The student is all about learning. She looks to own information and skills, but knowledge is more than a collection of facts. Knowledge is also awareness and experience. To bring the learning to fruition, the student must gather the courage to apply it in the real world. She must give up living by the book, and learn to think for herself.
For the immature student, learning is a process that happens by transmission. A teacher relays information to the student. The student absorbs this information, and regurgitates it in original form. The teacher’s pet is the one who parrots information back the best, and that is the pinnacle of performance for her.
The student archetype who is underdeveloped swings between two extremes. On one end, she has no confidence in her own intelligence and thinks that she isn’t good at learning. This presents a barrier to education and causes her to be close-minded. This sets the student up to default to the teacher and not own her previous experience and ability to learn. On the other hand, the student archetype is overly confident in her ability. She thinks she already knows everything because she’s studied so hard. This also results in a closed mind.
Learning to the Test
The student starts out with an obsessive, insatiable hunger to learn. She wants to get all the answers right. For the undeveloped student archetype, good grades and being the top of her class are everything.
When she gets a bad grade, the student archetype can blame her teacher. She may fault the curriculum and badmouth the school. Whether the accusations are true or not, the student can place the responsibility for her education outside of herself.
When it is time to put her knowledge to use, the student can refuse to act. She uses the excuse of too few credentials, degrees, credits, or certifications. The antithesis of trial by fire, the student studies instead of acts. She prefers to remain in the ivory tower, naive of real world problems she’s ill equipped to solve. She’d rather take another exam and try for a better score than leave academia.
In her unevolved form, the student learns to ace the test. She much prefers the critical eye of her teacher over that of public opinion. Extrinsic approval and the reward of a high GPA motivates her.
Student in Experiential Learning
As she grows, the student archetype realizes that learning involves building on pre-existing knowledge. Learning is a process of construction and creation that needs her engagement. Passive absorption no longer satisfies her. Instead of taking in raw information without thought, the mature student intentionally processes experience.
As the student finds her role in the learning process her mind opens. She enters into the cycle of experiential learning. In the first step she takes in experience with mindfulness, watching with curiosity. Next, she reflects on what happened and sits with what puzzles her.
Paramount for the mature student is the act of metacognition – thinking about her own thinking. She engages her to come up with potential solutions. Coming up with answers on her own versus insisting someone provide the right answer, means the student is taking responsibility for her own learning process. She not only thinks for herself, but evaluates her own learning process to learn about how she learns.
The empowered student is willing to make an educated guess, and put this theory to the test with intentional action. This is testing to learn. She is the self-author of her knowledge, willing to carry it out into the real world and put what she knows to the test.
Multiple Forms of Intelligence
The student archetype initially focuses on IQ. She sees learning purely as an intellectual pursuit and wants to sharpen her cognitive abilities. She relies heavily on reasoning and logic to get her through. The immature student feels good about herself when she scores higher than her classmates on exams. She believes she can think her way through anything if she learns the right facts and procedures. There is definitely a shadow of competitiveness when IQ scores and GPAs are in the picture.
The enlightened student archetype stands back from the impulse to be a smarty-pants, know-it-all and opens up to the intelligence of others. She sees everyone as her equal regardless of who knows more or less than she does. She enjoys a good study session with colleagues with a mutual sharing of ideas.
As she matures, the student opens to other forms of intelligence within. These include emotional intelligence and intuitive intelligence. The biology also has its own intelligence. She starts listening to aches, pains, and pleasures of the body as valuable sources of information. The student learns to access the greater cosmic intelligence, and uses faculties beyond the five senses to receive information through spiritual guidance.
Learning from the physical, emotional, intuitive, and spiritual systems, the student grows into a truly talented learner. No longer does she need textbooks because knowledge is everywhere. She actively engages with creating and using it.
Student vs. Teacher
The student archetype is primarily interested in learning, period. If someone wants to hear what she’s learned, she’ll be glad to share. However, she doesn’t want to help someone else understand. The student is interested in her personal learning and advancement. She doesn’t make a good teacher.
Some people wonder if they have both the student and the teacher archetypes. In Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts system, we advise people to choose one or the other for their chart of origin. These two archetypes are too similar to have both. People who are dedicated to helping others learn are inherently learners themselves. Thus, the student is embedded within the teacher. For the people who prefer to learn for learning’s sake, they have the student archetype only.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch, Certified Archetypal Consultant through Caroline Myss’s CMED Institute, works as a publicist and journalist for Mother Nature and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as sources of guidance and healing. Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the world of symbolism and archetypes easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.