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Summer School Course—Self-learning 101

        No credit, no preliminary tests and no whatsoever final projects, just for the pure joy of obtaining new knowledge I am interested in— along with other studious Cornellians who spare no time crunching books in summer school during the day, I am taking self-learning courses “engineering statistics” and “Introduction to macroeconomics”, in the evening after finishing my whole day’s work as an intern. The zealotry of delving into numbers and arcane mathematical equations, such as Weibull distribution which can potentially cause tremendous anxiety among many people, actually does not come out of nowhere. I love doing something quantitative in my life, something that can make me see things clearer about this world via numbers and functions. For a quite long time, I have had a weird feeling that something is missing in my daily life during the passed spring semester and I just could not figure out what it was. But one day, when I unintentionally glanced across my Schedulizer class arrangement, I suddenly realized that all courses that I had been taking so far, since the very first semester I transferred here at Cornell, none of them have any strong relationship with math: the only things I remember used were addition, subtraction, multiplication and division—even square root was not involved!

       Therefore, statistics, at engineering level, comes as rescue! And in fact, what empowers you to engage in self-learning, in contrast with teaching-learning practice checked by obligations such as assignment and grading during the semester is quite different. The pure pleasure of finding things out, in my regard, is the utmost rewarding experience in self-motivated learning. Exploring the domain where you are really infatuated at is something that no other subjects can replace, and in a self-customized “research” journey, you are your boss. An even more compelling aspect is that the depth of thinking and discussion featuring in that particular subject can be overwhelmingly interesting to you compared with the limited energy and time allowed during the busy semester.

         Self-learning is a component of self-improvement. It enables you to get better prepared for tomorrow’s challenge through a unique way that no others methods are comparable. In addition to the engineering statistics, I am also taking macroeconomics at an intro level. Why bothering learning economics while working as an intern in soil nutrient management research? Well, internship, as I believe, not only can strengthen your skills and knowledge in one particular aspect, which most of us tend to appreciate in the first place, but also may direct you towards a new direction, for me is agricultural economics–a direction full of challenges and excitement. This revelation has come to me a little late—I only have one more year at Cornell, which means that adapting to a new field, though somewhat related to my current knowledge base, is indeed not easy. Therefore, self-charging during the evening is the only choice I have in order to catch up with others in the intermediate level-macroeconomics course in the future. Besides, I am looking forward to applying for graduate school in the fall, whose requirement includes macroeconomics. Shedding sweat in a hot summer evening is much better than shedding tears after being rejected.

          Live and learn.

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