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How to study like a geek

According to Wikipedia, the word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people; in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast or a person obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably comfortable with this label.  ‘Geek’hood is not for the faint of heart.  But what most of the people laughing at you don’t realize is that in the long term, you are likely to be more successful and happy.

This blog is not about emotion, its about practice.  If you are a geek, you may as well be a good one.  In an earlier blog I talked about the tips to study a subject.  The purpose of studying is to do better.  The purpose of geekhood is to master and love a subject or discipline.  At that point, marks become incidental to the process of being really good at a subject.

While these tips are most applicable if you are in high school, they are generally true as well.

Teach Someone

The best way to get deeper into a subject is to teach someone.  In the process, you will understand the subject better and questions from the person you are teaching, will stimulate you.

Do prepare before you teach.  Teaching forces you to think about examples and context and its nice to have them worked out before starting to teach.  You have an obligation to the person you are teaching as well.  If you are teaching-by-ear, chances are the person you are teaching will end up confused.


Read beyond the syllabus

The internet has content and opinions on every subject imaginable.  Read whatever interests you in the subject.  Don’t worry about breadth – there is always time to learn.  When reading to increase knowledge, you do not have to understand everything you read – in fact if you are doing this correctly, you probably won’t.

There are no rules here; struggle with ideas if you wish, or simply move on to the next thing.  The most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing; time will take care of the rest.


Be regular

If you love a subject, your brain initially demands more knowledge, and forms more pathways and interconnects, increasing your love for the subject.

If however, you ignore this for a while, the paths decay a bit and the next time is a bit harder.  Over time, the passion reduces.  Of course, it can be rekindled, but its best if it is ongoing.


Join a forum

Join one forum or more.  The advantage of a forum is that you can participate as much or as little as you wish, while remaining connected to people sharing new ideas and thoughts in areas that interest you.

Don’t join fora that are general in nature.  Seek out groups that are like minded in interest.  Some of these groups may be invitation only, but its worth pursuing them to get entry.


Write a blog

While discussion groups and forums provide an endless stream of perspectives and conversations, a blog needs you to have a cogent thought which is well expressed.

A good blog also helps build your reputation in your community.  It also provides you with comments to allow you to test your ideas and build on them.


Participate in competitions

There are competitions for everything today.  If you like programming there are ‘code jams’, ‘hackathons’, and ‘olympiads’.  Puzzlers have a wide range of competions as do gamers, spellers, designers, mathematicians, physicists, the list is long.

Competitions allow you to prepare and focus on one thing for a period of time and build real expertise.  And it doesn’t hurt to win as well.


Keep a journal

Of the entire list, this is the least obvious.  A journal need not be a detailed document of every thought; it may simply be a brief notation of change in thought process or a new idea.  Keep the journal next to your bed; ideas that you dream about quickly vanish when you awake.

If you are using a journal to keep your innermost personal thoughts, you may to have two.  This journal is something you should be willing to share.


If you have made it this far, do visit our site  We are trying to change the way people learn; and we would love your suggestions on how we can improve.

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