“Have a Think”:
Taking Advantage of Digital Resources for RU Students
I once had a boss based in the UK, though she spent quite of bit of time here in Chicago, the corporate headquarters for the firm. When proposing projects to me, or simply asking my opinion, she’d tell me to “Have a think,” in her very thick Essex accent. Like many bright people, she’d learned not to push for immediate answers, especially from those reporting to her. Of course, this cuts both ways; bosses need time to think, too. Unless there’s a pressing need—for example, Where’s the ladies room?—it’s generally better to wait for a richer, more nuanced response. (Claxton, 1998).
One way to enrich the mix of raw materials that help foster more nuanced responses is to ‘read’ —and I’m cautiously including multimedia here, though perhaps not videos of cats playing the piano —widely. But busy graduate students have no time for outside reading, you say? All the more reason to: 1) be circumspect in what you read, and 2) take advantage of the resources available to you as students through the RU library.
Being a student at RU means you have access to a host of digital versions of general-purpose magazines and newspapers. Can’t afford a subscription to The New York Times or can’t be bothered with wading through it? Not a problem. Do an online expedition of what’s available, and then give one or two papers a try. For a couple of weeks, focus on a specific column that sparks your interest. For myself, I’m addicted to the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal; not for the financial information, which I don’t even pretend to understand, but for the Review section. There are always two or three articles—sometimes more—about topics I’m not particularly interested in that capture my imagination, and, hopefully, grow a few dendrites in my brain. These new connections, physical and metaphorical, help me to be a better thinker, and that helps me to be a better teacher and researcher.
Here is where we can strike a bargain. Rather than send you off on a well-intentioned search that may detract you from your required reading for classes, I’ll give you a place to start. Read Jonah Lehrer’s article ‘Mom Was Right: Go Outside’ about the benefits to your brain and creativity from interacting with nature instead of with the Web. It’s from the Review section of The Wall Street Journal. After this, please do give an online newspaper or magazine a chance. Don’t like them? No harm done. No money spent. Try another one.
Claxton, G. (1998). Hare brain, tortoise mind: Why intelligence increases when you think less. London: Fourth Estate.
Lehrer, J. (2012, May 25). Mom was right: go outside. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303610504577418651102615334.html.
NOTE: Access the RU library at: http://www.roosevelt.edu/Library.aspx. You can then do a search of newspapers and journals by title.