Sunday, July 26, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Do I still think of myself as being a scholar warrior?

Well, I guess that depends on how you define scholar and warrior.

I'm a scholar in the sense that I'm a lifelong learner who loves learning, and a warrior, in that I consider myself to be a very tough person, dedicated to health and fitness and spiritual growth, and am always attempting to improve myself in some way, to be strong and graceful and athletic and also with a good character, but not a soldier in the military fighting sense. But if I had to, to preserve my survival, I'd give it my all.

Realistically though, I neither have a college degree, nor am I presently attending college, so can I rightfully call myself a scholar? Probably not. But I like the term, and there is some truth to it, in that I am a very inquisitive person, who also reads a lot, and is by nature very philosophical, and I suppose within the spectrum of multiple intelligence theory, I've got what you call strong intrapersonal intelligence, having a strong knowledge and curiosity of self, being rather introspective and as I said philosophical.

I write this post, because I've started a new project, and I like to report on all projects related to personal development, in that I've resumed my math refresher course. I've been talking about refreshing my math skills for years, but, not wanting to take any formal classes, have had trouble finding good books to work with, surprisingly there are not too many at the library, and the few titles they have are of limited quantities, with often long waiting lists. Also the problem with studying mathematics from a book, is that there is not much help, as far helping you understand something that you are having trouble with, without a teacher, while still possible to learn completely from books, it's a lot slower.

Well, I've had great success now working with the free online math classes on Khan Academy, and I'm not too terribly embarrassed to admit it, that even though I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, with an above average IQ, that unfortunately my mathematics skills are very poor. Somewhere along the line, despite being a high school graduate, who passed all the required mathematics courses, I lost interest in it, reached a brick wall, had a problem understanding some element of it, and just sort of gave up, as something I had no interest in learning, other than doing the bare minimum to graduate.

Okay, according to the Khan Academy, I'm presently in the 5th grade. How the hell did that happen? I guess a lot of it has been forgotten, but some of it I didn't learn. I had reached that brick wall, and chose to stop, rather than climb over it. But now I'm climbing over it, a little at a time.

You see I got this idea to do this from this self-help book I recently skimmed through at the library, about how to be a more effective thinker, written by two mathematics professors, who mentioned in that book that the number one reason why college students have problems with higher mathematics, is because they failed to master the lower mathematics. Basically, you can't master level 2, until you've mastered level 1. You might pass level one, but without actual mastery, each successive level will become much more challenging and confusing, and more likely to have problems with it.

So, I go on the Khan Academy, and just for the sake of curiosity, say I'll start at the beginning, right back at Kindergarten. I get a little sample of 1st grade and 2nd grade, and so on, and it's not until about the 5th grade, that the problems started getting harder, and I actually got a wrong answer. That's in the areas of fractions and decimals. So anyway, I'm making progress. And because I had already had exposure to this in school, I think I'll probably learn it really fast, because it's just basically reviewing what I should already know. And we'll see how far I go. Maybe all the way to the top. Either way, if you need some brushing up with your maths skill, I totally recommend Khan Academy. It's actually pretty fun, like a game. So much more effective than learning on your own from a book.

That's what I'm working on now, and maybe in a few months, I'll not only be back in high school, in terms of my level of mathematics,  because really I'm in my 30s and I'm way too old for high school so hopefully I won't be there too long, but also maybe I'll be back into my running routine and making some progress there, getting closer to running that first 5k. The only reason I stopped is because its been so goddamn hot, I'm telling you this is no place to live, except for winter, half the year you feel like you're melting and can't breath. Is it true that there's a hole in the ozone layer directly above Arizona? I heard that somewhere, but never checked the facts. That's something to look into, because I'm noticing that each year its becoming more uncomfortable to be outside here during the summer.

Anyway, that's all for now. Another, quite possibly overdue, mind/body fitness report.