Self-Educating

Despite being impossibly busy between curricular and extra curricular activities, in addition to the incessant and omnipresent quest for a summer internship, I have begun a new challenge, hopefully something that I will be able to tangibly track on this blog.

Partially inspired by this post (the other two parts being a complete pillage of my uncle’s college textbooks, in addition to a friend’s recent quest to become Gordon Gekko), I have begun a quest to self-educate myself on selected topics. Why, you might ask? Despite the fact that I already dual-major and minor (for inquiring minds: Finance/International Political Economy, Latin American Studies), I find myself yearning additional stimulation.

After a minuscule amount of internet researching, I thought I would open this up to community discourse. Below are the subjects I have narrowed my interests down to, in addition to a rationale behind each one, with the materials I have at my disposal in parenthesis.

I am looking for a) additional subjects that may be deemed essential to my “rounding” that I may have missed out on.

b) tips/resources to implement a self-education regimen.

c) essential resources in addition to the ones I have listed below, whether it be books, websites etc.

I’m not sure whether I can realistically dedicate myself to all 6 of these subjects, and I fear intermittent study would prove more detrimental to anything. The key, as I see it, is to develop a routine: maybe an hour of the day cordoned off for self-education, regardless of any other commitments I may have that day. No doubt, this may be increasingly easier to implement over the summer. I’ll have to begin experimenting, and check back in.

  • Chess – The game of Chess has always interested me. As young as elementary school, I played Chess both with my father and during a lunch time Chess club. However, I never significantly committed myself to the game beyond the occasional recreational game. I think the thought processes behind the game could prove vital across many disciples. (Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess)
  • The Classics – I love to read. As it stands, reading takes up a significant part of my day. However, I find myself seeking out increasingly recreational reads as my curricular load has grown (although I’m currently LOVING Bill Simmons’ Book of Basketball.) I would love to begin delving into some of the “classics,” specifically Don Quixote. This is an area where I could use more recommendations. (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare)
  • Lynda.com (Internet-y stuff) – As a student, we have complete access to the Lynda.com library. As Howard Lindzon recently gushed over Twitter, Lynda is the real deal. There are a TON of tutorials that I’d likely find valuable, but some of the ones that I’ve keyed into include Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver (CSS), and Microsoft Excel advanced applications. Again, any recs? (Lynda.com)
  • French – A language that I have decent application in. However, like they say about languages, if you don’t use it, you lose it. This is where I grabbed a majority of my booty, I now have a small army of mid-70’s French textbooks at my disposal. (A small army of mid-70’s French textbooks)
  • Portuguese – My third language (not counting English), and probably the one I need to study the most, being as I’ll be in Brazil this time next year. I’ve taken all three Portuguese classes that Penn State’s lackluster program has to offer (ahem). I’m considering auditing the most advanced class that I’ve already taken, although I’m unsure whether I’ll find it overly repetitive and/or below my level. I’ve yet to be impressed by the Rosetta Stone series I’ve procured (sorry, impossibly expensive on a student’s budget.) (Ponto de Encontro + Workbook, my college notes, Rosetta Stone)
  • Economics – An area that I’ve already pursued somewhat in my curriculum. It seems like between my two areas of study there may be a small information gap, one that I’m happy to fill independently. Moreso macro than micro. (A dated 70’s Macroeconomics textbook that seems pretty comprehensive)

Again, I’m really looking for some assistance on this one. Any tips and/or recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Self-Educating”

  1. E,

    I laughed pretty hard when I clicked that link and saw it was to my tweet.

    This brings to mind Seth Godin’s grad school for unemployed college students (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/06/graduate-school-for-unemployed-college-students.html). I understand how you feel about wanting to tackle all these things, and how sometimes these goals can be conflicting. One thing I considered doing, and this may be a bit too extreme/limiting..is setting a hard deadline for myself. For instance, if I want to work on Android development, give myself exactly 3 months to churn something out, and then force myself to move on. This could, theoretically, result in a self-imposed sense of urgency and possibly provide the stress required to really hammer something out. If I’m excited about what I’m working on, then I’ll spend extra time as the deadline closes in to complete it before I’m forced to move to my next project I wish to tackle.

    Just one idea. Not saying its a great one, but something I’ve been kicking around.

    As for Lynda, it’s okay, but I think you’d be better off to just pick up a decent book or two on particular topics of interest. I’d be happy to make some recommendations. It also depends on what your long term goals are.

    Languages are something that have interested me quite a bit, but I haven’t made much progress on them. I think you need to be in a situation where you can use it conversationally to really gain fluency. This summer I’ll be working for a manager that speaks Spanish as a first language, so I may try and pick that up again then.

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  2. You should read “How to Emulate David Hathaway Esq.” by Mack Hamby. Upon completion, you’ll have all you need and can forget any more of this laughable “self-education.”

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