There are many things that you could gain and improve from the first year of the Michael Polanyi College (MPC) at UFM. The first year at MPC is about strengthening your learning abilities. It is, as its name states, a boot camp, which is an environment in which you will be exposed to experiences that will help you initiate your journey of self-directed learning.
Here are five things which I greatly valued from my experience that I think you would not want to miss from the MPC Bootcamp.
A stronger sense of independence
In the Bootcamp, you will have to rely strictly on your own abilities to stay on track of the learning experience. And although this is tough, the best experience at the Bootcamp demands far more effort than merely surviving. This is not about survival. Achieving success in the MPC is not the equivalent of avoiding drop off.
In the Bootcamp you will have the opportunity to develop a reliance on your own power to think, thus creating the foundations for the next years in the MPC. In these next years, you will be directing your learning, which will require from you that you rely on your power to make choices, to fail sometimes, but fundamentally, to learn and to grow.
You have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. You have to choose the work you want to do. If you find no joy in it, then you are only condemning yourself to sixty years of torture. And you can find the joy only if you do your work in the best way possible to you. But the best is a matter of standards─ so set your own standards.
Great relationships with fellow MPCers
A major aspect of the experience at the MPC is collaborative learning. Through the hours of classes being shared and the challenges and difficulties you and your peers will go through, you will have a significant opportunity to develop your ability to collaborate with others. The Socratic practice will also foster empathy between your peers and you, which will expand your capacity to appreciate and mutually help each other, not only in learning together but in social relationships more generally.
Appeal to the best in people which is their minds and you will have an ally in the arena of life with whom expand your potentialities for growth.
Develop better learning abilities
Learn from others, but know that learning requires an independent process of thought and evaluation that you must perform alone, and the standard by which you must accept something as true can be nothing other than your own grasp of the facts and the arguments.
MPC’s approach to higher learning is rooted in collaborative, Socratic learning. Through deep-diving into the texts and dialogues, one engages one’s mind in intense intellectual training to sharpen our thinking skills.
Your intellectual growth
In exploring the Great Books of the Western World you get to engage the ideas that have shaped Western Civilization. This helps us cultivate an appreciation for the great ideas and great stories that make up our culture. The great historical issues that surround the ideas we explore can also, for an intellectual-leaning student, breed curiosity as to motivate us further to understand the ideas and their importance.
The open exploration that the Socratic facilitators encourage fosters one’s ability to judge for oneself the arguments being presented and a great appreciation for questions. As questions drive our curiosity to explore the world and think about issues deeper.
Lots of fun!
Fun is about Joy. If you come to wait with expectation and hunger of knowledge the joyous arrival of each Monday, rather than the unexamined routine of the escape of reality of Friday nights, you succeeded as a value-achiever-learner and independent first-handed person that took advantage of the great potential this program and its students have.
As your group develops better dialogue skills the learning dynamics start to lighten and the classes turn increasingly enjoyable because you are succeeding in the activity of learning.
The morning meetings are a component of the program that can be molded into spaces for exploring your peers’ interests and learning all kinds of new things with them.
*Picture taken from: https://www.instagram.com/p/B74c3dpgX3Z/