March 16, 2023•275 words
Early 2002: freshman year. I've only got internet when I come back home for the weekends, or if one of the 6-7 ancient computers in the uni "computer room" is free (rarely). The library catalog and booking system is a tombola maze of index cards, paper forms, queues to the photocopy rooms, and convoluted reservation processes. It sucks, but it sucks for everyone.
Early 2004: year three. Amazon kinda, sorta, sometimes ships books to Poland. Plus, there's a second-hand English bookshop in a neighbouring city. The money I earn working as a junior English tutor in the evenings gets spent on cigarettes, books, and train tickets to get more books.
Early 2005: penultimate year. I get to spend one term of it studying abroad. The Learning Centre is paradise: broadband internet, online journal access, and all the books I dreamed of getting. I bring cans of Dr Pepper and huge bags of Bombay Mix to the library and prowl its grounds, day and night, buzzing with excitement.
Sometimes, when you learn, you just want the facts, or just the one-pager, or the sweet momentary rush of instant gratification. Sometimes, though, the longer the hunt, the better you feel about yourself when it's done.
Both these modes are "learning", no disagreement there. But they're fundamentally different - from the moment they're designed and thought through, to the moment when they work with particular (different!) hormones in your body to reinforce the learning.
"You'll no longer need to hunt for knowledge" might be a promise to some, and a threat to others. If you build your learning based on a statement like this, check what you're communicating.