Sunday, December 19, 2004

Update

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have had some time to have good conversations with family members, have had time to dig into that stack of books that I want to read, have taken some photos, and am piece by piece chipping away at the “to-do” list. It has been so wonderful to have time to just relax. I don’t think that I would recommend living without a schedule as a life style, but after having finished a big project it is nice to just sit back and take things as they come for a spot.

I had some time to sit and think yesterday, and I was reflecting on the questions I asked in my blog entry dated December 14. Yes, I was still thinking about the concept of being the Jack of all trades and master of none. I was pondering on some of my talented friends. They all have careers in different disciplines, it was at that point that I began to understand something that one would thing should be obvious, but I had not thought of it yet. My very talented friends aren’t masters of everything that they take up, nor do they have to be. They are often very skilled in the fields where they chose to focus their education, and while they have many talents, they are truly spectacular in that one area that they chose to study.

Lets take for example one of my friends who is a musician. This person is really amazing when it comes to playing an instrument, and has a great ear for how music should be performed. This person has spent many years working on perfecting that skill set. Lessons, schooling and practice, eventually it all adds up to make a master. I think that for the longest time, I have ignored those very principles of learning: lessons, schooling, and most importantly practice.

This semester in school, this principle was brought home to me in my ODE/Linear Algebra class. Something finally clicked, and seemingly for the first time I was able to really understand Algebra and Calculus. At long last, I am beginning to reap the rewards of hours of study, and the time and money I put into class attendance and private tutors.

If I continue to place the emphasis on my schooling, soaking up the information presented in my classes, and practicing those things presented, there is no reason that I can’t become a master of the Computer Science discipline. To answer my question of last week, it is not that one has to give up everything in order to gain mastery, but it is that he/she may need to make it a more serious priority than other things. One can learn to be a master of something and still have time be a human. In my mind, it seems to come down to where one places the priority and emphasis. Given 168 hours in a week, it is all about where and how you choose to spend the time.

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