Monday, July 22, 2013

Learning to Learn


I have always loved learning.  Sure, I haven't always made that point obvious, but in fact, it is true.  So as I depart the world of education for the excitement of the "real world", I can't help but reminisce about my glorious college days at Penn State and RIT.  But now, I am moving on; entering the unknown with nothing but the knowledge and skills I have acquired in 17 years of schooling.  From what I have heard from friends and read on the internet, I am as unprepared today as I was on the day I began school all those years ago.  But I disagree.  I have completed so many projects, homeworks and exams, spent countless hours researching, studying and taking notes. It has to count for something.  But what?  What do they count for?  I think the answer is that they have taught me how to work hard.  Sure everyone "works hard" once or twice in their life.  But at school, especially in my year at RIT, I have pushed myself to places I never thought I could go, almost daily.  I think my real education was in how to focus and complete a task to perfection.  At the end of the day, I am very proud of the work I have done.


So now, as I move on to a job, I want to keep learning.  I know I will learn about the industry I am in and the technical aspects of my job.  But someday, I want to invent something awesome and start a company.  In fact, I think about it daily.  So that means I need to learn more than just what my job requires.  I have already begun this quest by enrolling in a Stanford Artificial Intelligence class that is offered on Udacity.com.  I am also participating in the Sentience Stack project from my last post. As my quadricopter project winds down, I am learning loads about computer vision, drone laws and fire detection.  I am broadening my coding skills by writing in Python, Javascript, C/C++ and Matlab.  I have even started developing in Linux, because I had never used it before.  Every day, I try to push my knowledge into a new direction and learn about a new technology or application.

To me, there is nothing I would rather be doing than engineering.  I mean come on! I get to build robots every day.  How cool is that?  But in the end, the coolest part about what I do, is that I never have to stop learning, even as I leave school behind.  After all those years in the classroom, maybe the most important thing I have gained is an irresistible curiosity and thirst to learn more.