Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Learn with me?

I've had a lot of "free time" over the past few months. With a feverish passion for new information and the entire Internet at my fingertips, I slowly found myself dipping into a new addiction: learning.
Yes, Miss MikGlitter, can't-tell-her-right-from-her-left-without-looking-at-her-hands, can-barely-blend-concealers, interested-exclusively-in-all-things-pink-and-sparkly, has found a hobby in...expanding her intellectual horizons? That was unexpected, right?



They say that you'll never fully understand how to do something until you teach someone else how to do it. I didn't quite believe this until I got into high school. I've always been a math-y girl; I'd rather spend hours solving your algebra problems than write an essay for you. (Dude...what am I even doing writing a blog post?!)
My math class during freshman year was designed to cover, almost entirely, material that I'd already learned. The "new" material was very easy for me to grasp. I was very easily bored, even slightly disappointed; I love learning, and I like math. Math class was one of my favorite things about school. Now what was I supposed to do for those 45 minutes every day? I couldn't pay attention to more than 10 minutes of the lesson.
Then, I looked around at my classmates. (Disclaimer: I went to an all-girls school, so... obviously all the people I'm going to be talking about are girls.) Several of them were struggling to keep up with the material that was second nature to me.
I finally found something to occupy that 6th period slot of time; rather than listening to the lesson, I began paying attention to the manner in which my teacher presented the material to her class. I was quickly able to shift the discussions in 5th period lunch from the whiny, typical freshman dramas, to math help.
Sure, I was helping girls with homework that would be due the next period, but where's the harm in that? We weren't copying work; nobody ever saw my completed assignments. I wasn't just telling them the answers, either.
I tried, as hard as a 5'2", socially incapable, 15-year-old girl can try, to genuinely help my friends understand why each problem was being solved the way it was. Eventually, my lunch table turned into a sort of "homework help" table, where girls, even the ones who weren't in my "group," would still stop by once in a while if they needed some math-y advice.
After a week or so of helping my friends with math, I decided that I was destined to be a math teacher, a dream that stayed alive for about an hour. (Paperwork isn't my thing. Creating notes, lesson plans, homework, and then grading it all!? Nightmare!) 

(tl;dr I helped my friends with their math homework when I was fifteen years old and it was surprisingly fun.)

By the time final exams rolled around, I realized something: I had learned to understand math...better. I understood it better than I probably would have, had I just done the bare minimum amount of work that was required. I understood that new material better, because I reviewed it frequently. I could, of course, go through every equation and get a correct answer without even thinking, but when I taught other people how to solve the problems, I had to think. I had to break the information down and simplify it. In the process of helping other people learn, I was finally able to fully understand what I was doing.

Of course, I could totally be looking back at this time in my life through rose-colored glasses: My lunch period freshman year could, in reality, have been a bunch of girls nodding their heads, feigning comprehension, waiting for me to slip up and accidentally deliver the correct answer... However, I like to think that my memories are extremely accurate.

I promise, that story has a point. 

I'm dedicated to learning. I know, it's good to learn something new every day, blah, blah, blah, but I'm talking about serious education, not just silly facts. I have the entire Internet at my fingertips. If I put enough time and effort into it, and Google is willing to help me along, there's a pretty good chance that I'll be able to learn it.  
Well, the funny thing is, it looks like I'm going to have even more free time over the next few months! That means I have lots of time to put lots of effort into learning lots of new things! (Aren't you glad I didn't say "tons?" That would be 6,000 lbs. of time, effort, and things)
Thus, I present to you: The MikGlitter Project.

Since I have all this "free time" before I can start school (which is a very complicated, personal situation that I'm not quite ready to publicly discuss at length), I'm going to create my own, personalized, self-driven education. The best part? After much deliberation, I've decided to bring you along for the ride.
What does that mean? Honestly, I don't know yet. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get really good at some assorted things and then be here to cheer you on as you also try to master said assorted things, but that's a very tentative plan and it could honestly change at any time.
All I know is: whatever I do, I'm gonna work my butt off to make sure it's top-quality, for you. Yes, you, the kind soul who took the time out of your busy life to read this excessively wordy blog post. Thank you. Strap on your Internet seatbelts; I think we're in for a fun ride.


I less than three you all.

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