I’ve just been watching University Challenge. Along with Only Connect, these quiz shows are a Monday night ritual in our house. The programme always starts with the contestants giving their name, place of origin, and subject they are studying (or reading if they are being formal).
So what are you studying?
My dictionary defines ‘to study’ as ‘to devote time and attention to gaining knowledge of a subject, especially by means of books’.
With this in mind, I am currently studying crime of the mid twentieth century, by means of the novels of P D James. Or to put it another way, I’m reading her Adam Dalgliesh stories in chronological order. I could also be said to be studying BBC News and Facebook. And sometimes, too often, I study Jungle Jewels.
Another definition of studying is ‘to look at closely in order to observe or read’.
With this meaning, I can say that I study my patients so that I can offer the best solutions to their problems. I study my family. I study the sky – constellations and cloud formations. I study plants. I study my own personal history and memories. I study words and language, meanings and patterns.
It’s impossible to attempt to write well without studying.
Paul wrote to the Philippians:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
So what are you devoting your time and attention to? What are you looking at and observing? What are you studying?