Welcome to the Self-improv club! My name is Chinat. I am a full-time student and part-time productivity geek majoring in computer science at Johns Hopkins University.
I share my latest thoughts and research on student success here, covering meta-learning, design thinking, and holistic wellbeing.
Recently, I came across the idea that we should "work with the garage door up" from writer Robin Sloan (https://robinsloan.com/), author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Just as how craftsmen display their skills in public, Sloan proposes that knowledge workers, people who think for a living, should share their work during the creative process. By doing so, they can leverage community feedback and improve the final quality of their work. I have been fortunate to receive funding from Johns Hopkins University to create a guide for student success. I hope to build a platform where I am able to share my research on becoming an effective student so that you can experiment alongside me. My "garage door" is always up, so feel free to reach out to me!
"Self-improv" is a combination of self-improvement and improvisation, the two core philosophies I want to promote on this platform.
You can never reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote towards which you are ever ceaselessly striving -- Paul Kalanithi
Self-improvement is the desire to improve oneself. I hope to create a community where we can help each other become the best versions of ourselves. But equally important, everyone is starting from a different place and should improvise accordingly. There is not a one size fits all approach. Instead, we should aim for iterative experimentation where we find what works best for us. I used to believe that if I adapted the advice from online productivity gurus exactly, I would be able to achieve the same degree of efficiency. This is often not the case. It is critical for us to recognize the differences in our circumstances, and maintain a healthy dose of flexibility
Meta-learning is the study of how we learn and acquire new skills. While everyone has their unique learning styles, science has shown that certain learning processes like active recall and spatial repetition are empirically better than others. My passion is to understand these skills and find ways to employ them in my life.
Design thinking is a philosophy that guides the process of creation. Traditionally, it has been deployed in product management and startups, but recently, it was used in a book, Designing Your Life, for career and pathfinding. I am interested in how this philosophy can be applied in other areas, specifically to help us become more productive. (see iterative experimentation) Holistic wellbeing is the overarching emphasis on a balanced life as a whole. This includes social, mental, and physical wellbeing. It is important to look at the bigger picture in order to build sustainability and consistency. Over the past few years, there have been many times when I crashed and burned out from ignoring one of these key areas. I strive to intentionally focus on these areas to maintain a well balanced and healthy lifestyle.
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