A few months ago, I was worrying a lot about learning maths, probability, statistics and writing essays. I’m still not where I think I should be on any of those things, but something really good happened.
One weekend I holed myself up in a room to write a report for my Data Science apprenticeship. I watched video after video on YouTube, I read several Wikipedia entries, I wrote and edited and wrote and edited over and over. At the end of it all, I had a report I was not only proud of, but one I had also enjoyed doing.
This is what learning is all about. This is what essays, reports and coursework are about. They’re not about regurgitating what your teachers have told you, writing down notes in class or even completing exercises. Learning is challenging yourself to understand something new, through application and describing. One of the best ways to learn about something is to try and teach it to someone, and the best essays and reports have something to learn from them.
On that weekend, I didn’t just learn about the topic, I learned to enjoy writing about something I was learning. I hated essays before and now I don’t. I had to write another essay recently and it was fun, I even wrote too much and spent a good amount of time scaling it down.
And the funny thing about the recent essay is that I even feel like I might need to redo it, and that doesn’t scare me. I have other work I need to do for a deadline, but if I get it done soon enough, you better believe I’ll rewrite that essay too.
Learning isn’t meant to be easy, but when you find your groove, it can be a hell of a lot of fun!