Study Hacks Blog Decoding Patterns of Success

The Makings of a Good Day

April 21st, 2008 · 9 comments

A Good Day

It’s a nice spring day here in Boston. This morning, when I arrived at my office at MIT, I decided it was too nice to spend staring at a computer screen. After a quick triage on my schedule, I brought some class readings to a local coffee shop.

After I finished what I needed to get done, I wandered over to the humanities library to participate in one of my favorite activities: wandering the stacks looking for random interesting sections. I soon stumbled across a shelf of books on academic theories of motivation. I pulled down a collection of papers from a symposium held at the University of Nebraska in the early 1990’s. This in turn brought to my attention a particular research team, from the University of Rochester, that has been uncovering a theory of self-determination and motivation that has strong resonance to our recent discussions.

I tracked down the group’s web site and printed a few of the more interesting looking papers. My plan for the rest of the day: I’m going to bring these papers downtown to read while I eat a hot dog, watch the marathon, and enjoy the sun.

The only thing missing is a little transitor radio to keep me up to speed on the Sox game — but somehow I get the feeling, in the downtown Boston crowd, these updates won’t be hard to come by.

Yes, a good day indeed…

9 thoughts on “The Makings of a Good Day

  1. I believe you just proved your theory. You allowed room in your day for some random things, and in return found some beneficial information.

    I can’t wait for you to share your findings.

  2. Evan Meagher says:

    Great article. Once I get more free time and it stops incessantly raining here in Seattle, I’ll hopefully be hopping the bus to go find places all over the city to read.

  3. ted says:

    I just found your blog through IWTYTBR. I’m a senior in Course VI at MIT and I wish I had found this blog four years ago. I did the four years of grind in a subject I don’t particularly enjoy (CS), participated in activities that I didn’t stick with, a realization that I want to be a philosophy major, and have all these offers doing what more of what I don’t enjoy. After four years of the grind, I definitely agree that underscheduling and focusing in on a few interests is the least stress way of getting the best results.

  4. Jess says:

    It’s funny – Gideon at Mindful Ink posted something similar. It’s strange how nice it’s been in areas that are typically prone to nasty weather (Rochester, Boston, and whereever Gideon is in Oklahoma).

    On another note, it’s entertaining to read of someone discovering something I hear about often. My friend is on the road to applying for psych grad school in the next couple of years, and he’s actually studying with Ryan and Deci (the two I’m assuming you were reading today). I really enjoy hearing about connections to my school.

  5. David says:

    @Ted

    Take comfort!! Four years ago, this blog didn’t even exist. In fact, it got started only last summer and it appears that it’s readership really starting picking up sometime during the Fall semester. Really it is a resource that has only very recently become available and known in the blogosphere and in the student world.

    You wish it existed when you were in college; I wish it had existed when I was in high school. Sure have saved me loads of trouble and stress. Probably this is often why, in the past, I was often simply being too afraid to read practical material that I knew would help me: I was afraid of all the regretting and ruing I’d do as I realized how helpful the advice being given would have been had it existed or I known about it back in the day.

  6. Study Hacks says:

    @Evan:

    I just saw video of snow in Seattle on the news this morning…my sympathies! (Though, remembering my time in Seattle last August, you have some great weather ahead.)

    @Ted:

    I’m glad you stumbled upon are little corner of the web. Some of the main motivations behind the ZV philosophy came from working with some of your course 6 classmates (who found me through my books.) The MIT hardcore-culture, as you would probably agree, can be devastating. Anyway, you should swing by and say hi sometime.

    (Also, forget your other offers and go work for Ramit. He’d hire you in a second and PBWiki is awesome.)

    @Jess:

    No coincidence. Gideon’s post inspired my afternoon pastoral. Indeed, still inspired, I’m looking forward this morning to heading out for one of my patent-pending, soak up the sun, hour long outdoor workouts (a combination of running and pushup and situps and stretching.)

    You’re absolutely right about Ryan and Deci. There is just so much there that’s interesting. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to put me in touch with your friend? (If so, just e-mail me.) I’ve been a grad student long enough to know that if you want to find out more about a piece of research, don’t bother the busy professor, ping the students who know the real deal.

  7. Kate says:

    Prepare yourself Cal! The rest of the week will get into the high 70’s in Boston. Thanks again for the excellent stress-relief tips in the previous post.

  8. Udoka says:

    Wow, this is a good day! Thing like that happen to me all the time. I love it.

    @Ted
    Aw, dude. I am doing CS and philosophy double major. I dunno if doing what you “love” is all its cracked up to be. I used to really effin’ love philosophy, but in the end, where is that going to take me? I can’t even think of a job I’d want to do with a phil degree. I don’t know if I should just drop phil and focus on being good at CS or just keep going like this.

  9. Study Hacks says:

    @Udoka:

    You might want to read this post. Outside of wanting to be an engineer, your major doesn’t really matter for your job. So doing what you ‘effing love is not a bad way to spend four years.

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