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October 2, 2012 / windlessly

Brain Overload

I think everyone has a “threshold” for their brain, a certain amount of information that can be acquired in a short amount of time before it overloads. I’m talking about a short amount of time, too- anywhere around 1 to 2 hours. It just so happens that that amount of time is how long classes range from in college. In high school, teachers were very good about the pace of their lectures, so I rarely felt overwhelmed for more than a few moments. Just today though, I went to a section on coding that kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole hour. I had to make a conscious effort to concentrate on every word that was being explained, and even then I barely grasped the material in time for the next part. I was actually doing okay, until about the 50th minute of the lecture. At that point my mind sort of just fell apart- I consider myself a slow learner, and I guess I just reached my threshold, so my brain sort of shut down. I accepted defeat and just told myself I would look over my notes more thoroughly after I had a chance to recuperate.

It was just interesting to me how clear of a cut-off it was, though. I really felt like I was retaining everything up to that point! It was analogous to a bucket supported on a hinge- as it’s being filled, it gradually tilts, but once it reaches its tipping point all the water is let loose. Just like at the dance audition for Stanford’s Swingtime… I was okay for 80% of the routine, but adding on that last 20% and putting it together with everything we learned before,  my brain just melted. I was so close, but in actuality very, very far away.


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