Like most courses in High School, geography is designed to give you an overview of the available sections of the whole. This is why some courses appear to be disjointed between sections (after a test). This disjointed feeling can have students thinking that they dislike the subject, when in fact it is just a small part of it that is unclear. That is, just because a particular section is unclear, or boring, students will consider the whole subject irrelevant and will barely be able to wait for the course to be over.
Our first point might be a little too broad, but it is important to mention it none-the-less. Try, as much as possible, to see how things are connected. Geography is a highly interconnected discipline, and the sooner you can get used to that way of thinking, the easier it will be for learning more complex concepts, even in seemingly unrelated subjects. For example, if you are studying the rock cycle, do not simply memorize and forget about it as it can be a very useful concept to have when learning about evolution and adaptation. By teaching yourself to see the connections between subjects and topics, future studying efforts can become that much easier if you’ve already made the connection and understand the topic.
Often, finding something you do enjoy in a subject will necessitate learning what you do not enjoy. For example, you are fascinated by biology and animal adaptations, but do not really see the point of geography. It can be really hard to understand adaptation without taking into consideration and animal’s physical environment, which can be explained through geography.
As we’ve mentioned, some students think they do not like the subject, when in fact, it is just a small section of the subject they may not enjoy. For example, geography has sections that allow it to branch into biology (population geography and populations in general), history (how political borders and physical characteristics change), geology (how various types of rocks and minerals can be formed, the rock cycle), etc.. It is highly unlikely that a student will find everything that geography covers boring. We’ve found that it is important to change your thinking about a subject from uninteresting to “that’s kinda cool”. Once this shift happens, and you would like to learn more about a subject, the rest of the “uninteresting” aspects of the subject become part of the knowledge you need to understand what you are fascinated by. Now, this is a long process, and it is not going to happen for every subject, but for one as varied as geography, there is a much higher probability something will grab your attention, if you give it a chance.
An unfortunate aspect of geography’s interconnectedness is that if you are having trouble in one subject, it can also be reflected in geography. For example, if you are struggling with math, geography’s population section can be very difficult, or if you are struggling with English, the amount of reading often associated with geography can present challenges. Since the subject is very connected, it can be a good indicator of other subjects a student might be struggling with, even if the student is doing well in the other courses. As we’ve often alluded to, some gaps in a student’s education can lie dormant for years, and, only when a student needs to use the knowledge, does it become clear that it is missing or incomplete.
Geography is unfortunately one of those courses that students often cannot wait to finish and forget all about. Most of the time, students do not take the time to find something of interest in a “tedious” or “uninteresting” course. This causes them to not really pay attention, and they can miss important aspects that can help them with courses they do find interesting. Geography can also be a good signal for other courses a student has trouble in. Since geography is so interconnected, with a little bit of work, almost everyone will be able to find something that interests them or is connected to their enjoyable academic activities.