Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Gameplan

One of the biggest ways to set myself up would be to go into this project with no accountability.  I am not about to hire teachers, or have the ability to enter into a degree program with the purpose of "teach me everything i should have already learned. "  So there are limited options here.  

I think the easiest way to hold myself accountable would be to have some way to measure my progress by having a clear objective goal.  That means testing.  Just as with Lisa Simpson, I need some objective measure of my knowledge. In steps the Educational Testing Service.  When I was about to graduate from college, I had absolutely no idea about what I was going to do.  I was well on my way to getting a degree in Econ, but despite the fact that it sounds like a pragmatic degree, it quickly became apparent, that it was anything but pragmatic. No employer gave a shit about the fact that I could discuss utility curves and the concept of "stagflation."  I had already freaked out in my 3rd year and ran away from a philosphy major for fear that I was going to be lost in abstraction, and would never be able to apply Kant's Critique of Judgement in a way that could support myself.   

With graduation imminent, I thought my one way out of unemployment and a fate of knocking on doors trying to sell people on a pyramid scheme (an actual interview i had), grad school was going to be my way out.  I registered for the GRE and took the basic test.  I had no idea what area of graduate studies I was going to pursue, and I had an innate fear of following in my parents' footsteps, and so I hadn't taken any of the subject tests.  Thankfully, I never had to use my score (I did well, but that wasn't the point as i couldn't apply for a graduate program in "verbal skills") as the tech boom was on, my learned ability to turn on a computer landed me a job post-college.  

So what was the point of that digression?  My plan of accountability and progress, is to sign up and re-take the GRE. And not just the Basic GRE which tests verbal skills, (which as a lawyer i hope mine haven't gone downhill), but also for a variety of subject tests.   I whave decided to take the biology, biochem, chemistry, mathematics, physics and literature subject exams.

I don't plan on taking all of the subject tests at the same time, but in order to make this worthwhile, I am going to try and sign up for 2 tests at a time. I am also NOT going to study or use GRE specific materials.   The entire point of this project is to actually teach myself these subjects and not just learn a subject for purposes of taking a test. 

My Timeline

The exams are given out 3 times a year, April, October, and November.  There is no way I can be ready for the exams by October or November, so I am going to plan for an April exam for my first 2 tests.  

Afterwards, I am hoping I can get the next 2 in October or November.  And then my one year anniversay will be for the final 2 subjects.  This will hopefully mean that in 1 year and 7 months i will have learned 6 "elementary" subjects.

What am I leaving out

Computer Science and Psychology.  Despite having taken a couple of comp sci courses, I never really learned computer science, and never took any psych classes, so I am leaving them out as subjects for now. 

What am I going to tackle first?

I think I am going to focus on:

Mathematics & Literature

Chemistry and Physics

Biochemistry, Mol Biology and Biology

Needed Materials

Textbooks, texbooks, Textbooks and Books.

I have many of my college text books, but not all.  I do work at a University, and i get a campus discount, though i can also easily look for used text books as well. 

Progression Accountability

Luckily i have friends and family who teach and involved in many of these subject areas.  I am going to try and get them on board, and ask them to periodically devise ways to make sure I am actually understanding what it is that i am learning. 

The purpose of this blog

I hope to use this as a sort of experment logbook.  I don't expect much of an audience, but I do want a means to record what it is that I am doing.  I also hope that the mere existence of this blog will serve as a means of accountability.  

My Goal

Right now, my plan is to try and score in the top 25%, or better than 75 percentile for all the subject areas. This may be too ambitious, but I would love to try. 


Jester said...

I for one love this.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! I'm going to raise the stakes: if you accomplish this plan, I'm making a special trip to Chicago and am taking you to the 5-star restaurant of your choice, where your newly gained refinement will no doubt dazzle beautiful servers.