I remember clearly the frenzied process after buying my first car, a silver, sleek 1998 Honda Civic HX. It was my dream car, it was easy to drive, and most importantly, it was mine, bought with a year of working the front desk at my residence hall during my junior year of college. I immediately set to reading the manual, fervently scanning the details and ins and outs of taking care of my car. I began reading Honda forums, learning more about the type of turbo system it had, how many cylinders, the type of oil, and a multitude of other finer details. When my check engine light came on for the first time, I dove into the Internet, figuring out how to check the error code using a paper clip and my own hearing. I fixed the problem myself, ordering the part and replacing it myself (an oxygen sensor). Although the car had several problems that mostly stemmed from the previous owners’ reckless use of it, I tended to gather odd looks from mechanics and Jiffy Lube employees when I knew exactly what I was talking about when it came to my car. My dad was extraordinarily proud of me for taking the time out to research my heart out.
Reading words since before I can remember has contributed to reading being my best learning process. I soak up information like a sponge; I remember everything I read and mostly everything I hear. In college, I was one of the few students not taking notes: I’d rather absorb the information by listening to lectures than having to listen and write them down when I could remember them just as easily without writing it. Reading a section once, especially if it was a subject I was good at, would mean I would remember it and most likely ace a quiz or test on it. Sometimes even if I hadn’t read the section and had simply skimmed it quickly before class I could still rope myself a passing grade on a surprise quiz.
To this day, whenever I want to learn about something, I Google it, and read about it. Wikipedia may not be a good source for writing a research paper, but it definitely is for getting a basic idea about something. I moved into an apartment that has a septic tank instead of a connection to city sewer lines. No problem! I looked up what I could and could not put down the drain, even buying environmentally friendly cleaning products, dish soap and laundry detergent. We will be moving to an office that was built in 1914 and has knob and tube wiring. I learned a basic idea of what knob and tube wiring was, what its safety precautions were, and the skill behind installing it.
Reading isn’t the only way I learn. I learn by listening, and seeing, and especially by doing as well. But chiefly, reading something can bring it to life for me, and I’m more likely to be able to put that skill or knowledge to use.