Thursday, November 13, 2008

Higher Learning

Mary O asked, "Have you learned more in your four years at The Mill or your four undergrad years?" And I said, "well that's a blog right there."

I am fantastically over-educated, after all, for a 12 year public school girl who spurned the National Honor Society and couldn't break 1000 on the SAT. (the old one - without the writing section). I did learn a great many things in my 4 undergrad years:

1) How to talk critically about anything, including things you have not experienced (see previous post).
2) How to read Henry James in a week
3) How to command a room (elocution I had already learned at Petersburg Middle School)
4) How people live who are very different from you
5) How to lead a team
6) How to manage a lot of time and very little money
7) How to handle a grain cup, a cigarette, and an hors d'oeurve plate and still shake hands with the Dean
8) ....the fallacy of dichotomous question framing
9) How to work a theatre lighting board made of 6 giant handles like something from the Acme catalog
10) How to become the girl I mean to be

And many other talents that would exceed a properly structured list. Like how to make a properly structured list. It's hard to know whether foundational skills such as these are more learning. We haven't established whether we mean collectively more or quantifiably more. Impressionably more, to be sure. My brain had fewer wrinkles in those days.

Things I learned at the Mill:
1) How to talk critically about anything, especially things you have not designed
2) How to read a functional spec in an hour and a half
3) How to hold an argument
4) How people think who are very different from you
5) How to work as a team
6) How to manage very little time and a whole lot of email
7) How to handle a chat room, a conference call, and 2 In Boxes and still facilitate a WebEx
8) ....the opportunities presented by good problems to have
9) How to set up my draft folder so it looks like I wrote those emails during normal business hours
10) How to hold on to the girl I created

She does all right, most days. She keeps Henry James on the nightstand.

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