into helping you be more happy and in some cases more productive.

     Divine Happiness in my view is the ultimate goal of education. It is when you actually find passion in a subject matter and it motivates you to do more for that class and truly immerse yourself in that subject. This can’t happen for every class, but will hopefully happen with at least one class a year where you reach a point when doing work for the class when a light bulb hits and you get pure excitement about that topic. This is pretty rare, but when it hits helps learning immensely.

     Artificial happiness is the tool to help achieve divine happiness. Many people look at artificial happiness as a bad thing, because some people use tricks that are unhealthy, but there are critical examples of artificial happiness that are under-appreciated. Many people at Blake get active in some way during the day and blood flow releases hormones that get you excited and more prepared for homework. Additionally, many students drink various caffeinated beverages to get energy and a higher production level. Note that the more you use a single method of artificial happiness, the less and less effective it is, so you need to moderate so that you can use your most effective techniques come AP and finals weeks. It can be better to sacrifice a precious 30 minutes of studying to go for a jog or do a light workout just to put your mind in a better place for studying. Additionally, the more excited you are going into the studying, and the more you try to fully engage in the material, the more likely you are to find some authentic happiness and uncover meaningful connections, which will make the ensuing assessments significantly easier.