This week I spent a lot of time preapring for and subsequently taking my two Chemistry finals. I scored well on the exams, 90% on the class and 80% on the lab, and am looking forward to move on to organic chemistry. I took both exams on Friday, which naturally resulted in an epic cram session on Thursday. I haven't taken an exam for school in two years, which was another chemistry exam, and I actually really enjoyed the process of doing homeworks, studying, cramming, feeling nervous but ready, and ultimately executing.
Academics is so different form real world work, and I found myself relishing in how it is devoted to the single correct answer and the inexcusable exam deadline. I thought back to a lot of work projects, deadlines, and people I had to manage and how there is almost never one single answer, deadlines and plans shift, and people can be fickle. Not so in the world of sceince pre-requisite classes. It was all up to me to get to the answer, and I liked it.
Often when we have this discussion, it feels like you have to take one side or the other. "I don't like how structured academics is." Or "I prefer open-ended problems." Since I had my euphoric Thursday cramming session, I've been wondering how to walk the middle path with this. How can I recreate the Thursday cram session in my worklife?
On the submarine, when we hadn't been out to sea in a long time and were facing an upcoming underway, we were required to execute a fast-cruise where we shut the hatches, started up the reactor, and pretended like we were going out to sea. We would station all the various watches, run drills, prepare food, and even sleep onboard (this is especially disheartening when you can see your condo from the periscope). Still, it was effective. We always found areas to improve and also made immediate impact on getting new sailors qualified and ready for life at sea.
I've never participated in a hack-a-thon, but it came up in discussion with Nick this week and got me thinking that it's probably another effective way to bring a cram-session into real life. I had always joked with my recruiting staff that we would "fast-cruise" one day and stay late in the office jamming out various work that needed doing, followed by a Friday day off or something like that, but regrettably, I never executed. I'm curious what other folks think about having a fast-cruise or hack-a-thon outside of submarines or computer programming and hope to explore the topic further.
📚 What I'm Reading...
Imagine a Workplace where you could actually tell the Truth. Good article debating the merits of "always tell the truth" (apparently this is a trendy movement complete with TED talks) vs. "everybody lies [cheats] a little bit," which I linked to in Week 4 of 2021. I liked this article for taking a common-sense, reflective approach to getting at the truth in the workplace. Another great read on the topic of truth in the workplace is Malcom Gladwell's How to Talk To Strangers, where he points out that we default to truth in that have a tendency to automatically believe what others tell us even though we may be incorrect in doing so a lot more than we expect. Still, he argues that default to truth is the best evolutionary strategy that we have, beating out other strategies like "trust, but verify," "always tell the truth," or "question everything."
🏃♂️ What I'm Doing...
Aside from chemistry and coding - running! Logged >50 miles again this week and looking for an opportunity to go to the well here soon. It's been a little while and I'm due. A quote that inspired me:
“Scientific testing can’t determine how the mind will tolerate pain in a race. Sometimes, I say, ‘Today I can die.” Percy Cerutty...
I also started my own microgreens garden in the kitchen window (see below). Growing broccoli and mixed greens sprouts for superior health. More vegetables! 🥗 More on that next week!
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