Thoughts on Geography of Thought—and its Implications

Ho Wang (Adrian) Leong (Hong Kong, AC 10-11)

Although it is demanding and unfair to condense the lectures into merely a few paragraphs, the recent diploma period was a most pleasant one which inspired me a lot, as the quality of lectures was not bad at all. Our college is such a “forward thinker” compared with other colleges in the world, in a sense that we look at matters through different lenses; we consider issues on a global scale. Besides the IB course, which every other IB school offers, too, we have a mission. AC is a pioneer in this field— this conference provided an opportunity for us to reflect on what it means to be at AC; the power and responsibility that come with it. We think about thinking—are we fully utilizing the resources at present? Can we offer more learning experiences than we do now? Are we making the most out of our time here?

On the first day of the Diploma Period, I attended a lecture on the human brain. The human brain—the most complex organ and thing in the universe.  An organ human wish they knew more about. The most important message from the lecture in the morning was that we must reclaim our brains—use it, or lose it. Constantly stimulate our brains and make as many connections between neurons as possible are what we do to set ourselves apart from ordinary learners. Our lifestyle also plays a fundamental role in determining the efficiency of our learning. “You are what you eat” is true but lacks the connection people need in order to understand it– what you eat affects your ability to learn, and thus your future career, and ultimately who you are. Sleeping is a very important process in which our brains organize information and make sense of our input of the day. Lastly, our brains are changeable, so a healthy and stimulating lifestyle will keep our brains in top form for years to come.

John Abbott’s talk joining Nature to Nurture in the afternoon on Tuesday was another sharing which impressed me.  He talked about the role of education; how important it is that we take learning into our own hands. We learn for the sake of learning, not because of what our parents and culture demand from us. People in the past often had a target, a common enemy, to unite against; in this day and age, when some of us seem to possess everything, we lack the motivation to move forward. But no, the challenge and meaning of education has never been more obvious. Our generation is studying for the sake of mankind. This era is the testing point of human civilization—information is more accessible than ever before, but responsibility comes with it. We have to take the problems into our own hands and take control of our own destiny.

He shared a nice quote which I vaguely remember that I had heard before, “The world is not inherited from our ancestors. It is borrowed from our children.” It made me to think—if I dedicated my life to environmental conservation, dealing with the aftermath of humankind’s greediness and selfishness, would it be more helpful and effective to tackle the root of the problem—men as human beings— instead? It is a frustrating thought that human is born selfish and lacks the will to care for others and the planet. However, if only those who do care could speak up and take action, maybe the tide could be turned; no matter how vulnerable an individual may seem, feel empowered at the comforting thought that if only each of us could contribute our small share, we could all be part of a significant change.

 What better place to be idealistic and optimistic about the future? Let us encourage each other to be more involved in everything that takes place at AC, too—the more we put in, the more we can get out of the experience. This is what the UWC movement is all about, so take initiative and be active—and have fun!

-United World Colleges Student Magazine-

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