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Do you teach yourself anything?

  1. Aug 8, 2009 #1
    Does your education stop in the classroom, or are you an autodidact?

    What have you taught yourself or what are you in the process of learning?

    I'm just curious to know if I should start teaching myself anything not only for curiosities sake but to get a competitive edge. I'm 17.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2009 #2
    I've tried teaching myself things in order to get a competitive edge, and I don't think my brain lets me.
    When I learn things on my own so far, its been in a very haphazard way, not in a constructive way. I've done a HUGE amount of reading this summer, ranging in topic from existentialism to globalization. I've developed almost every side of my character EXCEPT the physics side (still haven't gotten through the mathematical physics book I set out to learn).
     
  4. Aug 8, 2009 #3

    berkeman

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    Interesting term, "autodidact". Is that a real word? I like it.

    I went through my EMT textbook before starting the class. Aced the class.

    I have enjoyed learning about antennas, DSP, and a few other things outside of structured classes.

    It's definitely a good thing, to be comfortable learning on your own. I think part of the advances in education we will see over the next 50 years or so will be self-learning, with assistance from computer based learning tools (not classes per se).

    What subjects are you interested in learning more on your own, whether just for fun, or for preparation for future class work?
     
  5. Aug 8, 2009 #4
    anything really :)
    do you have any tips? I find it difficult to discipline myself.
     
  6. Aug 8, 2009 #5

    turbo

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    Pursue what interests you, nicknaq, and specialize when you find some really interesting nooks and crannies. You can get deeper into those nooks and crannies than anybody who glides by with disinterest or preconceptions. When I find stuff really interesting, I get wrapped up in it, not because I want to be the "best" at something, but because I want to learn. I had help learning how to kayak high-class white water (the 14 year-old daughter of friends who was an olympic-class paddler). Other than that, my specialties are all pretty-much self-taught. Playing guitar, troubleshooting and restoring tube-driven guitar amps, guitar repair, faceting gemstones, mining for gemstone rough, motorcycle maintenance and repair, designing and tying fishing flies, building fly-rods.... If you want to learn to do something, you first need to contact people in the field and get their recommendations for books, manuals, etc. Even self-taught people need guidance or luck to find suitable materials to learn from.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Aug 8, 2009 #6

    berkeman

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    It is true that getting away from TV and vid games helps a lot. Can you put up with that?
     
  8. Aug 9, 2009 #7

    djeitnstine

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    I always love learning new things. I've gone through many topics in advanced math thus far and taught myself a little advanced CATIA.

    If I'm not being intellectually challenged I get bored quickly and pick a subject to learn.

    Its as if its in my blood. I always have to be learning something new and interesting!
     
  9. Aug 9, 2009 #8
    If you're trying to get a jump on things, get ahold of the text you will be studying from.
     
  10. Aug 9, 2009 #9
    Also, the internet can be your best or worst friend. It depends. Do you watch online courses or are you on Facebook all the time?

    Make a schedule. This is what I did. I scheduled my "classes" and also don't forget to give yourself a break from time to time (like a lunch break in school). I felt like a professor, teaching myself that is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009
  11. Aug 9, 2009 #10

    berkeman

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    I agree, that's really to the point. And when you pick up a text that you will be studying over the next semester, and flip through the chapters, don't be surprised if you get goose-bumps and the shakes reading what you will be learning. I still remember thinking, "I'll understand that in a few months?!". Beauty.
     
  12. Aug 9, 2009 #11

    berkeman

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    What's CATIA? Quick totorial? Thx.
     
  13. Aug 9, 2009 #12
    I taught myself basically the equivalent of a AA in computer science. It was easy ONLY because I was interested in computers. If I had no interest then the self teaching would have been impossible.
    When I finally did go to get an official education I was able to challenge out (take the final exam in the first week) about 70% of my classes. Getting the BA was not as easy.

    You can only teach yourself just so much before you need the text books to explain the more finite details.

    Good Luck.
     
  14. Aug 9, 2009 #13

    djeitnstine

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    CATIA is a computer aided designing software (CAD) used to draw 3D objects. Similar to AutoCAD and ProE.

    CATIA is quite flexible as you can do more than just design "simple" objects. Now you can connect with other designers and share ideas over the internet.

    You can also create animations of your design, view manufacturing processes etc...
     
  15. Aug 9, 2009 #14
    Definitely can and have done so. My problem is internet use. Little excessive at times.

    I just struggle to get down and study. I like the suggestion another user offered on making a schedule. Will try! :)
    Thanks
     
  16. Aug 9, 2009 #15
    I basically taught myself alot of pharmacology and by default alot of bio, chem and physiology. At the time I was extremely interested in it and would just pour over anything that was available to me and that was on my level.

    Did it give me a competitive edge? I would think so.I eventually took formal classes in bio, chem, physio and pharm and felt I learned things as well as I did because of the study I had put in previously. Concepts werent new, and though I understood what I had learned better AFTER taking formal classes, I dont think I would have understood it as well had I not done the studying I did before.

    Now that Im doing physics and math, I have tried to do self study of topics I will eventually take formal classes in, but I find it much harder to will myself to sit down and actually do it. Maybe its because Im now a full time student and just dont have the energy to put in the extra work, where as before I was a full time worker, learning basics of pharmacology as a hobby.
     
  17. Aug 9, 2009 #16
    Alright, thanks for all your responses. Much appreciated.

    Another question I'll throw out is how long I should commit to self-education. What did you do? It is summer holidays and I'm thinking of making myself a schedule, maybe 3 hours a day (not straight; plenty of breaks) and maybe adding an extra hour on weekends. Attainable? I think my first subject will be chemistry (love it!).

    Thanks again!!!
     
  18. Aug 9, 2009 #17

    djeitnstine

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    In my opinion any self study should feel as great as your love for the subject. In my opinion I think 3 hours is a lot I don't know how you feel about studying like that but I would do 1 hour away.
     
  19. Aug 9, 2009 #18
    I studied Algebra II and precalculus for about 3 hours a day (I took the week ends off) and I am glad I did. There is not much to do were I live so I spend my time as constructively as I can. It all depends on how bad you want it, If you really want to know something, you wont wait for someone else to teach it to you.
     
  20. Aug 9, 2009 #19

    dx

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    Personally, I consider self-instruction the primary method of learning, and lectures/teachers as auxiliary things to help you along in this.
     
  21. Aug 9, 2009 #20
    If you want to save money on buying textbooks, i would use MIT opencourseware. In some courses, they'll give you complete lectures, problems sets, the exams (and the answers), and recommended reading if you really want a textbook. I've been teaching myself multivariable calculus, and the physics of waves and fluids from it. I like it b/c its not as dry as a textbook and you see how teachers explain the concepts.
     
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