What You Should Practice

Robin Hanson points us to a study that shows kids should only do math homework. He takes the opportunity to bang on his drum of school as indoctrination, but I was reminded of a few of my own experiences.

Most of my worst academic decisions had to do with me deciding not to work harder at more technical kinds of subjects: math, science, etc. The cake was taken when I studied for a finance exam by doing word problems instead of math problems and got blown out of the water.

It was years before I realized finance was what I should have been doing in University all along.

It was years after that that I realized what I SHOULD have been doing was engineering.

It all comes down to me taking the easier, less intellectually painful route. Practicing logic/math-related subjects is difficult. Progress is slow because foundational knowledge is not obviously related to the fun stuff you get to do at the end. And for me, if it wasn’t crystal clear how I was going to benefit from something, I just wasn’t going to do it.

I’m a selfish bastard like that.

At work, I was finally liberated to explore these subjects by learning through doing actual projects. No tests, no homework, no BS I don’t care about.

And now at home I’m exploring a deeper counter-factual about my life and learning programming.

I am obsessed and have mostly sacrificed my other hobbies. It’s a miracle I’ve kept the blog streak alive.

I’m the happiest I can ever remember being.


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