On a Higher Standard

by Eric

Well this is a quick sketch of my personal scheduling starting from the end of June this year, even if the closing date of which is not as clear.

Let me list a few of the subjects as follows.
1. History and theory
a. Middle Ages, history, trend of developing
b. Economic Analysis, how the subject emerges
2. Financial Engineering, on pricing and derivatives
3. Education
a. History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education(Started)
b. Leaders of learning(July 8, 2014)
c. e-learning ecologies(Jun 30, 2014)
d. What future for education?(Sep 2014)
e. E-learning and digital cultures(Nov 2014)
4. Data Science
a. Statistical Inference(Jul 2014)
b. Regression Models(Aug 2014)
c. Practical Machine Learnning(Sep 2014)
d. Data Products(TBA)
e. ESL
5. Writing
a. Crafting and Effective Writer( Jun 23, 2014)
b. English Composition I: Achieving Expertise (April 2014)
c. English Grammar and Style(Sep 2014)
d. Priciples of Written English I/II/III(Started)
e. Writing II: Rhetorical Composing (Sep 2014)
f. First-Year Composition(TBA, 5-7 hr/week)
g. Writing in the Sciences(Started)
6. Movie
a. Film Experience
b. A Critical History of German Film
7. Linux Foundation(Aug)
8. Convict Conditioning

The whole study plan is divided into three components, namely career preparation, insight development, comprehensive self-improvement. In addition, among the three parts there is a hierachic relationship where insight development is of the greatest significance, while career preparation comes second and self-development stays last. However, it should be clarified that these three parts are all important during my private time section, comparing to other activities in and out of work.

In spite of the passion conveyed via the plan, can I really handle so many domains at the same time when every subject of these requires efforts comparable to what a short(even long) semester demands?

To be frank, two key parts came into my mind when it took my attention at the very beginning, and they are still the main concerns till I’m writing this passage.

First issue is the time available per week, that is, how much time I can spend on these on a weekly basis on average. I did a simple yet naive calculation, that ideally I would have 3 hours of spare time on each weekday, give or take 1 hour depending on my specific arrangement and work amount of that day, and 4 on both Saturday and Sunday, with no bigger variation than 2 hours per day. In sum, I would have 23 hours or so doing my weekly tasks. Well then, 23 hours for six domains, not to mention the energy drained out from working hours on weekdays or the distraction from social activities, is it a fair price for the expected gain that seems so unlimted?

Even if the first question can be fortunately worked out with strong determination and inhuman self-discipline, what about the second one, say, the effectiveness of such attention-intensive activities? We can’t work like machines with steady input and output in spite of the wishfulness, and we get fatigue. Either within the same day or across days, weeks or months, we face decline in efficiency if things are pushed too hard. If this question is not addressed appropriately, someday the whole Utopia would go bankrupt.

Having said all these, the plan seems still feasible to me in some way. Yes, time can be controlled by better scheduling technics. What’s more, efficiency can be retained too if proper pace is in command. At least that’s what I am believing in, with a long journey in mind as well as a patient preparation. To make a progress, I need a solid and concrete fundamental knowledge system, which can only be built step by step and from general overview to specialization. In other words, this progress is supposed to be steady, gradual, and firm.

Since here, I won’t bother you with the detailed scheduling and the calendar stuff, and we will see how it goes.