Why is it making me add a title | 2023 Mar 19-25

Exercises for the sake of learning to reason

The helpful thing about doing school-like work or exercises like cryptopals—where you’re not doing something for it’s utility but for education—is not that you will necessarily retain information, but that you’ll have create those initial pathways in your brain that build your intuition. For the most part, I feel like if it’s been a little while since I did some exercise or assignment for class, even if I really liked that exercise and felt I learned a lot from it, I won’t be able to remember that much about it off the top of my mind. However if I’m tasked with doing something similar, or needing to reason about something that connects to what I did in that exercise, I’ll be much more equipped to do so.

My recent lull

Just been continuing to feel behind, although I think I’m on the way out of it. Still need to find more stuff to do for Summer of Bitcoin. Been more lazy about dev logs and blog posts.

Continuing to figure things out

I’ve always had this thought that the most helpful thing I could do is to be a senior engineer getting into Bitcoin. Like raw technical experience is maybe more valuable than me being familiar/interested in Bitcoin systems/concepts. Maybe not.

For this reason I’ve found it sort of difficult to ask the question “how can I be helpful?” Because I’m still learning, in the short term, the answer to that is mainly “in small ways,” even though I feel like I might have the interest/dedication to do more than I’m currently capable of. That’s okay. In the long term, I can be helpful by learning and getting the technical experience I need to do more. So I keep chugging along.

A gap semester—or any step diverging from a conventional life trajectory—can be difficult. I don’t have any external measurement like grades or other people in similar positions to compare myself to, so my perception of how I’m doing is totally up to me. I’m still young and figuring out the world so I lack the life experience/knowledge that might give me more confidence to make that determination on my own. This is another thing I’m learning to work on, and I can imagine it’ll be pretty important as I continue on my path.

Learning in general is pretty hard to measure well. Even if I write a cohesive dev log bullet on a topic, when I review the dev log a week later before posting, I’ll often find I’ve forgotten I even learned about something. Writing that was still valuable, and it might’ve been my “first pass” on that topic which will help me revisit it in the future (and writing it definitely helps way more than just having consumed it), but do I count that as “learning”?