In one of the many, many, many listervs I belong to, I found a new vocabulary word: kaizen. It’s all about the process of continuous improvement. Kind of the good old fashioned “every day in every way…” Instead of making huge, far-reaching, wide-sweeping changes, change occurs through small daily steps, sort of like the baby steps in “What About Bob?” (I know, how horrible to compare anything to that movie, but there were definitely some good scenes!)
The thing is, the concept of kaizen and the concept of college seem awful similar to me.
When you go to school – good old-fashioned K through 12, that is – you wind up learning lots of stuff all at once. There is no focus. It’s all general information, and you’re busy trying to make huge changes to yourself and process all that information and take it in.
Then you go to college.
Suddenly, it’s all about picking one topic and studying it until you feel like you can’t study it anymore. You focus. You take only a few classes at a time, and normally they’re all on the subject you’ve chosen to focus on: history, English, education, whatever. You leave behind the generalist ideas and focus on improving your knowledge and skills in small and specific doses. You learn about one topic, and then the next, and then the next, and each one builds on the other. You are in the process of continual improvement. You are in college. You are in kaizen.