When I was in college I took a lot of notes when I was in my classes. Ironically these notes never helped me and ultimately I didn’t remember much of the lectures. The question to myself then was “Why am I even going to lectures?” At the time I had no answer. Recently I was listening to an interview with Richard Dawkins and he said something I wish I had believed and followed in my youth.
Lectures are not for learning, Lectures are for ideas.
A lecturer is paid because they are trying to inspire you. That’s the ultimate core of any good education, passion. That passion is fueled by inspiration. Learning is what you do with the books and (when properly used) the internet. When you let these two things overlap you end up getting less from both.
I think we all make that mistake in some way or another. Debates too share a similar weakness. If you enter into a debate expecting to be trading facts you have already lost. A debate is for ideas and discourse about those ideas. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know something about what you are discussing. But if you must recall facts like you would childhood memories you are wasting your time. Any debate had with someone who is divorced from reality is not one you should have.
Have debates with people who understand reality and life and use those debates to enrich your ideas with those of theirs. This is what scientists do, this is what good people do. I don’t mean morally good but rather people who are using their time on Earth most efficiently.
Save facts for the quiet hours of your day. That time when you can sit back, breath, and read. The fast paced action of debate, discourse, or lectures, are where you become inspired. Those things should inspire you to read and make you hunger for knowledge.
I wish I had known this then, maybe you are going off to college and if you are this will help you. Everything I’ve ever held onto in my life has been something that I didn’t learn sitting in a classroom. It came from me researching that topic that a lecturer enthralled me with. When their passion radiated outwards and poisoned me.
I suspect you will find much the same success.