Essay topics: A colleague of the great scientist James Watson remarked that Watson was always “lounging around, arguing about problems instead of doing experiments.” He concluded that “There is more than one way of doing good science.” It was Watson’s form of idleness, the scientist went on to say, that allowed him to solve “the greatest of all biological problems: the discovery of the structure of DNA.” It is a point worth remembering in a society overly concerned with efficiency.
Adapted from John C. Polanyi, “Understanding Discovery”
Do people accomplish more when they are allowed to do things in their own way? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
Every night as I lounge around the house, my parents constantly berate me for not getting a head start on my homework. They always echo that common sentiment of a head start shared by teachers and parents everywhere. However, though I may occasionally fall prey to procrastination, my homework is always turned in on time, and it is my best quality work. For like James Watson, “lounging around” is a way for me to do my best; ultimately, every personality has its own techniques to produce their work, and it is essential that people follow their own structures and strategies.
One of the best ways to illustrate this is through my study of piano. I had been playing for four years when the tedious repetitive practicing of minuets and sonatas had broken my urge to practice, even my urge to play. I quit, yet I found myself wandering back to my mahogany piano on late nights, my fingers itching to create music out of those black and white keys. Consequently, I decided to return to piano; however, this time I decided to not let marathon practices quelch my ability to learn and love piano. My new policy is to sit down on the bench and practice until my hands hurt from strain or my head hurts from pure frustration. I’ve discovered you can’t learn a piece from the form of practicing my parents advocated: pounding away until you get it right. Practicing while your body or mind is exhausted does nothing to help your playing, and only increases your physical or mental stress. While I used to do four-hour sessions of practices, I now sit down and focus completely for an hour, and then take a break for a snack or some tv to rest my mind and body. These breaks are actually the most essential part to my growth as a pianist, otherwise, like many years ago, I’d be sure to quickly grow tired of playing. Before I only learned five or so pieces a year, while this last fall I learned eleven.
By doing things my way, I was able to develop more as a pianist. Everyone has a different work ethic suited to their personalities and the way they learn, and it is important to acknowledge these differences so we can maximize growth. This is why teachers use a combination of audio and visual teaching techniques, so everyone, “in their own way,” can understand.
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