Photo © Minerva
This post was kindly written for us by Margot van der Sande, a graduate of United World College Costa Rica, and current undergraduate student at Minerva.
Untangling your thinking
When I had my first Theory of Knowledge class, I was very excited; discussing not just what I knew, but specifically the way in which I had come to learn or understand it. That to me was a completely new means of thinking about knowledge. As weeks passed by and the classes became more intense, frequently I found myself entangled in my own thought process. What I learned in TOK at times seemed to be very conceptual and independent from the real world and this frustrated me.
I realize that what I have come to understand more and more is that our whole world, the real world, really is compiled of those concepts
When I joined Minerva, once again I was extremely excited. What Minerva wants from their students are individuals, who think critically and creatively. With good spirits, I started my college experience, with in Minerva’s first year the purpose of mastering the ‘habits of mind and foundational concepts’. Again…those concepts! I was afraid that once more, my thoughts would lose connection from the world around me. However, looking back on my first semester at Minerva I realize that what I have come to understand more and more is that our whole world, the real world, really is compiled of those concepts. They are simply a way for us to break down what we can observe and understand.
Quite sometimes I found myself using my knowledge from TOK to get a more thorough understanding of Minerva’s curriculum. For example, when Minerva was teaching us about emotional intelligence and my understanding was enhanced due to my insight in emotions and their expression across different cultures. Or when I could critically express my opinion on case studies on humans in psychology (highly subjective due to too many uncontrollable variables), due to my knowledge of sense perception applied to human sciences.
It was amazing to see what we could learn so quickly by combining our critical thinking abilities with our intuition!
Maybe the best example yet is from a few weeks ago, when Minerva organized a sumobot competition: all students got divided up in teams and had to build, program and decorate their own robot, which would then battle against the other robots. My team – consisting solely of people who had never done anything like this before – was not that confident. Since we could not rely on our experiences with robots and time was limited, our intuition had to take the lead in finding solutions. It was amazing to see what we could learn so quickly by combining our critical thinking abilities with our intuition to get a real insight of how to make our robot a strong competitor. Very unexpectedly, our robot even got second place!
Both Minerva and TOK time after time prove to me that the world indeed could be broken down into those concepts, but that they are all interrelated and the more I try to understand one field in depth, the more I need knowledge in other areas as well. Now, the cool thing is, Minerva has decided to offer one full tuition, needs-based scholarship for this year through theoryofknowlege.net. Go to this link to start your application and who knows… maybe next year you’ll be traveling the world while subjecting it to your critical thinking skills!
Find out more about Minerva here.