What To Go Back To School For And Why (Even If You Don’t Use Memory Techniques)

Did you ever fantasize about dropping out of high school?

I sure did.

So much so that I wound up taking the leap into the unknown.

Stupid as it was, I dropped out and left Canada’s free education system without a high school diploma.

(Don’t get distracted now …

… but for the full story, right-click and open a new tab to read What To Do If You Or Someone You Love Wants To Drop Out Of High School.)

The question is …

Given all the amazing information I found myself learning on my own without interference of schools, boring teachers and their rules …


Why On Earth Go Back To School?


It’s a simple story, really.

I went back to graduate with my friends … even though I wasn’t graduating.

Actually, as cool as all my friends in high school were …

There was a girl named Kelly. I had a huge crush on her!

I don’t remember all the circumstances, but somehow I wound up taking her to a prom to celebrate a graduation I wasn’t completing!

Everyone but Kelly thought it was awkward and weird.

I mean … just imagine:

One of the most popular girls in school was going to attend high school graduation with a dropout.


It Was A Year Of Living Dangerously!


In reality, I was the obvious choice. After all, I’d gone through an entire encyclopedia during my time off and listened to educational radio programming every morning.

Whereas most others had sat in desks and tapped their pencils against textbooks they found exhausting, I’d left disgusted by what I saw as an epic waste of time.

But as smart as that move may have been, I was still a Heavy Metal Moron with barely two nuts rolling around in my head. No one in their right mind drops out of high school.

Even so, I’m glad I did. And because I did, I could make my return as a Heavy Metal Renaissance Man armored in everything but the Magnetic Memory Method.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Oh, my … Kelly … I remember her so well.

Kelly wore a tight blue dress.


The Kind Of Dress That Should Be Illegal …


Then again, it’s the illegal character of her dress that made it so memorable! 😉

For my part, I dressed like James Bond.

My white Tuxedo jacket made me stick out like a sore thumb, but it was fun.


Totally my style.

Together, Kelly and I looked like we were trying to be undercover spies in a high school espionage movie.


Only Sheep Need A Leader


But at some point during the evening, Kelly squirmed away from my protective grip and I found myself hanging out with Sophie.

Background: Sophie and I became fast friends in Grade 10 and worked on a Western Civilization project together. It was called Only Sheep Need A Leader and involved an alternative history of Ancient Egypt.

I won’t get into it the entire assignment, but just imagine Moses battling aliens after discovering that the pyramids were actually interstellar space ships.

Somehow we got an A on that project, even if we completely rejected factual history in our reports.

Whatever. We had weird teachers …

The thing is this:

I wound up spending a lot of time with Sophie and often went with her on trips to her mom’s place near Vancouver.

Her mom was a professor and made a HUGE impression on me.

After all, she was an author of a book you actually came across in bookstores in Canada and always seemed to be writing or traveling somewhere to give a speech.

But that kind of future as an author and professor was beyond my imagination …


Especially As A High School Dropout!


That’s why it must have been an act of fate when Sophie’s mom found out on graduation night that I was attending only to celebrate, not walk away with a Dogwood like everyone else (Dogwood = fancy talk for “high school diploma” out in B.C.).

I wasn’t using memory techniques back then, so can’t rattle the exact discussion off the top of my head.

But it started with dismay …

Then shifted to refusal …

And ended with persuasion.

Persuasion so strong I did exactly what Sophie’s mom told me!

You must finish your high school degree, Sophie’s mom told me. You’re exactly the kind of guy who should become a professor.


Stay In School Until You’ve Reached The Very Top!


That was her ultimate message.

Get every degree you can until they won't reward you any more.Click To Tweet

Even though it wasn’t easy …

Even though I wound up experiencing a long series of mysterious twists and turns …

And even though I don’t teach at a traditional university outside of the Magnetic Memory Method Online University these days …


Memory Techniques Helped Me Get Every Degree You Can Get
(And They Will Help You Too!)


And don’t think for a second that it wasn’t painful. I had to go back and sit with a group of kids younger than myself for an entire semester to get that Dogwood.

But here’s the thing:

Even though I was embarrassed and felt totally out of place when I went back to high school …

I was never bored. Not anymore.

You see, Sophie’s mom had installed within me a picture of hope and triumph during an uncertain time.

A time during which, no matter how smart a kid I may have been, without a degree I probably would have wound up cleaning toilets or flipping burgers.

Having done both … I know just what a nasty fate that can be.


That’s Not The Fate I Want For You!


Wherever you are, whatever your current state of education, no matter how you feel about your memory …

Each of us needs someone who believes in us. Someone who can see exactly what we need.Click To Tweet

My feeling is that people need memory training on an ongoing basis. Someone to help them along on a monthly basis

Even though I’m quite good with memory techniques, I still continue studying and practicing on a daily basis.

I don’t have to. I could just continue talking about memory. Lots of people on the Internet talk and talk about memory techniques without actually using them.

You, like me, can instantly see through them.

But here’s the thing:

Even with all the ruffians, lurkers, haters and trolls …

Memory Improvement Never Ends


But back when Sophie’s mom challenged me to return to school … it was a difficult choice to make.

Not just because of the shame involved in going back to high school.

But because school wasn’t that much fun.

Far from it!

And it was a long time yet to go before I would find the memory techniques that made it a blast.

Learned them to the bone.

Fashioned them into something I could own.

Used them every day.

Set up elaborate online teaching systems so I can offer them to the world.

For you:

No need to take such a long journey through educational hell.

School never has to be tough for anyone again.


Just learn and use memory techniques. You’ll be more than fine.

You and your memory will be Magnetic.

6 Responses to " What To Go Back To School For And Why (Even If You Don’t Use Memory Techniques) "

  1. John Schwartz says:

    Great podcast, Anthony. Good to hear a little of your journey.

    From my perspective, in answer to your question towards the end, I think the reason memory techniques are not being taught (or, rather, why teachers are not teaching how to learn) is two-fold:

    1. Very few teachers have ever learned how to learned (are not learners themselves) ― you can’t teach what you don’t know and have experienced and,
    2. Teaching kids how to learn is likely threatening to some ― putting the power of knowledge and learning into the hands of *anyone* with the will to learn could be considered dangerous to the “educational” structures we have created… where, ironically, very little learning occurs.

    • Thanks for this, John.

      I think you’re probably right that many teachers are not actively learning themselves – and no doubt given some of the conditions under which they teach.

      Then again, they often do have to take refresher courses and the like, so perhaps a yearly, mandatory “learning how to learn” course would help. Barbara Oakley has a great one and talked about it here on the Magnetic Memory Method podcast not too long ago.

      About your second point, I’ll be addressing that next week in the third and final installment of this series. Looking at the Neo-Victorian school system, one is tempted to think that there is some kind of conspiracy to maintain a world of unthinking wage slaves … and that may be true.

      But even if it is true, at the end of the day, responsibility still falls on the parent and the individual student. There’s really no escaping that.

      Thanks for the great comment and look forward to reading your next contribution. Much appreciated! 🙂

  2. Lukas says:

    Inspiring post, Anthony! Even though I followed the normal path (finished high school, went to university and completed all my degrees in time) I can still relate to a lot about what you say. For me, it was never about the classes or the teachers. It was about the things we were learning. And ultimately, we were not really learning that much at school: the real learning happens in your head. If you’re willing to put in the time, that is. And use the right memory techniques.

    I feel that for many people who didn’t like going to school (or just don’t like learning in general), it’s not about boredom, but rather frustration because knowledge seems difficult to get into your head; a feeling of incapability because you don’t feel you master the right (memory) techniques to study. And Anthony, you’re uniquely positioned to teach people how to actually learn, and bring them the joy of learning. That’s why I appreciate so much what you’re doing here!

    • Thanks for this, Lukas.

      I think you’ve nailed something really important, something talked about by Plato long ago in the Allegory of the Cave:

      Learning hurts.

      Not necessarily in a dramatic or torturous way. But learning costs time and energy and the human body comes equipped with an ego designed to spare the biological organism too much exposure to what it perceives as unnecessary expenditure.

      And the pain gets worse when things don’t immediately click, which is why most people quit the first time they try to pick up a new skill. I think this is why meditation is so critical, as are so-called “quick victories.” They help the learner overcome the frustrations and energy drain inherent in learning anything.

      And we know that learners need a balance of something that challenges them up to a certain point. Without that challenge, nothing happens. But too much challenge, and the learner receives none of the necessary reward.

      How to find the right balance between challenge and progress?

      Simply be on the path and be aware that you’re on the path.

      Thanks again for the kind works and for contributing to the discussion. Look forward to the next one! 🙂

  3. Ninsidhe says:

    Curious- every teacher and professor in university I made contact with during my stints of trying university all told me the same thing: *don’t* go to university, you’ll hate it and they’ll hate you. The first online university subject I ever tried ended up with me co-authoring a complete re-write of the course with the professor running it and me becoming a tutor and guide for everyone else in the class. I’ve attended university open days and after a few minutes conversation with any professor of a subject I’m interested am told the same thing: don’t go to uni, it will only destroy me. After trying a few online courses I totally agreed with their assessment and so didn’t bother- why would I want to end up at the top of a really boring, authoritarian cultured, focused on churning out ‘job prospect ready’ products instead of switched on minds, obedience focused tree?

    Weird. I could say ‘do it for the money’ but is that truly worth selling my soul over- writing papers that regurgitate in acceptable fashion what the Guard Dogs of Culture want to hear in order to get a piece of paper that demonstrates my ability to regurgitate in acceptable fashion? Nurgh. Do I need the pieces of paper to demonstrate that I actually have a thinking mind, which the pieces of paper actually don’t demonstrate whatsoever?

    Or is it proof of my being able to endure mind numbing boredom for the sake of cultural and societal approval? My ex loathed school as much as I did and now creates innovative tech in China for a bunch of start up companies, in part because his particularly brilliant, many faceted skillset isn’t something that university programs teach or even comprehend. My own skillset isn’t even on the table, so where do I go for cultural approval and the right pieces of paper? Fortunately, I don’t want cultural approval if it means chopping off bits of my mind and self to get it.

    Not all of us are actually interested in fitting into the current paradigm, no matter how enticing the system tries to make the rotten carrot.

    • Awesome that you wound up helping improve that course, Ninsidhe!

      I totally hear you on these matters and agree that a piece of paper in no way demonstrates the presence of a thinking mind.

      I suppose I am thinking of education as something one uses to achieve personal ends, almost like an entrepreneur invests in a company.

      There are certainly many ways to think about this and I’m so glad to have your thoughts on the matter. Thanks for posting and I look forward to your next contribution! 🙂

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