After spending a semester gaining so much valuable knowledge, I have been forced to reflect upon all of the lessons that I carry with me everyday and select only two. I have chosen to discuss something that I learned in my Language Acquisition class, and my Death and Dying class. Both of the courses are a part of my general education requirements.
Starting off the year in Language Acquisition, we learned about “the critical period,” which is a key period in human development when humans are learning to speak. This is a time when young children need to be exposed to language and communication. This is such an important time for children, because if they are not exposed to language at this time, they may have fallen behind compared to their peers, and it could potentially affect them for the rest of their lives.
In my Death and Dying class, we started the semester off by reading “On Death and Dying.” In this book, the author interviewed many different terminally ill patients regarding their death. I found this to be especially fascinating because death is something that we call need to face at some point, and yet it is hardly talked about.
These two topics each struck me for different reasons. I found “the critical period” to be extremely interesting for two reasons. One being that I did not realize how much of a difference that parents can have on their children’s lives simply by communicating with them. And the second being that this concept does not apply to the rest of my life.
Although there is a certain time frame that humans must follow in order to understand language, this is not true for lifelong learning. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is nonsense. Humans are one of the most intelligent species, which means that learning is lifelong and does not, and should not, stop once we hit a certain age.
“On Death and Dying” talked about death in ways that are not normally talked about in everyday life because they are taboo. Once main concept, or theme that carried throughout the book was the stages of death. Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As a person is dying, they go in and out on these stages in no particular order, it depends on how they are viewing their own death.
Every human being will have to face death at the end of their life, and throughout their life. It is hardly talked about, so it can be challenging to prepare for and to face. It does not need to be a sad moment though, it is just a part of the life cycle, and if people talked about it more, it might not be as scary especially if it brought people together in a positive way.
This lesson is something that I do think applies to my everyday life. I learned that death is always there, there is no escaping it. But that does not need to be a scary or lonely thing, it is now just be a reminder to live each day with meaning.
Both of these lessons, although are very different, and come from very different disciplines, are relevant to one another in some ways. We have a limited number of days here on Earth, so it is important to take advantage of this time and learn as much as we can.
Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying ; What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy and their own families. New York: The Macmillan Company.